Gaspee Day celebrations have begun in Pawtuxet Village

Gaspee Day celebrations have begun in Pawtuxet Village

Pawtuxet gears up for parade and boat burning in June

WARWICK - Celebrating the burning of a British ship commissioned to keep Rhode Island colonists from smuggling rum and molasses past Royal customs, Gaspee Days have once again started in Pawtuxet Village.

Events have been planned throughout May and June to honor the 1772 rebellion against the HMS Gaspee that holds a place in history as one of the significant events that led to the American Revolution.

The most anticipated of these Gaspee Days are June 7, 8 and 9, when people from all over the state head to Warwick for the colonial encampment, road race, parade, and ceremonial burning of the Gaspee.

* A colonial encampment will be set up for the entire weekend in Pawtuxet Park for guests to walk through and get a glimpse of what life was like in 1772.

Hosted by the Pawtuxet Rangers, RIM, dozens of militia camp out in authentic Revolutionary style to show off colonial military life.

* Fireworks are set to go off on Friday, June 7, at dusk at Salter's Grove Park. They are sponsored by the Warwick Department of Tourism, Culture and Development. Rain date is June 8.

* A ecumenical service will be held as a tribute to the faith of America at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 139 Ocean Ave. in Cranston. The non-denominational service will feature music by the West Bay Chorus.

* Lace up those sneakers and run along the red, white and blue-striped roads for the Allan & Edna Brown 5K Road Race, which starts on Broad Street in Cranston at 9:45 a.m. on June 8.

Runners will be cheered on by spectators eagerly awaiting the start of the parade.

* The 48th Annual Gaspee Days Parade starts at 10 a.m. on June 8. The parade features more than a dozen colonial fife and drum corps, as well as Civil War era units, modern day drum and bugle corps, and the Mummers.

It runs along the Narragansett Parkway into Cranston, ending at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet.

* The Gaspee Project at WaterFire will bring the celebrations to Providence, where events, like walking tours, authentic colonial drinks and debate and a longboat row re-enactment, will take place from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.

* After a day at the parade, relax on Sunday, June 9, with an afternoon in Pawtuxet Park. From noon to 3 p.m., families are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy live music. The colonial encampment will be open to visit, and food will also be available for purchase.

* At 4 p.m. that Sunday, the symbolic burning of the HMS Gaspee will end the Gaspee Day festivities.

Exciting as that weekend in June may be, there is an entire month of events leading up to it that allow the entire celebration to take place.

The following events are fundraisers for the parade, which costs $40,000 to put on each year:

* Gaspee Days Pawtuxet Village Proclamation Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 18, at noon at the Pawtuxet Park Gazebo.

* Enjoy a guided walking tour through historic Pawtuxet Village on Saturday, May 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. Presented by the Wyman Elementary School PTA, the event features schoolchildren dressed in colonial style, who will give tours of historic homes and sites within the village.

* The Memorial Day Weekend Arts and Crafts Festival along Narragansett Parkway is open Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday, May 27, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The annual festival, which attracts approximately 50,000 people a day, features more than 100 craft exhibitors selling wares alongside a professional food court and free family music, entertainment and children's rides located in Pawtuxet Park. Music will be played each day in the park from 1 to 4 p.m.

Proceeds from the festival offset the cost of the parade.

* Also on May 25, from 6 to 11 p.m., is the Gaspee Days Arts & Crafts Block Party Fundraiser. Held at the Aspray Boat House and Patio in Pawtuxet Park, the event is a chance for adults to enjoy beer, music and neighborhood camaraderie alongside Pawtuxet Cove.

Admission to the event, which is for those age 21 and older, costs $5.

The event features music by the Basement Brothers and Ron Fournier & Like Ilk is a fundraiser for the Gaspee Days Committee.

Parking for all events can be found in Warwick at the Pilgrim Senior Center, Pilgrim High School, Wyman Elementary School and on side streets. In Cranston, parking is available on side streets. Handicapped parking for the Arts & Crafts Festival only is available at Narragansett Parkway and Canonchet Avenue.

More information about the Gaspee Days can be found at www.gaspee.com or by calling 401-781-1772.