Organizers prepare to raise curtain on 2014 Pawtucket Arts Festival

Organizers prepare to raise curtain on 2014 Pawtucket Arts Festival

PAWTUCKET - Members of the city's arts and cultural organizations are making final preparations for the 16th annual Pawtucket Arts Festival in September, a nearly monthlong gala that promises plenty of big shows.

The Pawtucket Arts Festival is known throughout the region for showcasing the city's resident arts community and for welcoming guest artists and performers to the downtown cultural corridor and Slater Memorial Park, as well as the Festival Pier and Pawtucket Town Landing.

The festival will run Sept. 5-28. Many of the events are free and designed to welcome both seasoned art lovers and audiences who are discovering their favorite art form in the creative hub of Pawtucket.

Longtime Pawtucket Arts Festival favorites returning this year include the Taste of the Valley and the Blackstone River Party, sponsored by Foolproof Brewing and the Bucket Brewery, on Sept. 5. The Taste of the Valley offers samplings from the menus of the region's leading restaurants and culinary artists. The Blackstone River Party is directly after the Taste of the Valley and welcomes patrons to dance the night away under the Pawtucket Arts Festival tent on the grounds of Slater Mill, 67 Roosevelt Ave., with Fat City Band and Ruben Moreno & Zydeco Re-evolution. Admission is $10, with children younger than 12 getting in for free, and proceeds go to support production costs and service provided by the Pawtucket Arts Festival to the arts community.

The Slater Park Fall Festival will return on Sept. 13-14 with a weekend that celebrates the beauty of the park and art. More than 100 arts and craft vendors will be showcased in the juried festival that features an open-air market of food trucks, performances, music and family activities. The event is free and open to the public. The park is located off Armistice Boulevard and Newport Avenue.

The Pawtucket Teachers' Alliance will present the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Pops in the Park on Saturday, Sept. 13, starting at 5 p.m., and Bristol County Savings Bank will sponsor the annual Slater Park Fall Festival Fireworks immediately after the concert.

Organizers of the Pawtucket Arts Festival, along with officials from Central Falls, established the Central Falls Bright Future Festival at Jenks Park in 2012. The "fringe festival" celebrates culture and community.

Pawtucket Arts Festival Chairman John Baxter said that "strategic partnerships" will again sustain the Pawtucket Arts Festival as it "raises the curtain" on returning events and organizers prepare to announce new events.

"The board of directors acknowledges the city, the artists, and the businesses of Pawtucket," said Baxter. "Together, with support from (the Rhode Island) State Council on the Arts and the Pawtucket Arts Review Panel, we strive for the best in the art of partnership."

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