Revamped CumberlandFest offers new attractions

Revamped CumberlandFest offers new attractions

CUMBERLAND – The 29th annual CumberlandFest promises a new and improved experience for visitors of all ages, from a bigger selection of amusement rides and a beer and wine garden to better staging for music and a beefed-up fireworks display.

The festival runs Friday, Aug. 9, from 6 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 10, noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 11, noon to 10 p.m. at Diamond Hill Park, 4097 Diamond Hill Road.

The goal this year is to reframe the event “in a new way to be more appealing to what people are interested in today,” CumberlandFest Executive Director Ernie Labbe told The Valley Breeze. “The whole idea is to create a sense of community and provide a venue for people to get together and have a good time.”

CumberlandFest 2019 will feature an expanded midway of amusement rides, continuous musical entertainment, food truck vendors, a new beer and wine garden, an arts and crafts fair, wrestling, circus acts, special attractions for kids, and a huge fireworks display on Saturday night.

After paying at the admissions booth, visitors will walk into the midway and can check out rides on both sides of the road. A stroll around the bend leads to the arts and crafts area, and beyond that on the left will be the new beer and wine garden and the main stage featuring musical acts.

Past that will be children’s activities, including cornhole, ring toss, inflatable archery and inflatable obstacle courses, followed by the food court and a second stage of entertainment for kids and families.

“If you circle around the outer road, you’ll get to see everything,” Labbe said.

Organizers said they’re hoping to see between 5,000 and 10,000 people at the festival this weekend.

“Come with an expectation to see some new things (and) to enjoy a day with other people from town in the lovely setting of Diamond Hill Park,” said Alan Neville, chairman of the board for CumberlandFest.

The committee is using a new provider for the amusement rides: northern Rhode Island-based Rockwell Amusements. Rides include a big laser light Ferris wheel, Orbiter, and Vertigo. Rockwell is also adding a circus stage to the midway.

Instead of featuring musical acts on the stage at the reflecting pond, organizers added two new performance stages to “enhance viewing and sound and provide a more comfortable vantage point from which to view the shows.”

The A stage will have continuous music, including James Montgomery Band on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Steven Anthony & Persuasion on Sunday at 8:30 p.m., and the B stage will feature acts aimed at kids and families including Bwana Iguana, Dennis the Magician, Kensho-Ryo Karate, and more.

The stage at the pond will be used for bingo this year.

Alcohol will be served in the festival’s new beer and wine garden, located adjacent to the main stage, on Saturday and Sunday and will feature three craft beers from Woonsocket-based Ravenous Brewing Company and a selection of local wines from Cumberland’s Diamond Hill Vineyards.

“We’re trying to evolve with the community,” Labbe said, adding that they have local suppliers to “support the community.”
Food vendors include Nutmeg Concessions, Del’s Lemonade, Ice Cream Machine, Marti’s Cupcakes, Smoke & Squeal BBQ, Mings Asian Street Food, and Mickey G’s.

On Saturday at 10 p.m., a bigger-than-ever fireworks display featuring more than 500 rockets launched during the finale will provide a “pyrotechnics extravaganza,” organizers said.

The fireworks show is larger than they’ve had in the past and is two to three times the size of the town’s annual July Fourth display, they said. The rain date is Sunday night.

Also new this year is a Boy Scouts encampment at the park. The Scouts will help out at the festival and stay overnight, organizers said.

“I want to be in the park and see people have a good time,” Labbe said. “If people think this year is a good year, they haven’t seen anything yet.”

Net proceeds from CumberlandFest are donated to youth organizations in the area. In the past, proceeds have always gone to athletic programs, but this year money will go to other organizations including Scouting groups and performance arts groups in addition to sports, organizers said.

CumberlandFest, created by the Cumberland Youth Activities Council in 1991, has contributed more than $1 million to youth programs over its 28-year history.

General admission tickets are $5. Kids 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.

Pay-one-price wristbands, which feature unlimited amusement rides, will be available on Kid’s Night Friday and on Sunday for $25 per person.

Attendees who want to leave and come back on the same day will have a stamp to gain reentry into the festival.

A complete schedule of events can be found at www.cumberlandfest.org .

Brothers Santino and Domenic Bianco, above, of North Providence, practice their fencing moves using inflated dolphins on sticks during last year’s CumberlandFest at Diamond Hill Park. (Breeze photos by Robert Emerson)
Abigail Foreman, 7, of Cumberland, rides the Serpent attraction at last year’s CumberlandFest.