21st Pawtucket Arts Festival 
promises nine action-packed days

21st Pawtucket Arts Festival 
promises nine action-packed days

PAWTUCKET – Join the city of Pawtucket Sept. 6-15 to celebrate the 21st year of the Pawtucket Arts Festival, with nine packed days of fun planned.

Opening weekend, Sept. 6-8, is promising something for everyone as organizers introduce Downtown LIVE!, an eclectic, action-packed experience of sight and sound, the Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival and PAF at Payne, an inaugural community arts celebration highlighting local artists and the artists of tomorrow.

The following weekend is the celebrated Slater Park Fall Festival, Sept. 13-15, featuring one of the state’s top open-air arts marketplaces and the local favorite performance of Pops in the Park: Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra presented by Pawtucket Teachers Alliance and the city of Pawtucket and an accompanying fireworks display presented by Bristol County Savings Bank. Sandwiched between these two weekends is a full week of open studios, galleries, interactive crafting, film screenings and live performances and the 21st annual photo contest.

As part of a new effort to make the Pawtucket Arts Festival a “destination” festival, the 2019 schedule will be happening over the course of nine consecutive days, highlighting New England’s tremendous arts talent and the many beautiful locations featured within the Blackstone Valley, “making this a not-to-miss arts tour and vacation destination,” states a release.

This year’s opening night, Sept. 6, is a special celebration and recognition of the 20th year of The Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival at Festival Pier. Come join in for the introduction of six new dragon boats, built by hand in Taiwan, during an evening parade on the Seekonk River with music, and the Awakening of the Dragon Ceremony. This event continues the next morning, Sept. 7, as teams compete for cash prizes paddling over 1,000 feet to victory before enjoying cultural performances, the many art and crafts tables, and the popular dumpling-eating contest.

Also on Sept. 7, just up the street, find three more events as the Culture Shock Block Party, River Bend East Songwriters Festival and the Wayback Stage and Antique Auto Show keep the party going into the evening, making up the key events to Downtown LIVE!, a day of music and celebration, showcasing a broad range of styles and featuring performers/acts with local and regional ties to the community, arts installations, street performers, a regional beer garden, highlighting beverages from local breweries and an outdoor food court on Main Street.

Through the medium of message-positive hip-hop and related performance, the Culture Shock Block Party will offer a multi-genre, outdoor concert event aimed at bridging generations and cultures. With music as the medium to unite the city’s contemporary cultures, the Pawtucket Arts Festival looks to Culture Shock as the driver for a city-wide “family reunion” with music as the main destination on the map.

As The Sea The Sea, Vance Gilbert and Catie Curtis headline the River Bend East Songwriters Festival as a variety of songwriters perform along the Blackstone River. It features a range of music, nearby art installations and historical tours on the grounds of the historic Slater Mill.

Dance the day away to the hits of yesteryear at the Wayback Stage while touring rows of antique cars and other wares from a bygone era.

Sept. 8 features PAF at Payne, an inaugural community arts celebration. Join the Woodlawn community in the newly renovated Payne Park for a showcase of local artisans and hands-on craft demonstrations, among other offerings.

Another event celebrating its 20th year as part of the festival is the Pawtucket Film Festival. Known for its history of showing thought-provoking and challenging films along with live musical acts and free libations, the festival is putting on a special outdoor presentation of Buster Keaton’s silent classic “Steamboat Bill Junior,” performed with renowned silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis in Slater Park on Sept. 13.

Saturday, Sept. 14, begins the Slater Park Fall Festival, a celebration of Art and Culture set on the grounds of historic Slater Memorial Park. The festival’s open-air market, opening at 11 a.m., highlights more than 100 crafters, artisans and creators of original handmade items. The surrounding areas are filled with fun, food and entertainment for the whole family, including face painting, crafts and entertainment for the kids. The festival culminates at 5:30 p.m. when the Pawtucket Teachers’ Alliance presents the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra for its annual performance with fireworks to follow at dusk, courtesy of Bristol County Savings Bank. The festival is back again on Sunday with more family entertainment, art, and area culinary treats.

Monday through Thursday features exciting events throughout the city, say organizers, including open studios, galleries, interactive crafting, exhibits and live performances.
All events are listed at www.PawtucketArtsFestival.org .