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The Pawtucket Arts Festival Comes of Age!

Join the City of Pawtucket from September 6th through September 15th as we celebrate the 21st year of the Pawtucket Arts Festival, for NINE jam packed days of arts festival fun!


Opening weekend (6th-8th) has something for everyone as we 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 (13th-15th) which features not only one of the state’s premier open-air arts marketplaces but a not-to-be missed performance of Pops in the Park: Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra presented by Pawtucket Teachers Alliance and City of Pawtucket and 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!


Nine Days of Fun

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 not only New England’s tremendous arts talent but the many beautiful locations featured within the Blackstone Valley, making this a not-to-miss arts tour and vacation destination. 


Opening Night and Opening Weekend

This year's opening night (September 6th) 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 us as we introduce six new dragon boats, built by hand in Taiwan, during an evening parade on the Pawtucket River with music, and the Awakening of the Dragon Ceremony. This event continues the next morning (September 7th) as teams compete for cash prizes paddling over 1,000 feet to victory before enjoying cultural performances, the many art & crafts tables, and the always popular dumpling-eating contest! 


Also on September 7th, just up the street, you’ll find three more events chock full of entertainment 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, which will showcase 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 located right 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. 

“The Sea The Sea”, Vance Gilbert and Catie Curtis headline the River Bend East Songwriters Festival as a variety of songwriters perform along the beautiful Blackstone River. Featuring a wide 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 yester-year at the Wayback Stage while touring rows of pristine antique cars and other wares from a bygone era.

September 8th features PAF at Payne an inaugural community arts celebration highlighting local artists and the artists of tomorrow. Join the Woodlawn community in the beautiful newly renovated Payne Park as we showcase local artisans, provide hands on craft demonstrations  while highlighting some of the hardworking departments, like parks and recreation, that make up our city. 


Closing Weekend and Special Presentation from the Pawtucket Film Festival

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 Film 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 the 13th. Saturday the 14th begins the Slater Park Fall Festival, a celebration of Art and Culture set on the grounds of historic Slater Memorial Park. The festivals open-air market, opening at 11am, highlights over one hundred 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 pm when the Pawtucket Teachers’ Alliance presents the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra for their annual, legendary performance with fireworks to follow at dusk courtesy of Bristol County Savings Bank. We’re back again on Sunday with more fantastic family entertainment, truly exceptional art work and area culinary treats. 


Other Events Not to be Missed

Monday through Thursday features exciting events throughout the city including open studios, galleries, interactive crafting, exhibits and live performances. 

All events are listed on our website at www.PawtucketArtsFestival.org. The 2019 Pawtucket Arts Festival is presented by the City of Pawtucket, The Pawtucket Teachers’ Alliance, Bristol County Savings Bank and the Pawtucket Times. 




For Immediate Release
August 13th, 2019
Contact: Anthony Ambrosino
Arts Festival Director 
401.728.0500 x329

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