location: Narragansett Parkway, Warwick to Broad Street, Cranston
cost: Events are all free to attend, but food and merchandise are sold at all events.
Those outside of Rhode Island most likely learned that the Revolutionary War started in Massachusetts with the “shot heard ‘round the world” and the Battle of Lexington in 1775, but native Rhode Islanders know that is not true. It was the burning of the British schooner, the HMS Gaspee, in 1772, off of what is now known as Gaspee Point in Warwick, that was truly America’s ‘first blow for freedom’ and the start of the Revolutionary War.Â Growing up in a neighborhood overlooking Gaspee Point, I attended the annual Gaspee Days celebrations each year and now I bring my family. Gaspee Days spans the months of May and June and events are held annually in Pawtuxet Village in Warwick and Cranston. There are several events that are musts for our family each year and a description of each event can be found below. For me, Gaspee Days season always kicks off Memorial Day weekend with the Arts and Crafts Festival. This year, the 2013 Arts and Crafts festival will be held from 10am-5pm on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 and from 10am-4:30pm on Monday, May 27. The event takes place along Narragansett Parkway on the Warwick side of Pawtuxet Village and features over 100 craft vendors, food court, games, rides and live music (10am-1pm). It does get crowded, but you will see many strollers navigating through the Arts and Crafts festival, as well as, families picnicking in the park and enjoying the food court, games, rides and live music.
The next big events are the weekend of June 7-9, 2013. On the evening of Friday, June 7, the Pawtuxet Rangers, RIM set up the Gaspee Days Colonial Encampment in Pawtuxet Park and camp there until Sunday afternoon. The encampment provides a feel for colonial military life as dozens of militia members participate each year. At dusk on June 7, the City of Warwick is sponsoring the Gaspee Days Fireworks Extravaganza at Salter’s Grove in Warwick. You can view the fireworks from Salter’s Grove or along Narragansett Parkway. It is always a great display!
The morning of June 8, the 48th Annual Gaspee Days parade kicks off at 10am. The parade starts near The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Narragansett Parkway and travels the red, white and blue striped path straight through Warwick to Broad Street on the Cranston side of Pawtuxet Village.Â It is a family-friendly parade and typically lasts between one and a half to two hours.Â Kids will love the bands, cars, trucks and more that participate in the parade! The parade ends with the colorful Mummers from Philadelphia.
Gaspee Days concludes with Sunday in the Park and the grand finale, a reenactment of the burning of the HMS Gaspee from 12:30pm-4pm at Pawtuxet Park in Warwick. There will be live music from 12:30pm-3pm and families are invited to bring their own picnic lunches, listen to Baker Boys and visit the Colonial Encampment. At 3pm, there will be a Military Maneuvers & Fashion Show and at 4pm in the Pawtuxet Park Cove the symbolic burning of the Gaspee will end the Gaspee Days Festivities.
Things to Know
- Free street parking is available for all events in surrounding neighborhoods on both the Warwick and Cranston sides of Pawtuxet Village.
- Food is available for purchase at Pawtuxet Park during the Arts and Crafts Festival and there are also several restaurants in Pawtuxet Village.
- Arts & Crafts Festival: Parts of Narragansett Parkway in Warwick and Broad Street in Cranston will be closed to traffic Memorial Day weekend for the Arts and Crafts Festival.
- Fireworks: Free parking is available on nearby side streets, but there is no parking permitted on Narragansett Parkway near the fireworks or at Salter’s Grove.
- The parade route along Narragansett Parkway and Broad Street into Pawtuxet Village will be closed to traffic from approximately 9am until 1pm. Plan your traveling accordingly and there is parking on side streets off of Narragansett Parkway in Warwick and Broad Street in Cranston.
- There are additional Gaspee Days festivities, the above are the family friendly highlights of the month long celebration.
Burning of the Gaspee-(GaspeeBurn2010) by Vanessa Robinson at www.gaspee.com
Pawtuxet Rangers at Arts & Crafts Festival by Gaspee Days Committee at www.gaspee.com
Mummers by Gaspee Days Committee at www.gaspee.com