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Your PVDFest Family Fun Checklist: Plenty for the kiddos to do on June 4!

With PVDFest quickly approaching, you may be wondering how family friendly is this big, free celebration in Downtown Providence happening Saturday, June 4?!? Thanks to this great round up from FirstWorks, the answer is easy: Plenty! There will be enough family-friendly fun to keep festival-goers of all ages entertained all day! – Anisa

6133d6fb-849c-45ef-a608-8e6099c518ddWe know how much goes into planning your day when the kids are in tow, so we’ve devised this simple family fun checklist for you. As you can see, we’ve covered all the bases that any kid could want.

*All festival programming—including performers, locations and times—is subject to change. Be sure to check pvdfest.com for updates, maps and schedules.


No family fun day is complete without a chance for the little ones to get active and engaged. The Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy has a whole day of fun and festivities planned at Burnside Park in Kennedy Plaza. Miss Katie from playSCIENCE will show kids how to make their own “up-cycled” musical instruments and lead a parade around the park. Master drummer Sidy Maiga (who will close out the FirstWorks Plaza Stage later that night) will lead an all-ages open drum circle. The Imagination Playground will be open so kids can play and build with Big Blue Blocks. The Imagination Play Project will invite people of all ages to create interactive sculptures using found objects and colorful sculptural materials. Performers Ricky Rainbow Beard and Dr. Sound will host a celebration of color, sound, play, and outfits, along with an interactive family activity featuring a visual digital sound booth. And down along the Washington Street corridor, AS220 Industries will demonstrate “The Giant Spirograph” along with interactive children’s programming.


c48c315c-76dd-415a-9f32-432fbb6debc2What’s a party without dancing? In addition to enough live music to keep everyone moving all day long, PVDFest will include a number of dance performances and workshops that kids will love. Down at Burnside Park, the RI Kung Fu Club will perform a traditional Chinese lion dance to cultivate positive energy and ward off the negative. Eleanor Borge of Ocean State Soul will teach line-dancing to get everyone from novices to experienced dancers stepping. Napua O’Polynesia will bring some Pacific flair to the festival with their Polynesian dance routines. Meanwhile, over at Grant’s Block, Project 401/Case Closed will show off some head-spinning breakdance moves.

Other Kids

Kids won’t just be in the audience at PVDFest – they’ll be showcasing their talents up on stage, too. See the next generation of Rhode Island jazz as the RI Philharmonic Music School’s Paul Murphy Touring Ensemble takes the Festival Rink Stage. Some of the best high school talents from around the state will perform a mix of contemporary jazz and originals.

Trinity Academy of the Performing Arts (TAPA) will pop up in several places throughout the festival. They’ll team up with students from the JMW School for the Performing & Visual Arts on the Festival Rink Stage for student dance performances. TAPA’s music program will show their stuff at Grant’s Block, where they’ll also be screening student films. The TAPA musical ensemble will also collaborate with internationally renowned performer/composer Daniel Bernard Roumain for his acclaimed “Redemption Songs” program at the Festival Rink Stage. These flourishing young students are participants in the FirstWorks Arts Learning program. This initiative by the PVDFest Founding Creative Partner brings world-class artists into Rhode Island schools to help students experience the arts, develop broader world-perspective, better collaboration skills, and an expanded vision for their futures.

Girls Rock! RI, a nonprofit music camp for women and girls, will rock out at Burnside Park for a Camper Spotlight, featuring performances by alumni from their music education program.


Everybody loves a good story, whether it’s on a page, spoken aloud, or just in our imaginations. PVDFest offers all kinds of stories to captivate the kids. At Burnside Park, the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy’s Open Air Reading Room will feature five years of books from KidoInfo Storytime for those who’d rather curl up with a book than dance in the streets. They’ll also be opening up their Story Rooms, allowing kids to step into life-sized recreations of pages from Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, and Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Acclaimed local storytellers/performers Valerie Tutson and Sylvia Ann Soares will be on hand to tell tales and sing songs reflecting Rhode Island’s multicultural traditions. The Association of Rhode Island Writers will bring together local authors to share poetry, prose, and kids’ stories. And Elizabeth Keiser will host Family Fairy Tale Theater, where fairy tales are told from different angles and have surprise endings.


The fantastical creatures of our imaginations (or ancient history) will come to life on the streets of Providence. The Big Nazo Intergalactic Creature Band will create an “extraterrestrial creature spectacle/space-funk dance party” at the Fulton Street Stage, featuring appearances by alien go-go dancers, rowdy robots and a cast of bizarre and unusual beings. Those who prefer to create rather than spectate can head over to Burnside Park for a puppet-making workshop with Mark Koher. Of course, the can’t-miss puppets of the whole festival will be Close-Act Theatre’s “Saurus” – and we mean that you literally can’t miss is them, as three 18-foot dinosaurs will be roaming Kennedy Plaza in search of food. But don’t worry, these dinosaurs are vegetarians.


The Procession is your turn to be a part of the celebration as PVDFest culminates with a parade through the heart of Downtown. Community groups, cultural organizations, artists, performers, dancers, neighbors and you are invited to help us showcase our PVD Pride with music, dance, floats, and all kinds of carnival flair.

Activities for Teens

Kids who are too old (or too cool) to hang out with mom and dad will find plenty to keep them occupied throughout the festival. The Dean Hotel will host an all-day outdoor party in their parking lot featuring music, food, and interactive pop-up installations from Shelter Arcade Bar and AS220 Industries. Over at Adrian Hall Way (next to Trinity Rep), there will be outdoor screenings of skateboarding films. And all along the Washington Street corridor there will be interactive art installations, pop-up theater performances, and DJ dance parties to explore.

Phew… That’s a lot of options for a fun Saturday. Of course, there will be plenty of amenities to get you through the day, too: dozens of food trucks, info booths, restrooms, first aid tents, and everything you might need for a family outing. See you at the festival.

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