Yes, we know: coronavirus has pretty much stopped the world in its tracks. But we have faith that this, too, shall pass, and once summer arrives in full force, the world may start to get back to normal.
If that happens, there’s a full calendar of scheduled events in and around southern New England that will appeal to boaters: food, music and other kinds of festivals and events that are easy to get to with a boat.
To be sure, we’re all in a wait-and-see pattern. Some of these events may end up being cancelled, or postponed. Check the Internet or call before making firm plans.
These festivals are something that both locals and travelers look forward to throughout the spring and summer months:
First on the schedule this summer (and therefore most likely to be changed) is the Newport Oyster and Chowder Festival. This popular event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 30 and 31 on Bowen’s Wharf in Newport Harbor. Admission is free, and the festival runs from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.
You can stroll along the wharf and sample some locally produced oysters, cups of chowder and other food offerings, while sipping champagne and other spirits. There will be live music both days, and an oyster-shucking contest on Sunday at 3 p.m.
If it happens on schedule, it’ll be a great way to shuck off those coronavirus blues and get back in the swing. Details at www.bowenswharf.com/events.
Next up is the Taste of Mystic, scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 12, 13 and 14 in Mystic, CT. Lots of Mystic’s local restaurants will participate, offering food and drink to all. Admission is free, and food and beverage tickets are $1 each.
There will be live music, kids activities and plenty of good eats. Details at www.thisismystic.com/event.
The Bowens Wharf Seafood Festival is scheduled for October 17-18, so there’s a pretty good chance it will happen (fingers crossed)!
This will be the 30th annual event, which has been called one of the “Ten Fabulous Fall Festivals on the Coast” by Coastal Living magazine. Two days worth of great seafood sampling, cocktails, live music and family fun.
From 11 a.m. both days, rain or shine. Free admission. Details at www.bowenswharf.com/events.
First up (check before going) is the River Jam Festival at the Mystic Shipyard, scheduled for June 18-20. There will be three days of local bands jamming on stage, food and beverages, and slips available for visiting boaters.
The lineup includes bands like Wooly Mammoth (Thursday), The Troublemakers and Mystic Dead (Friday) and several groups all day Saturday including Steve Rodgers, Desiree and Green Tea.
Free on Thursday, $10 on Friday and $15 on Saturday, or $20 for the whole weekend. Information and tickets at www.thisismystic.com/event/river-jam-festival-2020.
The two granddaddy’s of music festivals are still on the schedule at this writing.
The Newport Folk Festival is scheduled for July 31-August 2 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Tickets are always hard to come by, but local boaters gather just offshore, throw out the hook (watch for the cable crossing!) and listen to the music.
There’s always a great mix of new and old artists at Newport. This year’s headliners includes Randy Newman (Friday), Erin Ray and Grace Potter (Sunday), Black Pumas and Hawktail (Saturday). To see the full line-up of artists and to obtain tickets, visit newportfolk.org.
One week later, the Newport Jazz Festival is scheduled (August 7-9), also at Fort Adams State Park, at the entrance to the harbor.
Some of the headliners for this year’s event include Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Jimmy Cliff, Christian McBride and Makaya McCraven. But there are many more.
To see the full lineup and try to score tickets, visit www.newportjazz.org.
Come Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 4-6), it will be time for the Charleston, RI Rhythm & Roots Festival. Held at the fairgrounds at Ninigret Park just off Route 1-A in Charlestown, there are multiple music stages, food booths galore, arts and craft sellers, kids activities and much more.
Daily tickets are $35 (Friday) and $60 (weekend) or $150 for all three days. There are also campground spaces if you come in your RV.
The music is heavy on zydeco, country, bluegrass and other folk forms. Some headliners include John Hiatt, Richard Thompson, The New Orleans Suspects, The Revelers, Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys, Colby James and the Ramblers and Sunday School with Christine Ohlman, Rebel Montez and the Sin Sisters.
For information and tickets, visit www.rhythmandroots.com.
Wickford in Bloom: after the winter we’ve had, a little Mother Nature might be just the ticket! This annual tour of private gardens in charming Historic Wickford is scheduled for June 27 & 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. You’ll be able to visit 12 magnificently prepared backyard gardens, many with water views. Tours start from Updike Park. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day. Info: www.HistWick.org.
Blessing of the Fleet: The Narragansett Lions Club sponsors the annual Blessing of the Fleet festival, this year from July 23-25, on Memorial Square (next to the Towers) in Narragansett. You’ll find live music, food, the famous beer tent (which also has wine), games for the kids and maybe a spare blessing for your boat!
Additional Events to Follow
Where: New London/Groton
When: 7/10 -7/12
Blessing of the Fleet:
Where: Stonington, CT
Where: Mystic, CT
When: 2020 Date TBD