Food, Music, Fun: Taste of the Valley Launches Pawtucket Arts Festival

gala 2 copyPrepare your taste buds as Rhode Island kicks off its 17th annual Pawtucket Arts Festival with the Blackstone River Party, or “The Taste of the Valley,” which is an event that’s just as exciting as it sounds. The month-long celebration of Rhode Island’s art and culture scene begins at 6pm at Slater Memorial Park, in Pawtucket, on Friday, August 28, and — blessed day — there will be food.

Thirty restaurants are going to provide you with their best culinary treats and samples in an effort to be voted the #1 “People’s Choice Award.” This is a new incentive for the Taste of the Valley’s restaurant participants, local favorite spots that include Gregg’s, PieZoni’s, Doherty’s and When Pigs Fly. That means we need YOU, reader and food lover, to come vote on your favorite dish. The grand prize winner will receive $500, and there are 2nd and 3rd place prizes that would make any restaurant happy to be in the line-up. And for all of those folks wondering about — okay, I’ll just say it — boozing opportunities, you’ll have plenty. A full bar will be available with sufficient options for beer, wine and even frozen vodka drinks. Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Blackstone River, with the smooth tunes of the Zydeco Cha-Chas playing under the dance tent, you’ll have all you need to create a fabulous Friday night out.

The best part is that tickets are only $10. You can purchase them on-site at the gate or at the Blackstone Valley Tourism Visitor Center. “People love this event,” says Joe Giocastro, Festival manager, noting that the line is often down the street before the gates are even open. And feel free to come for the night and stay for the weekend, where you’ll catch a musical festival featuring local and not-so-local (Louisiana-based) rock and blues talent on Saturday and Sunday. The Pawtucket Arts Festival will extend from August 28 – October 4, so be sure to check out the list of events running throughout the month of September (pawtucketartsfestival.org/events).

“Every year we get better and better,” notes Giocastro. Let this be your year to join the grand opening, and taste and see (and hear, smell, and feel) that Rhode Island is good.

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