Kennedy Plaza Is Heating Up

Most people think of the beach when they think of summer, but not this city gal! Simply walking downtown on a sunny day puts me in a great mood. So it’s no surprise that I can’t wait for the Downtown Providence Parks and Conservancy (DPPC) summer series when it once again combines some of my favorite things: education, performance and food trucks!

Let’s begin with Downtown Tuesdays, running July 5 – October 25 from 3 – 6pm. Downtown Tuesdays combines the Downtown Farmers Market with Farm Fresh RI, and the Kidoinfo Play in the Park. Family-friendly activities, performances and a play space truly make nutritional food fun for kids. What better way to promote healthy eating? Will this get my kid to eat his veggies? I’m not sure, but I’m willing to give it a try! What makes this year’s Downtown Tuesdays different from last is that Jennifer Smith of the DPPC upped the ante with special performances peppered into the schedule. On July 26 and August 23 there will be Open Drum Circles with Sidy Maiga, which provides not only an opportunity to see a professional musician hone their craft, but an opportunity to create with a professional musician.

Of course the fun doesn’t end with Tuesdays; Kidoinfo Storytime and Art in The Park will once again run on Thursdays from July 7 – August 18 from 10am – 12:30pm. Each year, the Art in the Park theme changes to correspond with a children’s book to ensure that children will find a love for stories through art. This year, children will explore Making on the Moon: Worlds of Tomi Ungerer. And if you and your little artist find that you’re hungry after Art in the Park, have no fear the food trucks will be there! Downtown Food Trucks at Kennedy Plaza & Not Bored Games will descend on the Plaza Monday through Thursday from 11:30am – 1:30pm July 7 – August 18. At the same time the Imagination Center, which includes the Imagination Playground and the Open Air Reading Room, will be open.

The Burnside Music Series and Beer Garden returns on Thursdays from 4:30 – 7:30pm, July 7 – September 8. The series has it all — live music, food trucks, family fun and beer!

I dare you to find anyone more excited about this fantastic lineup than the DPPC’s program director, Jennifer C. Smith. Her enthusiasm is infectious. “I am excited about all of the artists that we’re bringing together for kids and families in the park, and how this gives people an opportunity to be close to artists, like accomplished musician Sidy Maiga and our resident artist, Ricky Cadowitz.”

And then I heard the magic words any stage mama wants to hear. This year, thanks to a generous grant from Hasbro, there will be opportunities for kids to act out their stories! “We’re working on building a pop-up imagination theater, which will invite children and families to play and create and make up their own stories.”  This project will have a pop-up theater front complete with props, costumes and an opportunity for kids to make their own books! Frequently we hear how children “lose” their academic knowledge over the summer. Thanks to the DPPC, parents can keep those wheels turning while their kids have fun.

With all of these great events going on at Kennedy Plaza, it’s hard to imagine that anything else could fit in this schedule. However, there are also some special events taking place this summer. PVDFest at Burnside Park takes place on June 4 from Noon – 8pm (see story on page XX) where you can find Make, See, Do + Play, a participatory art event with music, dance and play! Enjoy performances by local artists and community organizations, and make some art of your own. On July 12 will be a bilingual production of Romeo and Juliet presented by Trinity Rep and RI Latino Arts.  The show begins at 6:30pm. Rhode Islanders will have a chance once again to tell their own stories when the Storycorps Airstream Station returns to Washington Street by Burnside Park from June 19 – July 30. This oral history project is something every Rhode Islander should check out.

Check out the DPPC’s Facebook page for more details.  From a performance by the Doppleganger Dance Collective in August, to the Afrika Nyaga Drum and Dance Festival with Sidy Maiga and the DPPC in September, and the Second Annual Octoberfest Burnside Music Series and Beer Garden, there is always something happening at Kennedy Plaza!

For more information visit the DPPC website at, on Facebook at or on Twitter @KennedyplazaPVD. 

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