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The Cultural Flavors of RI: Motif’s mini-guide to summer BIPOC festivals and events

Looking to expand your cultural horizons this summer? Little Rhody has got you covered, with a wide variety of upcoming cultural festivals that will get you to eat, dance and celebrate life in new ways.

Why travel abroad when there’s so much rich diversity in your own backyard? With events like Culture Fest 2022, RI is showcasing its cultural tapestry for all to learn from.

Culture Fest Founder Kobi Dennis is looking forward to starting up the festivities for the first time since the pandemic by bringing people together again to celebrate one another’s differences.

“I want folks to start to get to know each other on a face-to-face basis again, by sharing different cultures, food and music,” he said.

Excited yet? Good! Now read on for a list of festivities coming your way in the next few months.

Roger Williams Park Lights Up Providence with Asian Lantern Spectacular 

Runs now until July 4
Roger Williams Zoo
1000 Elmwood Ave, PVD
$25

Looking for a family-friendly activity with some history? Try the 2nd annual Asian Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Zoo, which is open  until the 4th of July.

With over 50 spectacular glowing lanterns displayed zoo-wide, a kid’s interactive lantern area, savory Asian-inspired cuisine, drinks, handcrafted keepsakes and more, this walk-through event will appeal to families of all ages.

The lantern spectacular is a testament to  Roger Williams Zoo’s commitment to foster inclusivity and build engaging experiences for visitors, as Interim Marketing & Public Relations Manager Corrie Ignagni told Motif.

“We support and celebrate diversity and we are excited to celebrate 2,000 years of tradition during this truly remarkable event that promotes multiculturalism and encourages learning about different customs,” Ignagni said.  “Conservation, community and diversity are at the heart of the Zoo’s core values, and this is an amazing opportunity that brings families together to make lasting memories and engage themselves in new cultural traditions.”

Join the celebration of traditional illuminated lanterns while jamming to music and dance performances held every Friday – Sunday evening by local community organizations and groups.

For more information, visit https://www.rwpzoo.org/lantern.

Jazz Up Your June with PVD World Music at Poindexter Coffee

Friday, June 3, 6 pm – 8:30 pm 
Poindexter Coffee at Graduate Providence
11 Dorrance Street, PVD
Free

Graduate Providence will be welcoming PVD World Music to Poindexter coffee, with musical talent from Africa and around the world. The show will feature Latin Jazz from a Columbian American artist as well as an American Classical Jazz artist. 

PVD World Music Founder Chance Boas described the event as “a new edition” to PVD World Music’s lineup of concerts, since its inception four years ago.

Join them as part of the Institute’s mission to “increase RI’s exposure to traditional music, arts, and cultural heritage.”

For more information, visit pvdworldmusic.com

Caribbean Heritage Month Celebration Kicks off in Narragansett

Saturday, June 18, 3 – 7 pm 
Aqua Blue Hotel
1 Beach Street, Narragansett
Tickets: $40

Food, music, island vibes – Narragansett is celebrating all things Caribbean at the Aqua Blue Hotel, with a mix and mingle at the beach, and music by DJ Malik. This first installment of the Caribbean festivities will continue in PVD with the Heritage Festival on June 25 (more info on that in the next description!).

The heritage month celebration is hosted by Authentic Caribbean Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Boston and geared towards transforming the lives of Caribbean children impacted by disabilities and HIV/Aids by providing health and educational support. 

All proceeds from this event support children of Guyana. For more information, visit authenticcaribbeanfoundation.org

Caribbean Pride Takes over PVD at Caribbean American Heritage Festival

Saturday, June 25, 11 am – 6 pm 
The Waterfire Arts Center
475 Valley Street, PVD
Tickets: $10 – $40

The Caribbean American Diaspora community will be celebrating 17 years since the proclamation of National Caribbean American Heritage Month through the heritage festival.

Head to the Waterfire Arts Center in PVD to share the cuisine, beats and cultural milestones of this vibrant community. Attendees will groove to Steel Band Temple International and the Greg Roy band while sampling Caribbean delicacies, all in honor of the rich culture the Caribbean Diaspora community have brought to the state of RI.

“This is a great state, and our goal is to showcase the heritage and culture which has contributed to it,” said Andrew Sharpe, chairman of the Authentic Caribbean Foundation. 

For more information, visit caribbeanamericanheritagefest.com.

Get Ready for Good Vibes at Culture Fest ’22 

Friday, July 1, 3 pm – Sunday, July 3, 11 pm
The Cornerstone Complex
25 Maple Street 
Pawtucket, RI 02860

Pawtucket has a jam-packed weekend of cultural diversity at this year’s Culture Fest ’22. A wide array of cultures will be on display outdoors at The Cornerstone Complex, which Founder Kobi Dennis describes as downtown Pawtucket’s “Black block of businesses” run by women, African American, Latino and BIPOC entrepreneurs.

While most of the festivities will be free of charge, there will also be a few ticketed evening events held indoors. Dennis expects up to 6,000 attendees for this year’s festivities, which is in its second year since the pandemic.

“The goal of the event is to bring people together to start to appreciate one another’s culture,” he said. Attendees can expect a broad range of music including Jazz, Christian and R&B hip-hop, along with food, spoken word and much more.

For more information, visit culturefestri.com, email info@culturefestri.com or visit the Culture Fest pages on social media @CultureFestRI.

Puerto Rican Bayfest is Back at India Point Park

Sunday, July 24, noon –  7 pm
India Point Park
225 India Street, PVD
Free

Looking for grub, infectious smiles and endless dancing? Look no further than the Puerto Rican Bayfest, which is back for the summer of 2022 and will have you saying Wepa! at the array of activities taking place.

Hosted by the Puerto Rican Professional Association of RI, the Bayfest will have kiosks, a kid’s area and food trucks on India Point Park grounds.

For more information, visit prpari.org.

Crave more Latino Flavor? Check out the “Connecting Our People” Workshop Series at Providence Community Libraries

The “Connecting Our People” workshop series is a combination of recreational and informative programs ranging from storytelling to dancing to Latino cooking.

Other events include educational workshops on how to start a small business, and skills courses on sewing, video production, photography and creative writing.

Workshops are held at the Knight Memorial, Mount Pleasant, Olneyville, South Providence and Washington Park community libraries and will run until July.

“There’s something for everyone,” said Latino Program Coordinator Carolina Briones. “The workshops are an excellent way to explore all the free resources offered at the Providence Community Libraries.” 

Below are the workshops being held through July 2022:

Latin Dancing – Bachata/Salsa with Adriana Londono

May 12 – July 9, 6 – 7:30pm 
Providence Community Library – Washington Park 
1316 Broad Street, PVD

Sewing Workshop

May 17 – June 21, 5:30 – 7:00 pm 
Providence Community Library – Mount Pleasant
315 Academy Ave, PVD

For more information, visit communitylibrariespvd.org

Discover the beauty of Asian Dance and Music at Sounds of Korea in PVD

Sunday, August 14, 4 – 9 pm 
Bishop McVinney Auditorium
43 Dave Gavitt Way, PVD

This year, the Korean American Association of RI has a lot in store for its Korea Day Celebration, to commemorate Victory Day on August 15.

Sounds of Korea will showcase Korea’s finest cuisine and performance art at the Bishop McVinney Auditorium.

Admission and food are free for attendees, thanks to generous grants from the RI State Council of the Arts, Expansion Arts Program, Overseas Koreans Foundation and Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Boston.

Korean American Association of RI Director Angela Sharkey is very excited about the upcoming event. “This is the first time we are doing an event of this scale,” she said. “Before this, we did a few smaller events in the community.”

Sounds of Korea will feature performances from Korean traditional dancer Eunjoo Kang and Korean traditional musician Jung-Hee Oh. 

For more information, visit rikorean.org.