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Free Your Summer: A guide to some of the best no-charge events around

From concerts in Fall River to grand spectacles in PVD, there is always something fun to look forward to in the heat of the summer in southern New England – especially with life beginning to return back to a semi-normal state after a tough two years. Looking for fun without breaking the bank? Check out these freeing options.

WaterFire 

June 4 – September 24

Fire performer, Andrew Lindsay of Cirque de Light at WaterFire (Photograph by Erin Cuddigan)

WaterFire Providence is famous for holding its recurring partial and full lightings along Waterplace Park – and this summer they’re holding a handful of lightings for important causes alongside their routine lightings. 

Every year, WaterFire Providence holds both full and partial lightings on Friday and Saturday nights at Waterplace Park. The lightings are usually just a part of their typical seasonal routine, but there are some valuable causes that WaterFire honors with lightings throughout the summer. For example, the July 3 full lighting is sponsored by the organization RI Defeats Hep C, and the August 13 full lighting is dedicated to celebrating RI’s BIPOC communities. WaterFire’s lightings are even more special to attend when they are representing important organizations and movements! 

In his announcement of the 2022 lighting schedule, creator and co-CEO Barnaby Evans proclaimed that “WaterFire is an opportunity to come and enjoy a historic city reborn, to see an urban center in new light and to celebrate the balance of the old and the new mixed with the romance of firelight.” The WaterFire lightings are a quintessential component of RI and its culture. 

In addition to WaterFire’s regular lightings, they also offer free galleries and exhibitions through the WaterFire Arts Center that shine a spotlight on both local and international artists. The featured exhibition for May is Faded, The Gallery: Exploring the Lineage of Graphic T-Shirts, and many more exhibitions will be featured on their website as they continue to publish their schedule. 

To see WaterFire’s full schedule of lightings, visit their 2022 WaterFire Lighting Schedule. To remain up-to-date with their exhibitions and galleries, visit their WaterFire Arts Center Calendar at WaterFire.org.

Fourth of July Celebrations, Bristol RI

June 12 – July 4

Bristol, Rhode Island, July 4 parade.

Bristol has a reputation of going all-out for the Fourth of July, and this year is no exception. Join them as they continue their tradition of free concerts, races, and tons of other events!

Bristol prides itself on being America’s ”most patriotic town,” and its Fourth of July celebrations are a shining example of that pride. After all, it’s the home of America’s oldest Fourth of July celebration! Starting on June 14 with Flag Day, Bristol holds free events week after week leading up to Independence Day. As one of the earlier celebrations, the organizers hold a vintage baseball game on June 18 in the Bristol town common, along with a block dance party in the same spot on the same night.

Another highlight of the celebrations is the free two-week concert series held every night from Sunday June 19 to Saturday July 2, which Chairman Chuck MacDonough is excited to confirm is finally returning. Last year, the concerts were relocated to Roger Williams University, but this year it is returning to its home in Independence Park. 

More great events include the local Orange Crate Derby on Sunday June 12, and the foot races on Wednesday, June 22. As an added bonus, anyone who participates in the 1-mile foot race is offered free tickets to the carnival, which is a staple of the Fourth of July celebrations. 

To top everything off, the celebrations come to a close with the fireworks extravaganza on July 3 and the parade on July 4. For the parade this year, MacDonough looks forward to inviting back past participating organizations and welcoming in lots of new ones.

To see Bristol’s schedule of events for this year’s celebrations, take a look at fourthofjulybristolri.com

2022 Kick-Off to Summer, Fall River MA

June 18

This June, Fall River’s 2022 Kick-Off to Summer will be a free event where people of all ages can enjoy hands-on arts and crafts, games and casual sports tournaments.

This June, Greater Fall River Re-Creation is reviving their 2022 Kick-Off to Summer in Ruggles Park. This free event will be home to face painting, carnival games, a tattoo artist, free food, a rock wall, a basketball tournament, an obstacle course and a bunch of other activities for the whole family. As a bonus, the event will feature an array of resource tables from various local organizations in the Fall River area. The various activities offered by the Kick-Off are a combination of art, games, movement, and engagement.

The public event will finally be back in full-swing after two difficult years. Executive Director Grace Gerling noted, “We’re excited to be bringing back our Kick-Off to Summer at Ruggles Park here in Fall River. It’s been a couple of years now that we haven’t been able to offer the free event due to COVID-19, and we’re super excited to bring it back. It’ll be a really fun day for the kiddos!” Gerling also announced that the event will be extended by an additional hour, running 11am to 3pm instead of to 2 pm.

To learn more about the 2022 Kick-Off to Summer, check out gfrrec.org