If you’re lucky enough to get a three-day weekend for Columbus Day, you have some options. You could catch up on yard work. You could spend the weekend leaf peeping in New Hampshire. Or, you could stay close to home and take advantage of one of the state’s most festive weekends.
Party like the Italians do at the Federal Hill Columbus Day Festival, October 10-12. For three days, portions of Providence’s iconic Atwells Avenue shut down to car traffic for a party in the streets that involves music, rides and games for the kids, a marketplace, and, of course, food. Lots of food. The parade on Sunday, October 11 brings out the city’s finest entertainment and notable politicians. Over 75,000 people are expected to attend the festivities. www.federalhillprov.com
While Providence gets the most credit for its Italian heritage – come on, even Sinatra used to hang out on the Hill – it’s not the only place in Rhode Island where those roots run deep. Westerly has some Italian cred in its own right, especially when it comes to food, like the city’s iconic soupy, a local twist on soppressatta that each family has its own secret recipe for. It makes sense, then, that when it comes to Columbus Day, the city does it up right. This year marks the 68th annual Columbus Day parade on October 11. Expect more than a dozen marching bands, plus military details and roughly 2,000 other participants – and that’s just people in the parade itself. Prizes are awarded to the best floats, but if you’re there, you’ve already won. www.columbusdayparade.net
Woonsocket’s Autumnfest is part Columbus Day party, part fall celebration and all fun. From October 10-12, you can enjoy entertainment, delicious food, fireworks, arts and crafts and lots of family fun at the World War II Veteran’s Memorial State Park. Baha Men, the band behind the 2000 smash hit “Who Let The Dogs Out,” will headline Autumnfest 2015 on Saturday night, October 10, in a free concert. Monday’s parade – which will be Autumnfest’s 37th, thank you very much – promises a party in the streets to remember. www.autumnfest.org
The Scituate Art Festival has been bringing fine art to northern Rhode Island for 49 years. Browse over 200 art and craft vendors, as well as exhibitors and antiques vendors. On October 10-12 make a day of it with live music, delicious food and a raffle.
Village Green, Route 116, North Scituate. www.scituateartfestival.org