As Providence, R.I., gears up for the
start this May of its annual, summer-long WaterFire art
installation, officials are touting other developments on the citys
burgeoning festivals and accommodations fronts.
WaterFire is a
six-month, outdoor arts happening centered on bonfires lit on three
downtown rivers every other weekend. Although it has become the
citys signature event in the past decade, theres much else ado in
Providence, an outsized college town -- home to six institutions of
higher learning, including Brown University and the Rhode Island
School of Design -- that sells itself as New Englands cultural
include the Providence Preservation Societys Festival of Historic
Houses, June 2 and 3; the FirstWorksKids performance festival for
children, June 16 and 17; and Sound Session, a citywide,
multicultural music festival, July 17 to 22.
One of the first
U.S. cities to elect an openly gay mayor (current Mayor David
Cicilline), Providence will host a Gay Pride celebration June 17 and
18, featuring New Englands only nighttime parade.
events this summer include dramatic offerings from the Trinity
Repertory Co., the Black Repertory Co. and the Dance Theater of
Rhode Island as well as exhibitions of note at the RISD Museum of
Art and Providence Childrens Museum.
On the third
Thursday of each month, 30 galleries citywide keep their doors open
late for visitors on Gallery Night; a free shuttle connects
cultural hot spot that draws more than 1.5 million overnight
visitors a year, including ever more international tourists,
Providence is souping up its hotel plant with bigger and better
Work continues on
a second tower at the Westin Providence Hotel, adjacent to the
Rhode Island Convention Center, adding 200 rooms to the current
Scheduled to open
in December is the four-star, 274-room Renaissance Providence
Hotel, set in a former Masonic lodge.
Last year, the
city gained two boutique properties with the opening of the
61-room, 19-suite Hotel Providence in the downtown arts and
entertainment district and the 14-suite Dolce Villa, a hotel with
all-white decor in DePasquale Plaza on Federal Hill.
And the former
Holiday Inn Providence, now under renovation, changed flags and is
now the Hilton Garden Inn Providence.
are wooing vacationers with ever more creative -- and targeted --
packages, according to Neil Schriever, vice president of sales at
the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.
We used to have a
one-size-fits-all package program. Now, at our Web site we probably
have nine different categories of packages for leisure travelers,
Schriever said. It really has blossomed.
like the Culinary Archives and Museum package at the Radisson
Airport Hotel Providence [www.radisson.com/warwickri; (800) 333-3333]. Priced
from $169 per couple, per night and available all year, it includes
deluxe room, $50 credit at the Bistro restaurant, free breakfast
and admission for two to the archives and museum at Johnson and
For more info,
contact the PWCVB at (401) 456-0200 or www.pwcvb.com.
Destinations editor Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].