Black Ships Festival

The Japan America Society of Rhode Island is celebrating the 35th year of the Black Ships Festival on July 13-15, 2018. Started in Newport in 1984, the organization announced on Tuesday in a press release that they have expanded the Festival to Bristol this summer. 

As WJAR has reported – following a dispute, Newport and Bristol will both host a Black Ships Festival this year.

According to event organizers, The Japan America Society of Rhode Island’s Black Ships Festival is a celebration of the friendship between the country of Japan and the state of Rhode Island in commemoration of Commodore Matthew C. Perry. Commodore Perry opened trade up between the United States and Japan with the Treaty of Kanakawa in 1864. Japanese arts and crafts, martial arts, a Japanese tea ceremony and taiko drums will be some of the highlights. 

Here’s this year’s full calendar;

Friday, July 13th

Opening Ceremony, 10:30 am, Independence Park, Thames St., Bristol

Colorful ceremonies, Wreath-laying, and speeches by dignitaries. Free admission!

Sushi & Sake Sail Aboard the Schooner Aurora, 3:00 pm – 5:00pm, Goat Island Marina, Newport

Sail aboard a magnificent Tall Ship. View Newport harbor as you sip sake from Gekkeikan, and sample some great sushi. Space is limited to 68 people. A sellout every year! Sponsored by IDC, The Newport Experience. $30 per person in advance and $35 day of the event (if available). For tickets: 401-846-2720, or buy online at

Taiko Drum Performance & Japanese Hip-Hop Street Dance Team, 7:00pm-8: 30 pm, Herreshoff Waterside Tent

Gendo Taiko will dazzle you with their electrifying drums. 12DC Dance Team from Shimoda, Japan will excite you with their trendy dance moves. For tickets call 401-846-2720.

Saturday, July 14th 

Arts, Crafts & Martial Arts Fair, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Independence Park, Thames St, Bristol

Independence Park will be transformed into a Japanese-American Cultural Center, featuring demonstrations, workshops, and displays. Including Arts and Crafts and Martial Arts Demonstrations. Street Dance Team 12DC from Shimoda, Japan will be performing throughout the weekend! Taiko Drumming Presentations, US Navy Band Performance and so much more! Free admission!

Black Ships Festival Gala, 6:30 pm, The Elegant Waterside Tent at Herreshoff Museum – Bristol, RI

Celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Black Ships Festival. Enjoy a formal gala honoring the signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa and the accomplishments of the United States Navy. Join us as we welcome Japanese Dignitaries, RI Officials and the US Navy. Enjoy a unique evening that fuses both Japanese and American culture. The Gala includes dancing, an Open Bar, wines by Oyster Bay Wines, Vodka Martini Bar with Broken Shed Vodka and cultural cuisine with a Japanese flare. Begin the evening with the breaking of the Ceremonial Sake Drum filled with Gekkeikan Sake. Enjoy an exclusive taiko drumming presentation by Brown University Taiko Drummers. Outstanding sit down dinner prepared by Pranzi Catering, Sushi station by Haruki, handcrafted cocktails by the Cocktail Guru and a special presentation by 12DC Street Dance Team from Japan. The Gala is Presented by Toray Plastics (America), Inc. For tickets visit

For complete details visit