With the holiday season quickly approaching, the City of Newport today announced via a press release that it is gearing up for a variety of COVID-safe festivities aimed at spreading cheer across the City.

Following up on the success of their Halloween Spooktacular, Newport Recreation will be hosting a Holly Jolly Drive-Thru at Easton’s Beach on Saturday, Dec. 12th along with a virtual Gingerbread House Competition that’s sure to set mouths watering.  

Meanwhile, the Newport Fire Department has received word that Santa Claus will once again be visiting the City for his annual ride through Newport’s neighborhoods beginning Tuesday Dec. 8th. Children of all ages will be able to catch a glimpse of St. Nick escorted by Newport Police and Fire crews on four nights this year: Dec. 8th, 10th, 15th, and 17th.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the annual Newport Harbor Illuminated Boat Parade will not be held this year, however the City of Newport says organizers are already planning for the 25th edition in 2021.

All of the city’s Christmas events have sponsorship opportunities available for local businesses. The City asks interested businesses to please contact Carol Mureddu at cjohnson@cityofnewport.com or at 845-5800 for details.

More information about the City’s holiday event lineup can be found below:

Holly-Jolly Drive Thru at Easton’s Beach

Load up the kids and head down to Easton’s Beach for a special holiday display scheduled for 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12th. Participants will remain in their vehicles as they drive through festive one-of-a-kind displays with a very special guest waiting at the end to say a quick, socially distant ho-ho-ho.

All participants must remain in the vehicle at all times and masks are required for all. This event is free for Newport residents and $5 per child for non-residents. Pre-registration is required for all participants. Registration is currently open for Newport residents. Non-resident registration begins December 6th. Visit register.communitypass.net/cityofnewport to sign up.

Gingerbread House Competition

Grab your gumdrops and icing and channel your inner Richard Morris Hunt for Newport Recreation’s first Gingerbread House Competition. All entries must be 100 percent edible and in the form of a building or structure and placed on a sturdy base. Original creations are encouraged, but purchased kits are acceptable. All entries must be dropped off at the Easton’s Beach parking lot on Saturday, December 12th between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Entries will be on display at our Holly Jolly Drive-Thru event on December 12th where the public will vote for their favorite! Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories. Additional contest rules and details are available at cityofnewport.com/recreation.

Compete in one of 8 categories:

  • Child age 10 & under working with minimal adult assistance;
  • Child age 11-17 with no adult assistance;
  • Individual age 18 and up
  • Family
  • Group—all participants 10 and under
  • Group—all participants 11-17
  • Group—all participants 18 and up
  • Organization/Business

For questions, please contact the Recreation office at 845-5800 or cjohnson@cityofnewport.com

Santa’s Holiday Ride

The Newport Fire & Police Departments will be assisting Santa Claus to tour the neighborhoods of Newport this December. He will be visiting our area on four nights beginning at 5:30 p.m. This year, he’s planning on riding with our first responders through the streets to see the City’s children on Tuesday December 8th, Thursday December 10th, Tuesday December 15th and finishing up on Thursday December 17th.

Santa’s visit is weather dependent. If there is inclement weather on any night he is scheduled, he will do his very best to complete his visit in that area of the City on the following night.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.