There will be no Newport Winter Festival this year.

Marketing & Events, Inc., the organizers of the annual Newport Winter Festival, today announced the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the festival. The event would have taken place from February 12 – 21, 2021.

Marketing & Events, Inc. provided What’s Up Newp with the following statement regarding the Newport Winter Festival;


It is with great regret, that Marketing & Events, Inc., the organizers of the Newport Winter Festival, announce the cancellation of the 33rd Annual Newport Winter Festival. This decision was not an easy one. It was their hope that by this time COVID would be tapering down and the vaccine would be readily available. Since that is not the case, they feel that attracting crowds and holding events would not be acting responsibly. It is their intention to do what is best for the safety and well being of the community. It is also their obligation to abide by the guidelines and restrictions implemented by the State of Rhode Island”. 

The goal of the Newport Winter Festival has always been to attract as many people as possible to Newport in the dead of winter. For the past several years the hotels have been sold out for the majority of the 10 days of the festival. Marketing & Events, Inc., is always grateful for the outpouring of support from the business community in welcoming both out of towners and locals to enjoy Newport in the winter. Restaurants, stores,  bars and other local businesses remain busy during that time.  

The Festival supports live music, comedy, children’s entertainers, even princesses. The Winter Festival has always drawn great attendance to all its events and tremendous crowds at many, unfortunately, that just cannot happen safely this year. Ballroom capacity and social distancing limitations make it impossible to run these events safely. The number one concern is the safety and wellbeing of the attendees and the community. 

David Rosenberg, Festival Director, wants to give a special thank you to all of the venues and partners that have helped make the Newport Winter Festival possible over the last 32 years, including Gurney’s Resort,  Newport Marriott, Oceancliff/The Newport Experience, Newport Vineyards, Greenvale Vineyards, The  Mooring Restaurant, Newport International Polo, The Red Parrot Restaurant, Newport Harbor Hotel, Hotel  Viking, Discover Newport, Newport Fire Department, and all of our great cook-off participating restaurants as well as our title sponsor Samuel Adams/Boston Beer Company. 

“I look forward to working with you all on the 2022 Newport Winter Festival! When we can safely invite everyone to come out and celebrate winter in Newport.


Earlier today, Evan Smith, President & CEO of Discover Newport, when asked by What’s Up Newp about the possibility of a 2020 Newport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade wrote that he has “hoped and prayed (yes prayed) that we would not have to start the cycle of canceling events again this year, yet as we approach the start of another annual cycle I am concerned about what resources event organizers and community leaders have that will assist them to develop operational safety plans, particularly for the larger events where so distancing is more challenging”.

Discover Newport is the non-profit destination management organization dedicated to the promotion of the City of Newport and its eight surrounding townships in Newport and Bristol Counties.

“The Winter Festival has already decided to wait until 2022. Next up the St Patrick’s day parade,” Smith continued. “We have not been part of any discussions about this challenge yet, but looking at the national landscape, many events in other cities are being pushed back later in the year to allow for a higher percentage of vaccinations to occur. It kind of begs the question, ‘should we have the St Patrick’s day parade later this year’?”

Smith concluded, “I/we believe that event organizers & elected officials will need to make hard decisions based on the best medical knowledge and scientific research available in the best interest of residents & visitors alike”.

New guidance and restrictions from Governor Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) took effect on December 21, 2020, until further notice. Among the restrictions in the current guidance, social gathering size is limited to one household, bar areas are to be closed, restaurants are limited to 50% capacity, and indoor and outdoor venues of assembly are limited to no more than 125 people being present at the event or venue.

As of Tuesday, RIDOH reported a total of 93,852 positive cases, 2,059,444 total tests, and 1,870 fatalities since the start of the pandemic. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Arizona, California, and Rhode Island are among the hardest-hit places in the world at this stage of the pandemic, with the highest rates of Covid-19 infections per capita.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.