(Story by Jack Casey)
The Broadway Street Fair in Newport swung into full glory Saturday, October 8 after a couple of years off due to the pandemic. The weather was a perfect blend of sun and slight autumnal cool as the main artery in town was closed to automobile traffic and people came to enjoy one another and the multiple events that were scheduled. There was non-stop music beginning at noon on four stages strategically placed down the half-mile stretch of shops, restaurants, and street vendors. Everyone was in a celebratory mood as folks from the island and beyond reconnected after such a long period of no contact.
There was a great representation from local artisans and craftspersons including jewelers, photographers, street artists, and those who work on wood and sea shells. There were also those offering information about Medicare, The RI Commission for Human Rights, and other agencies, as well as a constant flow of humans and canines enjoying the event.
Event planners clearly did their homework by arranging a wonderful representation of multiple genres who provided non-stop music throughout the afternoon. The Equality Park Stage at the north end featured Beauquet, Aguijan Norteno, and Soulshot. The Midway Stage featured Bristol Fife & Drums, Newport Children’s Theater, Magician John Slack, Ancient Order of Hibernians Singers, Infinite Praise, Carrigan Nelson, Newport String Project, and Bill Bartholomew & Gabbi Rossi. The City Hall Stage featured Freddie Black, DP and DJ Blacklist, Dopey Lopes and The Up All Night Band, Chelley Knight and The Dope Things, and closed with Steve Smith and The Nakeds. Further south on Stone Street was a pop-up stage from High Hope featuring solo artists. (Check out some photos from WUN contributor Jack Casey below.)
The family-friendly event had lots for the kids to do including street painting, button-making, and some fun games the Cub Scouts had set up including archery and hatchet throwing (both with nerf-like equipment). Later in the afternoon folks were entertained by bands performing on the roof of Norey’s – a throwback to the late 60s and another band who had a good run.
Most vendors were very pleased with the crowds, the engagement, and in some cases, the sales. Many locals expressed the notion that they would enjoy an event of this type more often, perhaps twice, if not four times a year. A vote of thanks is owed to all of those involved in the planning, the bookings, the sponsoring, and the overseeing of what appeared a flawless success all around. Everyone had a great time, the community was strengthened, and we all look forward to more experiences like that.