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Best things to do in Rhode Island this week: Feb. 17-March 3

Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

We’ve got squid, duck and veggie burgers. Helicopter rides. A Tom Petty tribute. A Pulitzer winner, a Pulitzer finalist, and our first CRS. (Column-Reader Suggestion, obviously.) Neighbors, we roll.


I’m always on the hunt for coolness. If you’ve had fun in the 401, hit me up with your idea via Twitter, Instagram or email, and you could be featured in an upcoming column.

This week’s Column-Reader Suggestion comes from Anne, who suggests Pawtucket’s Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration. Anne, this looks awesome.

Unplug for analog fun. For $10 per person, it’s free play pinball and arcade all-day, no tokens needed. Stay as long as you want: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. From a 1958 Casino pinball machine to Dolly Parton pinball, Family Guy pinball to Simpsons pinball, Pac-Man to 1988 Sega games, plus skee ball, air hockey and the like — it’s a retro-game haven. TripAdvisor visitor quotes include “Best discovery of my trip” and “Outstanding find.” 881 Main St. Details here and here.



It’s time to crown the King of Burgers. Voting runs now through Feb. 27 to see who makes the best burger in Newport in the 2023 Burger Bender. With some 42 restaurants competing, there’s something for everyone, from duck to veggie burgers. Entries include Chomp’s Short Rib Smash Burger — black pepper-crusted smash burger, gouda, red wine beef short rib, black truffle aioli and Cape Cod chips inside the bun; Midtown Oyster Bar’s “Thames Street Juicy Lucy” burger with pepperjack, maple-candied bacon, chourico gravy, pickled Fresno chilis, house aioli, oven-dried tomatoes; and Blue Anchor Grill’s veggie-friendly sweet potato and black bean burger with avocado.

Other burgers include a squid burger (which is not just a SpongeBob thing apparently); lamb burger, tuna burger, salmon burger, pork cutlet burger, Port wine foie gras burger, fried chicken burger. Details here.



The 35th annual Newport Winter Festival runs through Feb. 26 and it’s a jam-packed weekend:

On Feb. 25, we hit peak Rhode Island Winter: ice carving x Dunkin’. (Yes, it’s real.) Watch ice sculptors “wield their chisels, chain saws, blow dryers and power sanders” to create works of ice art. Plus samples from Dunkin.’ Bonus points to the artist who carves a large iced extra extra. Long Wharf, Newport. 11 a.m.

Watch horses on the beach at Winter Festival Beach Polo Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. Free. Plus food trucks will be on hand from 2-5:30 p.m.

You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down from seeing a Rhode Island tribute to Tom Petty. Tribute band Won’t Back Down rocks the Wyndham Newport Hotel Feb. 25 at 8:30 p.m. Prices vary.

Feb. 26 is peppered with events, prices vary on each: See Newport from seagull’s eye-view with a helicopter tour. See Newport shine with a Gilded Age Walking Tour. Embark on a boat ride to see seals with Save The Bay.

For full details on everything mentioned above, see here.


The 14th Annual Providence Children’s Film Fest runs now through Feb. 26, offering world cinema for kiddos. Upcoming screenings include the Moroccan-set “Casablanca Beats;” “How I Learned to Fly,” from Serbian director Radivoje Andrić; and Austrian film, “The Magic Flute.” Details here.



Guitar fans, get thee to Newport: The son of one of the greatest living guitarists Richard Thompson, and longtime musical partner/ex-wife Linda Thompson, Teddy has guitar strings for veins, and music in his blood. Catch the singer/songwriter at LaFarge Arts Center in Newport Feb. 24, presented by Newport Live. 7:30 p.m. $35. Details here and here.


… Or near to see “Come From Away” at PPAC through Feb. 26. Written by Tony nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and directed by Tony-winner Christopher Ashley, the musical is based on the true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the Newfoundlanders that welcomed them. The musical has special meaning for one Rhode Island woman. Tickets from $45. Details here.


Book lovers and history buffs, beeline to Bristol for a lecture and reception with 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner David W. Blight on Feb. 26. His Pulitzer-winning “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” is considered the definitive biography of Douglass. Yale’s Sterling professor of history speaks at 3 p.m. at Linden Place Mansion, followed by a reception 4:30-5:30. Tickets $30-$55. 500 Hope St. Details here.


Speaking of Pulitzers, don’t miss Tommy Orange in Providence Feb. 27. Brown’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative and Literary Arts Department host the 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist in conversation with writer Lanre Akinsiku. I’m an Orange fan. He’s brilliant. A citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, his “There There” (2018) — following various indigenous characters — reads like a poem. Rhode Island College has a handy reading guide online. Free. 6-7:30 p.m. at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, 154 Angell St., Providence. Details here.



Last call to catch discount cuteness: Roger Williams Park Zoo’s half-off admission runs through Feb. 28. You can’t not smile when hanging with Paia, the baby tree kangaroo. Discount applied at checkout. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence. 401-785-3510. Details here.


It’s Rhody’s own “Whose Line is it Anyway?” If you love improv, check out Warwick’s Bring Your Own Improv, an interactive improv show that welcomes voluntary audience participation, every Friday at the Warwick Center for the Arts. BYO picnic for a family-friendly night of laughs every Friday at 8 p.m., followed by a 10 p.m. show for teens and adults. 3257 Post Road, Warwick. $15 general admission; $10 for members, kids, seniors, students, teachers, hospital workers, minimum-wage workers, members of the military and first responders. Details here.


Hip-hop fans, you’re not seeing double. Identical twins Billy and Bobby McClain combine powers to become The Wondertwins and they’re bringing their moves to the Ballroom at Providence G, presented by FirstWorks, March 3.

Growing up in Boston in the 1970s, the twins started out dancing in their living room, influenced by Soul Train. At 10, they joined a professional street-dance crew, and went on to work with everyone from Bobby Brown to New Kids on the Block.


“We’re trying to show that hip-hop dancing and hip-hop music belongs in the same category as the great pop songs and the great jazz traditions. Hip-hop dance is equally as important as ballet and tap,” Billy McClain told the Globe in 2016. 7:30 p.m. with DJ to follow. 18+. $25 advance, $30 door. 100 Dorrance St. Details here.


Just across the border, Fall River is engaged in a full-on month-long Portuguese food fight with New Bedford through Feb. 28. Got a favorite pastéis de nata? Learn more here.

The treasure hunt that is the PVD Flea launched its 2023 winter season at Farm Fresh RI Market Hall recently, and will be there Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through May. Expect local artisans, indie makers, vintage vendors, jewelry and clothing vendors, soap and candle makers, bakeshops, coffee, craft beer, cocktails and food trucks. Free. 10 Sims Ave. Details here.

Liberty Farm & Carriage Company, a working farm in Burrillville, offers private horse carriage or sleigh rides. Prices vary for rides from groups of two to 14. 60 Ironmine Road, Burrillville. 401-651-6004. Details and video here.

Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin.’

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.