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Best things to do in Rhode Island this week: May 5-12

A spectator shows off her Derby hat before the 137th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., in 2011.Ed Reinke/Associated Press

We’re in full-on summer-mode now, my friends. Rhody is chock-full of Cinco de Mayo fun, Derby parties, bike rides, beach fairs, and ocean races. Let’s make like we have a basket of clam cakes and dive right in.


Ride under a full moon with Bike Newport. They host a free 15-mile moonlight bike ride on the full moon of each month. May 5 is the “Flower Moon.” Gather at 6:45 p.m., ride starts at 7:15, with sunset at 7:47, and moonrise at 8:04. They recommend arriving 20 to 30 minutes before the start of each ride. Free. 18+. Equality Park Place, Broadway, Newport. Details here.



¡Tiempo de fiesta! Cinco de Mayo falls on a Viernes this year, and Diego’s in Newport is celebrating all dia long. Details on their 14th Annual Cinco De Mayo celebration are scant, but expect a taco cart, cocktails and delish dishes. The house menu is creative and extensive — I’m talking five pages of drinks alone. Your crew might start the night with roasted beet and butternut tacos on blue corn tortillas, barbecue chicken chimichangas with charred corn, a barbacoa burrito with Negra Modela barbecue sauce.… I’ll stop there before you get too hungry. 11 Bowens Wharf, Newport. Details here and here.


Cranston’s Garden City Center celebrates Cinco de Mayo by kicking off its Wine Garden season. Starting May 5, you can relax at the family and dog-friendly event at the gazebo. Think wines from a rotating selection, live music, games, events and the like. Note that on May 12, there’s a charcuterie-making. Fridays 4-8 p.m; Saturdays 2-6 p.m. 100 Midway Road. Details here.


This sounds amazing. Steve and Bokani Dyer, dad-and-son jazz musicians from South Africa, play Newport Classical’s Recital Hall May 5. Dad is saxophonist and flutist Steve; his son Bokani is a pianist and producer. Hosted by Newport Live, they’ll jointly lead their quartet Dyertribe in a set that “commemorates the April 1994 elections that brought Nelson Mandela to power,” according to billing.


Born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in 1960, Steve began composing at age 10, according to his website. Bokani, born in 1986, was named one of 10 jazz artists to watch, by in April. Get on this, Rhody. $35. 7:30 p.m. 42 Dearborn St. Show details here. Learn more here.


Take yourself on an educational tour. Providence’s Lippitt House Museum reopens for the season with guided tours starting May 5. Tours run Fridays and select Saturdays through October. Built in 1865, the house “captures the brilliance of Victorian design and represents a time in Providence’s industrial history,” according to Preserve Rhode Island. Adults: $10; Students: $5; kids 12 and under free. 199 Hope St. Details here.


Time to don your biggest hat and sip mint juleps. May 6 is Kentucky Derby Day and Rhody has Derby fever, baby. There are loads of events scattered around the state, including:

It’s “A Very Bougie Derby Day” at PVD’s Kin Southern Bar + Table from 2-10 p.m. Watch the race, win prizes for best dressed and best hat, jump in a photo booth with said hat, plus hors d’oeuvres for purchase, cocktail specials, and live entertainment. 71 Washington St. From $10. Details here.


The Ballroom at the Providence G celebrates with costume contests, hors d’oeuvres, specialty cocktails, live entertainment. 5-8 p.m. 100 Dorrance St. From $40. Details here.

Cranston’s Park Theater hosts a fundraiser party, “Taking the Reins on Homelessness” from 5-8 p.m. Don Derby attire for mint juleps, hors d’oeuvres, live and silent auction and Motown hits. From $75. 848 Park Ave. Details here.

…Then there’s the after-party. Derby madness continues at Bristol’s Linden Place from 8-11 p.m. It’s open bar, dancing, sweets, silent auction and prizes for best hat and best-dressed. 500 Hope St. From $75. Details here.


Celtic music fans, take note: the Seamus Egan Project plays Blackstone River Theatre May 6. Egan is a heavyweight in the genre. The former teen prodigy and multi-instrumentalist and founder of Irish It band Solas is a must-see live performer. He’ll be joined by fiddler Jenna Moynihan, guitarist Kyle Sanna, and Owen Marshall on bouzouki, mandolin and banjo. $25. 8 p.m. 549 Broad St., Cumberland. Details here. Get a sense of the artists here.


I’m passionate about books and the Ocean State. Rhody has so many talented authors and bookstores that I’ve started a little subsection of this column, “Rhode Reads.” If you’re a local author or a bookstore hosting a local signing, hit me up and you might get featured. In this week’s Rhody Reading News…


Two talented Rhode Islanders — author Jamie Michalak and illustrator Kelly Murphy — have teamed up for another Dakota Crumb book. The first in 2021 was so charming. Now we have “Dakota Crumb and the Secret Bookshop.” (Keep these books coming.) Barrington Books hosts the book launch May 6 at 11:30 a.m. Details here.

Meanwhile, to celebrate the paperback release of the buzzy “The Girls in Queens,” by Christine Kandic Torres (2022), Warren’s Ink Fish Books hosts Torres in conversation with Massachusetts author Elizabeth Gonzalez James, author of “Mona at Sea” (2021) and “Five Conversations About Peter Sellers” (2023.) May 11 at 6 p.m. Details here.


Celebrate Korean Culture May 6 in Cranston at the Rhode Island Korean Festival. Expect food, games, activities, prizes, a spicy-food eating contest, and more. 1-5 p.m. 140 Park Ave. Details here and here.


Blow everyone away at this year’s Memorial Day cookout when you show up with homemade pasta salad. (This? Oh, just my pasta-salad-from-scratch. No biggie.) Head to LineSider Brewing in East Greenwich May 7 to learn how to make pasta in different shapes and colors with Newport Pasta. Includes a free drink and portion of pasta. 12:30-2 p.m. $26. 1485 South County Trail. Details here.


You’ve heard of battle of the bands. Now get ready for battle of the brushes. Pawtucket hosts an Art Battle May 7 at Atrium on Main. Painters go head-to-head in three rounds of art. The judge? You. From $15. 5-9 p.m. 285 Main St. Details here.



Rock legend Van Morrison was scheduled to play two nights in Providence this week. Those performances have been rescheduled for September. Tickets for May 11 will be valid for Sept. 24; tickets for May 12 will be valid for Sept. 22. Refunds through June 1 at original point of purchase. For information, contact PPAC. Touring now on his latest album, “Moving On Skiffle,” the Belfast native, 77, will play PPAC for the first time since 2007 with his daughter, Shana Morrison. From $65. 220 Weybosset St. Details here.


The Ocean Race events get going in Newport next week, so stay tuned for details. But keep your eyes peeled: boats arrive from Itajaí, Brazil, starting May 10. You can track boats on their website. Details here and here.


Again, we’re getting into next week’s column territory here, but Misquamicut’s weekend-long SpringFest kicks off May 12 at Misquamicut State Beach with music, rides, food trucks, a martial arts demo, and more 5-11 p.m. Tickets $12 per day, kids under 7 free. Details and directions here.

Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin.’

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