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Best things to do in Rhode Island this week: Aug. 18-25

This week: Portuguese music and food, 20th Open Studios Tour, mimosa fest, comedy featuring llana Glazer, and more

The Aug. 19 WaterFire in Providence, R.I., will celebrate Clear Currents, a community paddling event that features illuminated Japanese koi fish mounted on kayaks.Erin Cuddigan

Welp, I’m stunned to say it, but this our last full column of August, Rhody. Next week’s column will take us to September. Why doesn’t winter go by this fast? But fear not! I have here cool happenings and ideas for classic Rhody summer fun. Let’s soak it up while we can.


It’s all the classic summer country fair vibes at once at the annual Washington County Fair now through Aug. 20, with an overwhelming schedule of events in Richmond. A few highlights: live music, antique car show, 4-H sheep showmanship, egg toss, tractor pull, pony pull, oxen pull, line-dancing, swine show, corn hole tournament (I’m in), animal costume parade (interest piqued), cow chip bingo (IYKYK), senior pie-eating contest (go, grandma, go) 43rd annual tug-of-war (let’s do this), plus food vendors from burgers to seafood to strawberry shortcake and rides, including what’s billed as “the largest traveling roller coaster in New England.” Adults $11, kids 10 and under free. 78 Richmond Townhouse Road, Route 112, Richmond. Details here.



Rhody’s Comedy Connection hosts Nimesh Patel, an Emmy-nominated writer and one-time SNL writer who’s opened for Chris Rock and Aziz Ansari. For a sense, check his “Tonight Show” set. He brings his comedic chops to East Providence Aug. 18 and 19, two sets per night. $30. Details here.


Here in Rhode Island, Portuguese culture is part of our fabric. Linden Place Mansion invites you to “celebrate and honor Rhode Island’s Portuguese Culture and Tradition with this night of traditional Portuguese music, food and drink” Aug. 18. Expect live fado — with Sandy Batista and Jose Azeverito — plus Portuguese-inspired food and wines. $65. 6-7 p.m. 500 Hope St., Bristol. Details here.



Lovecraft fans, scare yourself silly: the 4th Biennial HP Lovecraft Film Fest runs Aug. 18-20 at PVD’s Columbus Theatre. The fest screens “short and feature films with a Cosmic Horror flavor or inspired by/adapted from the works of H. P. Lovecraft, his contemporaries, and literary horror forebears,” according to billing. Expect three days of films, author readings and special events. From $20. 270 Broadway. Details here and here.


You watch new releases in an indoor theater all winter long — don’t let the summer end without some retro-flick-fun at the drive-in. The Misquamicut Drive-In hosts a week of ‘80s blockbusters, with “E.T.” Aug. 18; Dan Aykroyd and John Candy in “The Great Outdoors” Aug. 19; John Cusack and Demi Moore in “One Crazy Summer” Aug. 23; “Dirty Dancing” Aug. 24 and “Goonies” Aug. 25. Just add Milk Duds. $25 per carload. Lot opens 6:30; previews 8 p.m., movie 9. p.m. 316 Atlantic Ave., Westerly. Details here.


Rhody’s got one more folk fest — well, “folks fest”— this summer: The 7th Annual Warren Folks Fest is a free daylong fest Aug. 19 packed with music, food, drinks, arts and wares. Don’t miss Rhody’s own blues-belter Julie Rhodes, along with Atticus Allen & Co, Z-Boys, Tish Adams, Ben Shaw and more. Bring your appetite (and thirst) for Rhody staples Haven Brothers, Del’s, Narragansett brews, Chomp Kitchen & Drinks and Chelsea’s Creamery, and more fare, according to billing. Plus plenty of artisan wares at this free pup-friendly fest. 1-7 p.m. 30 Cutler St., Warren. Details here.



You’ve heard of fests for beer and wine fans — now, a fest for mimosa fans. Yup, if you love Champagne and citrus, head to Fish Co. Aug. 19 for Mimosa Fest. Think mimosas “from classic to passion fruit all the way to juice mango,” according to billing, plus fare, and DJ spinning tunes. $30. Noon-5 p.m. 21+. 15 Bridge St., Providence. Details here.


O! Great river of fire! This mighty tradition dates back to our cave days, when Rhode Islanders drank coffee milk by the pyres offering praise to that Great Clam Cake in the Sky… Or something like that. I won’t insult your Rhode Islandness by describing the whole event — but a few highlights:

In celebration of Clear Currents — a community paddling event celebrating improved water quality in Rhode Island — the Aug. 19 fest features some 65 illuminated Japanese koi fish temporarily mounted on kayaks.

Book a “Behind-the-Scenes WaterFire Walking Tour” that day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ($25)

See the Starry, Starry Night installation.

Catch fire-spinning performances by Cirque de Light.

6:30 p.m.-midnight. Lighting at 7:40 p.m. Free. Details here.


Cheaper than a trip to Disney, the luxe Ocean House in Watch Hill offers a character breakfast with the stars of Disney’s “Tangled” and “Encanto.” Meet Rapunzel while digging into Mickey Mouse pancakes, toast sticks, Winnie the Pooh’s “hunny” ham, build-your-own waffles and more. (Plus mimosas for the grownups.) $95 adults, $50 for ages 6-12, kids 5 and under $25. Aug. 19. 9 a.m. to noon. 1 Bluff Ave., Westerly. Details here.



Each summer, Little Compton and Tiverton come alive with those blue signs announcing which of your neighbors are artists in the South Coast Artists Open Studios Tour. The 20th annual tour runs Aug. 19-20. Explore some 75 exhibiting artists in Tiverton, Little Compton, Westport, Mass., and Dartmouth, Mass. Whether you’re interested in oil paintings, metal sculpture, pottery, fiber arts, jewelry, bronze work, glass-blowing, photography, porcelain work, charcoal artwork (…I’ll stop there) you might be stunned at the talent hidden in these quiet coastal towns. Details and map here, learn about artists here.


Don’t let a Rhody summer end without a classic Ocean State lawbstah boil. You might splurge on the picturesque Weekapaug Inn’s lobster boil on the guest lawn Aug. 20. Expect local lobster “steamed over a wood fire,” and, according to the sample menu: shrimp cocktail, watermelon cucumber salads, chowder, lobster deviled eggs, duckfat cornbread, corn on the cob with Vermont butter, mac & cheese with gruyere, smoked chicken, baked cod, and more. For dessert? Perhaps Del’s pink lemonade cake pops, blueberry tartlets, S’mores by the fire pit. Ticket includes buffet, house beer, wine, and soft drinks. $135 adults. $38 kids 6-12; kids 5 and under free. 6-8 p.m. 25 Spray Rock Road, Westerly. Details here.



Kids can get up close and personal with kids (that’s young humans and young goats) at Simmons Organic Farm’s “Interactive Petting Zoo and Kid Corral” Aug. 19 noon to 4 p.m. $10. 1942 West Main Road, Middletown. Details here.


If you need to zen out, how does yoga in a bird sanctuary sound? (I’m already in corpse pose.) Norman Bird Sanctuary hosts gentle yoga and meditation Aug. 19 at 9:30 a.m. Your moments of zen start at 9:30 a.m. BYO mat, sunblock and bug repellent. From $15. 583 3rd Beach Road, Middletown. Details here.


Don’t let summer end without a cruise. Hop aboard a Providence River Boat and soak up a new view of PVD. There are various rides this week, including a WaterFire Boat Ride (um, yes please) Twilight River Cruises, Cocktail Cruises with Rhode Island Spirits Cruise and Vineyard Voyages with Gooseneck Vineyards. Don your cruise-wear. Prices and details here.


Hep cats, beeline to Lippitt House Museum for the second installment of the Jazz in the Garden series when Miss Wensday takes stage Aug. 20. According to her Facebook, Miss Wensday delivers “music from and inspired by the golden age of jazz.” 4-5 p.m. $8 advance, $10 door. Free for kids 12 and under; free for SNAP/EBT card holders. Get a sense of the vibes here by checking out last week’s concert. Details here.

Ilana Glazer attends Netflix's "Survival Of The Thickest" New York Premiere at Metrograph on July 11, 2023 in New York City.Cindy Ord/Getty


Broad City fans, beeline to The Vets Aug. 24: Comedian llana Glazer, co-creator and co-star of the show, brings her stand-up chops to PVD. For a sense, watch her Amazon Prime stand-up special, “The Planet Is Burning.” Also — an official cool badge of honor — her film “False Positive” was produced by A24. Legit. Catch her on Apple TV+’s “The Afterparty” — or in Providence this week. From $27. 1 Avenue of the Arts. Details here.


Summer checklist item: Sipping wine in a vineyard. Leyden Farm Vineyard & Winery hosts a wine tasting at their West Greenwich vineyard. Select five wines and learn about each. The glasses are yours to keep. Post-tasting, you might purchase a bottle to enjoy in the tasting room, on a winterized heated patio, or just stroll the vineyard. Daily, noon to 4 p.m. From $12. 160 Plain Meeting House Road. Details here.

Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin’.

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