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Best things to do in Rhode Island this week: Oct. 20-27

This week: Scary and seasonal fun, an oyster fest, Colin Quinn, the annual Witches Paddle, and more.

Taylor Swift attends "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" Concert Movie World Premiere on Oct. 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, Calif.Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

This week in Rhody news: Westerly Woman Takes Over World. Yup, it’s hard to find a story that doesn’t mention Taylor Swift these days. Yet I think I managed… [paper handed across desk] Nope. Never mind. She’s in this column, too. (Hey, it’s Taylor’s state, we’re just living in it.) Plus Pete Davidson, John Mulaney, Colin Quinn, paddleboarding witches, guitars, Portuguese food and more. Let’s ride.


File this one under: Local woman gets hometown movie screening. Eras attire and friendship bracelets “are strongly encouraged” at Westerly’s United Theater for “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” on the big screen running Oct. 19 through Nov. 5…. 5 Canal St., Westerly. Details and prices here.


You can also catch Taylor on the big screen at Providence Place Mall, and PVD’s Avon Cinema.


Guitar aficionados, rejoice: the 2023 URI Guitar Fest brings guitarists from around the world to Rhody now through Oct. 22. According to event billing, the fest, now in “its eighth edition… provides audiences and guitar students from the community the opportunity to hear and learn from world-class artists.” Various concerts and events take place in venues including the URI Fine Arts Center, Pump House Music Works, St. Augustine Church, and The Music Mansion. Concert tickets from $15. Active participation/Auditor/Day Passes from $45. Details here.


We’ve got two SNL alumni this week in Rhody. While Pete Davidson gigs in PVD (more on that below), SNL alum Colin Quinn brings his stand-up tour “Small Talk” to the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich Oct. 20. Doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. Tickets from $40. 59 Main St. Details here.


Hockey fans, get in the spooky spirit: It’s a “Halloween Spooktacular” at the AMP for the The Providence Bruins game versus Hershey Bars, I mean Hershey Bears (the perfect team for a Halloween-themed game, amiright?) Oct. 20 and 21. Wear your costume. Kids can trick-or-treat, plus find costume contests, prizes, a “Spooky Halloween Game Theme,” characters, mascots and more. Tickets from $15. Details here.



Speaking of chocolate bars… it’s s’mores season, baby. Blithewold Mansion Gardens & Arboretum provides the fire pits, chairs, s’mores kits and mansion garden views — just grab your crew and come ready to get deliciously messy. S’mores season at the mansion kicks off Oct. 21, and you’ll find more dates through Nov. 19. 1-2 p.m. or 2:30-3:30 p.m. $55 for up to six people. Details here.


Shucking love oysters? Beeline to the 9th Annual Ocean State Oyster Fest, offering up the bounty of some 15 Rhody oyster farms, plus beer, wine, gin garden, food trucks and live music by the boardwalk along the Providence River at the 9th Annual Ocean State Oyster Festival Oct. 21. $10 advance, $15 day-of. 1-7 p.m. Kids under 12 free. River Walk Park, Providence. Details here.

Festival organizers announced Oct. 20 that the event has been postponed because of a predicted storm, and are looking to reschedule the festival at an indoor location on either Nov. 4 or 11th.


Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol hosts “A Coggeshall Halloween” Oct. 21 and 22. The farm will be decked for the season, kids can trick-or-treat at stations, “carve a spooky apple head, try some of our kid’s games, and go on a night hike” tour the field of jack-o-lanterns and vote for your fave. $20 adult, $15 youth (4-17), kids under 4 free. 4-7 p.m. 1 Colt Drive. Details here.



Every time I visit Wickford, we go stand-up paddleboarding. I associate the activity with the village. Go out on the water, and see dozens of others paddleboarding and kayaking. So I love that in classic Wickford fashion, there is an annual October “Witches Paddle.” (If you live there or have ever visited, you know how ubiquitous paddling is in the seaside village. It should be on their Village seal.) The 3rd Annual Witches Paddle, Oct. 22 is open to all, according to the event page. ($10 registration.) Kayaks, paddleboards, and pedal kayaks are welcome. There will be costume contests — best witch, best warlock, best dressed pet. Arrive between 10 and 11:15 a.m. to take part in the contest. Paddle is from noon-2 p.m. Details here and here.

Stick around: the 2023 Witches Dance Parade steps off at 2 p.m. from the Municipal Lot on Brown Street, heads down Route 1A, and ends at the town beach. There will be a group dance at the beach, with entertainment and food trucks. Details here.


Portuguese food lovers, rejoice: Feira de Gastronomia e Folclore at the Portuguese Social Club in Pawtucket Oct. 22 boasts Portuguese cuisine, “folklore and craftsmanship,” a homemade wine contest, cooking demonstrations and more, according to event billing. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $30. At the 174 Portuguese Social Club Way, Pawtucket. Details here.



Deadheads, rejoice: Melvin Seals, who played with Jerry Garcia in the Jerry Garcia Band for 18 years, brings the grooves and the JGB to The Met in Pawtucket Oct. 24. $37.50 advance, $40 door. 1005 Main St. Details here. Learn more about the artists here.


PPAC gets spooky with “Stage Fright: a Free Wonders of the Wurlitzer Halloween Event” Oct 25. The family-friendly fun kicks off at 5:30 p.m. when costumed kids are invited for a parade, trick-or-treating, and a showing of the 1921 silent short film “The Haunted House.” At 7 p.m., experience the 1925 silent classic “The Phantom of The Opera,” starring Lon Chaney. Movies are accompanied by PPAC’s Wurlitzer.

Um… What’s a Wurlitzer? Good question. “PPAC’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” was built in 1927 and has five keyboards, 21 ranks, and percussion that can produce many orchestral sounds, as well as sound effects that can be utilized when accompanying silent films, according to PPAC. You can also find free pre-recorded Wurlitzer concerts performed by Peter Krasinski online — including his “Phantom of the Opera” performance so you can enjoy those Wurly vibes at home.


‘Tis the season to scare the #$%* out of yourself. And we’ve got options in Rhody:

Scary Acres RI is open for the Haunted Season. “The Dark Harvest hayride” takes you through Haunted Town, according to billing. Then “brave the haunted burial grounds cornfield. Lastly, try to survive the curse of the bayou… Will you survive?” 2150 Scituate Ave., Cranston. Prices and hours vary. Details here.


BYOB on the Providence River Boat Company’s “Haunted Boat Ride.” According to the billing: “Surrounded by the moonlit bridges, cobblestone walkways and century-old architecture of downtown Providence, you will hear stories of our capital city’s dearly-deceased-but-not-so-departed residents; local literary giants and humble servants alike; their restless souls still stirring among the living.” Climb aboard… if you dare. Adults $35, kids 10-17 $33. Details here.

Providence Ghost Tours invites you to “enjoy the spooky side of history” in PVD. While Ghost Tours of Newport does the same for the gilded City by the Sea.

Find more spooky spots here.


Ten short films. Four continents. Two hours. The Climate Future Film Festival, with honorary judge Bill McKibben, plays at the Jamestown Arts Center Oct. 26 and 27. The festival not only highlights works from places like Australia, Iran, Germany, and the Philippines, but also features a mix of documentaries, comedies, and animated films. 7 p.m. $10 adults. Students and seniors $8. 18 Valley St. Details here.


Beep beep beep! Cool show, limited tix alert! Right after opening the SNL season, Pete Davidson (he’s just Pete) is headed to PVD with buddy John Mulaney. If you don’t live under a rock, these two need zero introduction. As of this writing, there are tickets left for the 10 p.m. show Oct. 27. Hop on it. From $46. Details here.


It’s not just a Disney movie — Rhody kids can trick or treat at The Breakers Oct. 27. Don costumes to “enjoy Halloween decorations in 10 rooms, including the great hall, dining room, billiard room, morning room and library. Toys and treats will be handed out at six stations” plus a photo station. Choose one of two entry times, 5:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. $10 per person. Kids under 2 are free. Details here.


I rounded up more fall ideas around New England for you here, but for Rhode Islanders in particular, try these picks:

Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo. This year’s theme: Pumpkins Around The World. Note that on Oct. 10 and 11, kids can meet costumed characters before hopping on the pumpkin trail. Nightly 6-10:30 p.m. Online purchase only. Mon.-Thurs. $18 adult, $15 child. Fri- Sun.: $21 adult, $18 child. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence. 401-785-3510. Details here.

Fall means apple picking and cider donuts, and Rhody’s orchards are ripe with both. From Greenville to Little Compton to Cumberland, pick a peck of Fujis, Honeygolds and Empires — and grab donuts for the road — with our guide here. Then, of course, post a pic of apple-picking on Insta — I think that’s in the apple-picking rulebook. Don’t forget to check @Ciderdonuteur’s map to see where to snag a cider donut in Rhody. (Which Rhody-made cider doughnut did Boston Globe Today’s Segun Oduolowu say “slaps”? Find out.)

Fall means apple cider drinking and we can do it in luxury: The Chanler at Cliff Walk’s Apple Cider Bar is open weekends through Nov. 19. Sit out in the crisp open air to sip mulled cider crafted from Rose Hill Heirloom apples to refuel after your Cliff Walk. Details here.

It’s Corn! Dare to escape from the 8-acre corn maze at Escobar Farm in Portsmouth, then treat yourself. Concessions include popcorn, candy, raisins and “butterscotch flavored lollipops in the shape of an ear of corn,” according to website. Ages 12 and up $10, kids 4-11 $8; 3 and under free. Friday-Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. GPS: 255 Middle Road, Portsmouth. 401-683-1444. Details and hours here.

Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin’.

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