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Best things to do in Rhode Island: Jan. 26-Feb. 2

This week: Monster Jam rolls into Providence, live music and lights, wine and whiskey, and more!

The Lumina Light Festival in downtown Providence continues through Feb. 20.Chris Anderson (cdamedia.us)

My friends, just when the weather is bleakest, I’ve gathered a bouquet of wild events for you. I’m talking “Arrested Development” trivia with Bluth-themed cocktails, painting for dogs, painting for humans, and karaoke. Plus 700-pound prisms, fire, giant trucks and so much more. Let’s ride.


Yes, chef.

One of the best things to do in Rhody this week might be to dine out: the Ocean State cleaned up at the 2024 James Beard Awards nominations announced this week. Best Chef Northeast Nominees include: Dolores’s Maria Meza, Jahunger’s Subat Dilmurat in PVD. Foglia’s Peter Carvelli in Bristol; Newport Vineyards’ Andy Teixeira in Middletown; Yagi Noodles’ Basil Yu in Newport. Meanwhile, Warren’s Bywater is nominated for Outstanding Restaurant. Sky Haneul Kim, of PVD’s Gift Horse, is nominated for Emerging Chef. Tuxpan Taqueria in Central Falls is nominated for Best New Restaurant. Plus Newport’s Giusto is nominated for Best Hospitality, and Courtland Club in Providence for Outstanding Bar. Eat your way through the best of R.I. Finalists are announced April 3. Learn more here and here.



Keep your eyes peeled in downtown PVD for the Lumina light festival — a free public art and light installation consisting of 25 prisms, each about 6.5-feet and 700 pounds, according to a Globe RI story. The prisms “emit iridescent colors while sounds of soft bell tones ring out,” according to the story. See them in downtown Providence from BankNewport City Center to the 195 District Park via Dorrance Street through Feb. 20.

There are also cool events tied in. According to the website: On Jan. 26, head to District Park for a Guild Beer Beer Garden and food trucks from 4-8 p.m. Try a mobile sauna from 4-10 p.m., reservable for private groups, hear stories, and make your own art. On Jan. 27, find free skating at BankNewport City Center, Big Nazo around various locations, a beer garden and food trucks at 195 District park from 2-8 p.m., face-painting, live music, and, from 4:45-7:45 p.m., circus fun and fire show. PVD is lit. All details here.



…to sing “Get Ready,” “My Girl,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” “Just My Imagination” and more, as “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” runs now through Jan. 28. Nominated for 12 Tony Awards, the musical follows The Temptations “journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” in a “story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal, as the group’s personal and political conflicts threatened to tear them apart during a decade of civil unrest in America.” Tickets from $45. 220 Weybosset St., Providence. Details here.


Rhode Island Music Hall of Famer Greg Abate brings his jazz to Bristol’s Linden Place mansion Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. The saxophonist/flutist/composer is a 1971 Berklee College of Music alum who went on to play with Ray Charles Orchestra and the Artie Shaw Orchestra, and “ventured out as post hard bop soloist,” according to his website. At Linden Place, Abate will be joined by bassist Paul Del Nero, drummer Gary Johnson and pianist Matt DeChamplain, according to billing. $25. Reservations encouraged. 500 Hope St., Bristol. Learn more here.



Unleash your inner artist with an art class at AS220. This week, find classes in origami-inspired jewelry Jan. 27 at 5 p.m. ($90) and clamshell box book-binding Jan. 28 from noon-4 p.m. ($75) and more. At AS220 Community Studios, Lucie Way, Providence. Full schedule here.


It’s freezing out, but get snug painting a mug at Smug. You might even paint a bug on a rug. (OK, stopping now.) Jan. 27, 5-8 p.m. $25 per mug, materials provided; beer sold separately. At Smug Brewery, 100 Carver St., Pawtucket. Details here.


If you’re bummed that the Rhode Island Brew Fest is sold out, fear not: the whiskey and wine still flow.

White Dog Distilling offers a Distillery Tasting Tour Jan. 27, 1:30-2:30 p.m. According to the billing, you’ll taste 3.5-ounce pours from the current line of spirits, plus one additional tour-exclusive spirit or cocktail sample. $18. 560 Mineral Spring Ave., Pawtucket. Details here.

Meanwhile, West Greenwich’s Leyden Farm Vineyard & Winery invites guests to taste five wines and learn about each. Post-tasting, you might purchase a glass or bottle and stroll the vineyard, according to event billing — and keep the tasting glass. Ongoing, closed Wednesdays. Tasting for two $12. Tasting for four $22. 160 Plain Meeting House Road. Details here.


The music never stopped, baby. Rock out to free Dead tunes as Rhody’s Violin River brings the grateful vibes to PVD’s Askew Jan. 28. 1-4 p.m. Free. 150 Chestnut St. Details here.



Ever looked at a painting in a museum and thought: my dog could do that? Well, now is little Vincent Van Dog’s chance to prove himself. This sounds crazy cool. Bring your furry best friend to NYLO in Warwick Jan. 29 as Inebri-art presents “Lick Paintings’' for dog artists. According to billing, the event “celebrates the creativity” of canines. Find “all the necessary supplies for dogs to create their own masterpieces using non-toxic, pet-friendly paints. Watch in awe as our canine artists use their tongues to create colorful and abstract paintings that are truly one-of-a-kind.” If you go, tag me in a post of your dog’s painting so I can share with readers. Let’s go, Rhody Paw-casos. 6-8 p.m. $20. 400 Knight St., Warwick. Details here.


Take some Rhode Islanders, some beer, some “Arrested Development” trivia and baby, you got a stew going. I’ll scoot my Gob scooter to the Providence Brewing Company on Feb. 1 for trivia, themed cocktails and prizes. This is going to be one of the Bluth family’s better parties. 6 p.m., trivia at 6:30 p.m. General admission: $5, team admission (up to four members): $35. 10 Sims Ave., #Unit 110, Providence. Details here.


Who’s going to pull a Connor Roy and sing Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat”? Show your neighbors what you got — hopefully something more upbeat — at Pump House Music Works’ Karaoke Night Feb. 1 from 6-11 p.m. 1464 Kingstown Road, Wakefield. Details here.



It’s already time, music fans. Tickets for the 2024 Newport Folk Fest go on sale Feb. 1. There’s no lineup posted yet, but you had us at Newport Folk. The iconic folk fest is iconic for a reason, from Joni Mitchell’s return to Muppet cameos, you never know what you’re gonna get. Details here. I’ll have much more on the fest as we inch closer to summer. Stay tuned.


Monster Jam fans, rev your engines: the juggernaut hits the Amica Mutual Pavilion Feb. 2-4. Among this year’s contestants is “the first female series champion, Krysten Anderson, who will be driving in the legendary Grave Digger,” according to billing. Ticket from $15. One LaSalle Square, Providence. Learn more here.


Baby it’s cold outside. That means…

ICE BUMPER CARS AND SKATING: A winter Rhody tradition: Grab your crew, and head to PVD’s BankNewport City Center rink. Bumper cars, from $13 per ride per person. Skating $9; seniors and kids 12 and under, $6. Skate rental $8.41. Check online for weather notifications, register online. 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence. Details here.

ZOO CREW: Beat the winter blues by hanging with the crew at the zoo. Roger Williams Park Zoo offers half-off admission now through Feb. 28. You can’t not smile when hanging with Keweng the tree kangaroo, or mom-and-son sloths Fiona and lil’ Jeffrey. I mean… c’mon. PSA: Providence residents score free admission to the zoo the first Saturday of each month. (If you have a Rhody library card, you might also be eligible for a discount.) Discount applied at checkout. 1000 Elmwood Ave. See here for all details.

HORSING AROUND: Liberty Farm & Carriage Company in Burrillville is a working farm that offers private horse carriage (or sleigh rides) year-round. As you might imagine, this is their busy season. As of this writing, they still have various private ride time slots available this week, according to their website. Prices vary. 60 Ironmine Road, Burrillville. Details, video and live schedule here.

Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin’.

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