Being a Providence local, my favorite time of the year in the Creative Capital is spring. The snow has melted, the rain begins to subside, and the sun peeks its head out from behind the clouds to say, “Hello! Do you remember me? You’ll be hating me in about two months while I make you sweat like crazy in your third-floor apartment, but aren’t I a sight for sore eyes now?”
With New England’s weather constantly in flux, it’s hard to say when spring really begins in Rhode Island, but a good indicator is when the Hope Street Farmer’s Market opens back up, and when the Hope Street Annual Spring Block Party closes down the busy boulevard for six hours of non-stop local food, drink, and fun.
This year, the first day of the Hope Street Farmer’s Market being open coincided with the block party, each taking place on May 21. The Farmer’s Market, which features local vendors from across the state, and Providence and Pawtucket especially, will now happen weekly at Lippitt Park on Hope Street from 9 a.m. to noon. It also takes place at the same time and location as the Providence Artisans Market, which features crafts, art, and more by talented artists from around Rhode Island.
While the farmers market will happen all summer long, the annual spring block party is a one-day event kicking off the start of spring. This year, the big draw was a pair of stages featuring local artists — the Classical High School Jazz band, sweet all-female, electric cello-based group Tiny Diamond, and more — as well as a beer garden featuring a variety of local breweries, including Narragansett and Revival, plus a few local vineyards.
For me, however, the best part of the event was the plethora of puppies – seriously, name a puppy, it was there. Corgi, Saint Bernard, Golden Retriever– you got it.
In addition to these highly advertised draws (and paws), the block party also featured an extensive lineup of local food trucks, including Providence favorites Poco Loco and Noble Knots. There were also local artists booths, several homemade honey stations, and a great selection of options for the kids, including face-painting, a pop-up playground sponsored by the YMCA, and a drum circle that welcomed adults and children of all ages to hit the beat and get the street grooving.
As I stood in line waiting for a giant slice of watermelon on a warm spring day, the person in front of me turned to me and said, “This is why I love Providence. There’s always something going on.” And it’s true. As the season officially turns to spring, my heart warms knowing that this day is only the beginning of a string of months in which community flourishes, boredom is an impossibility, and Providence once again continues to prove to us why it is such a hidden treasure.