Wickford Art Festival -- 07/08/07

Saturday afternoon we headed off to the annual Wickford Art Festival -- 250 artists (painters, photographers, sculptors) line the streets to display their works (generally in those tent-like booths that seem to have become the standard way of exhibiting art at various fairs and festivals).
This is not one of those festivals where anyone who pays an entry fee gets to exhibit -- they strictly limit the festival to 250 artists (who were originally went through a juried selection process and I read in the Providence newspaper that this year there were 350 applicants for approximately 50 openings)

Most of the local stores and businesses participate in some way -- and many local organizations set up booths or tables selling food and drink, etc. The festival brings thousands of people to Wickford.

Wickford was first settled in 1637 and there are a number of buildings in town that date back to the seventeen hundreds. Most of the colonial and 19th century vintage buildings in town have been kept up (or refurbished) and are still in use as homes and businesses. Wickford tries very hard to retain its historic look and feel and fights any attempt to bring in big box stores or shopping malls.

Wickford, by the way, is purported to be the model for the village of Eastwick in John Updike's novel The Witches of Eastwick (which was the source for the movie of the same name).
These three musicians in colonial costume were playing music from the 17th and 18th centuries -- and joking with the crowd that their Yamaha electronic keyboard (which was acting as a harpsichord) was a genuine colonial era electronic keyboard).

Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Wickford is celebrating its 300th Anniversary this year (and on special occasions they still use the communion silver donated to them by Queen Anne in 1710). The picture below is of Wickford's First Baptist Church -- which only dates to 1816 -- and which participates in the festival by serving food (under the white tent in the background on the right and also at open air tables).
Of course there are lots of other food vendors around...
The Providence Journal had a recent glowing restaurant review for a restaurant (Duffy's Tavern) that was not very far from Wickford, so Nancy and I passed up the many food opportunities in town and made our way to give them a try. We failed to realize that many other people also read restaurant reviews and the restaurant was packed and the staff was running themselves ragged trying to keep up with the surge in business. Fortunately the food was every bit as good as the review had claimed (and very reasonably priced too). We enjoyed our meal and plan to eat there again.

Our plan had been to continue on to Westerly (all the way on the other side of the state -- *grin* -- which is not that far considering the diminutive size of Rhode Island) for a concert (including opera) in Wilcox Park followed by RiverGlow (a smaller version of Providence's WaterFire -- WaterFire features more than 100 bonfires on the rivers in downtown Providence, RiverGlow provides 37 bonfires on the Pawcatuck River in Westerly). However, walking all around Wickford on a summer afternoon followed by a substantial meal left us feeling rather tired so we decided to stop at home and relax with a cup of coffee and decide if we really wanted to add more activity to our day when we needed to get up early on Sunday morning to travel into New York City (to see Adam & Leah & grandson Sam). Spending a restful evening at home easily won.

Thus, this very early in the morning posting because we are headed for New York. (Yes, the next entry will likely contain some pictures of Sam -- who is getting very near his 4th birthday!)

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