With COVID-19 concerns in the rearview mirror, the Broadway Street Fair is expected to return on Oct. 8.
Months of planning is coming to fruition. Working in conjunction with the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce, organizers have established a Broadway Street Fair nonprofit. The Newport County Development Council, the chamber’s 501C3 arm, will be serving as the fiscal agent for the entity.
“We are thrilled to be able to support this important community event, founded and organized by the Broadway merchants,” said Erin Donovan-Boyle, chamber executive director. “We know how impactful this fair has been in past years and we are excited to see it return this year.”
This spring, the chamber submitted an application for a state Placemaking Grant to the Commerce Corporation of RI and recently received word that funding was approved. On Aug. 5, Gov. Dan McKee announced $2.9 million in grants to support the tourism, hospitality and events industries in Rhode Island, with a focus on developing outdoor and public space capital improvements and event programming. The RI Rebounds Placemaking Program is funded through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Among the dozens of communities receiving funding, the chamber’s request included the Aquidneck Growers Market, Broadway Street Fair and Jamestown’s outdoor art biennial exhibition. The total grant awarded is for approximately $88,000, with about $16,000 allocated to the street fair.
This year, the street fair’s activities will extend the length of Broadway, from Equality Park to Farewell Street, but it will not venture into Washington Square. There will be several stages for live music playing from noon until 4 p.m., and David Lopes will again arrange for local bands to perform. The sidewalk chalk art will be set up again for artists and amateurs to create a scene on the street. As with previous street fairs, this year’s event will to continue the tradition of donating a portion of funds raised to local music and arts programs.
Artisans and vendors who have exhibited previously will be given first option to participate this year. Jennifer Sunderland will work to set up vendors, and Amanda Gallagher and Debbie Tungett Bailey will be collaborating on the other myriad details.
To make all this happen, scores of volunteers are needed to help vendors find their spots, direct them where to park, answer questions, provide general hospitality and help the “Green Team” and Clean Ocean Access fulfill the city requirements for clean, green events. Volunteers can sign up for two hours or more and receive a coveted orange street fair t-shirt.
The street fair will be given the official green light once the special event permit is approved at the City Council meeting on Aug. 24.
For more information about volunteering, visit broadwaystreetfair.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. — NTW Staff