Waterfire ablaze on the river. Credit: GoProvidence.com

Rhode Island may be a small state, but it celebrates summer in a huge, family-friendly way.

One of the best known free warm weather events is the annual Waterfire celebration, which runs May 1-October in downtown Providence.

Waterfire consists of 100 bonfires on the three rivers, with music from around the world and a party scene through the city.


Beyond Providence, you can find many ways to celebrate summer for free.

The annual Gaspee Days Arts & Crafts Festival May 25-27th attracts 50,000 people a day to examine the wares of more than 150 craft exhibitors. Pawtuxet Village, Narragansett Parkway, Warwick.

The RI Air Show June 29-30th, featuring the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, world-renowned acrobat pilot Sean D. Tucker and the ANG Flash Fire Jet Truck. There is a suggested donation for parking. Quonset State Airport, Minuteman Way, North Kingstown.

July 4th celebrations include:

Movies on the Beach, July 9th – Aug 20th. Bring a chair and blanket and watch a free family-friendly movie beginning at 8:30pm. Misquamicut Beach.

Newport Kite Festival: See more colors in the sky July 13 &14th at the annual kite festival. Brenton Point State Park.

Blessing of the Fleet: On July 27 see a colorful parade of commercial and recreational vessels. Veteran’s Memorial Park, Port of Galilee, Narragansett.

Riverglow: On Aug 10th see more floating bonfires, this time on the Pawtucket River. There is also live music, fire jugglers, stilt-walkers, life-size puppets and more. Downtown Westerly-Pawcatuck.

East Greenwich Art Festival: on Sept 1. Featuring over 140 contemporary American artisans, festive food, live music, strolling entertainment children’s activities and a community art project. NE Tech Campus.