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Places to Go, People to See

20 Feb

The Illuminated Garden at Ballard Park, Newport

Since I first heard about, then started to feel, the forecasted reprieve from freezing temps, I’ve decided to unwind the scarf I’ve been wearing since November – if only for a few days. And though the rain may come and go, I’m relieved it’ll be a good, mild time to get out there and see what’s happening – because there are actually things going on this week!

Thanks to the public school winter break, both Newport and Providence are ripe with activity, geared toward young and old alike. I’ve never missed the annual Illuminated Garden at Ballard Park in Newport which coincides nicely this year with the city’s 10-day long Winter Festival. Along with events around town, the quarry meadow is set aglow by spectacular twinkling displays. Wear your muck boots, though, you’ll need ’em.

Back up in Providence…the city’s Children’s Film Festival continues packing the week and weekend full of films screened at RISD and the Cable Car Cinema. With events and films geared for both the younger set as well as all ages crowds, PCFF joins Gallery Night Providence tonight offering free admission to the museum and a movie. Then keep your energy up for Friday night as PPAC welcomes Alton Jones, of Food Network fame, downtown with his Edible Inevitable Tour –  tickets are somehow still available?!


Alton Jone’s ‘Edible Inevitable’ Tour at PPAC


The first female Saudi Arabian director of ‘Wadjda,’ screening at PCFF

Doors are open for ongoing installations in galleries at URI, Brown and RISD (Andy Warhol’s photos!), while the lesser known Clouds Hill Victorian House in Warwick finishes ‘100 years of Romance,’ a display of a century’s worth of wedding gowns. You may also want to visit The Hera Gallery in Wakefield which highlights the area’s younger artists with it’s 26th Annual Children’s Exhibition, also ending in the next few days.

So chart your course and set your sights around the state this weekend. Because winter isn’t over – it’s just taking a break. And stay with us, we’ll keep you posted on all the local art, food and merriment we can take until Festival time!


‘Hunderthasser City,’ by Fishing Cove Elementary’s Luzuli Cole, hangs at the Hera Gallery in Wakefield


Festive Entertainment at the East Greenwich Art Festival this Weekend!

29 Aug

This weekend at the East Greenwich Art Festival you will find a wide variety of festive entertainment in addition the contemporary American art and crafts! Everything from live music, a photo booth, magician, mime, Irish dancers, hula hoop demonstrations and Rhode Island’s own Big Nazo!

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HoopsAlisha Almeida and Valerie Poirier, the founders of All Things Grow With Love, believe in sharing their passions and creativity in hopes of inspiring others to follow the path of a joyful life. Currently, their main focus is hoop dance, though that is constantly evolving. Whatever the avenue may be, Valerie and Alisha believe that self-expression is the key to unlocking our full potential, and that a life lived from the heart is the only kind worth living.

At the East Greenwich Art Festival, All Things Grow With Love will be selling handmade hoops and ribbon wands, as well as sharing their knowledge and love for dance and self-expression.

Festival Fete is a family friendly, free event so bring the whole family for some festive food, entertainment, creative shopping and Festival Fete’s Creation Station where everyone can get their creative groove on!

See you at the festival!

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Who Doesn’t Love a Little Magic?

25 Aug

Meet the Performer: Eddie Raymond the Magician will be at the East Greenwich Art Festival

If you’ve been to a Festival Fete show, then you may have had the pleasure of meeting our resident magician, Eddie Raymond. When I first met him at the East Greenwich Art Festival last year, I figured he was going to simply entertain my kids with some cool tricks…but in a matter of minutes he had me amazed and cracking up.


Eddie Raymond, the Magician will once again be at the East Greenwich Art Festival this labor day weekend, 8/31 and 9/1. He will be strolling from 12-3 pm on Saturday. Eddie has a really interesting life story, and we are lucky enough to share his story with you today.

ff_060813_0371Tell us a little about how you began your career in magic.

I have been performing magic full time for 23 years. In 1988 I was attending a church in Chicago where I was asked to help with vacation Bible school. I had to work with a dozen kids for 3 days. After the first day I was so nervous I called a magic shop and told them I had $100, I need something colorful and easy to help illustrate Bible lessons. Prior to that, I never really cared for magic. The kids got so excited about the magic tricks, and it did something for me. I started buying gadgets and prop magic, then I decided to practice sleight of hand. I got pretty good fast, won a local contest sponsored by Nabisco and got a contract to work for them for 3 months. People started calling with no advertising or marketing. In just two years time from picking up my first magic trick I quit my job as a baker and jumped in. The business kind of built itself and here I am 23 years later. I have performed in every imaginable venue from kids birthdays to corporate settings, TV campaigns, weddings, Bat/Bar Mitzvahs and many, many others.

ff_060813_0340I understand that you have a pretty big family that keeps you busy and you decided to home school?

I have 7 incredible children. My wife home schooled 6 of them through 8th grade. We started home schooling inspired by friends who shared their experiences with us. Coupled with my working some nights and weekends with my new performing career, it seemed to be the right way to go. I’m extremely happy we chose that route as we have acquired quality family time memories that I will cherish forever. Our family’s faith in God has been the center of our lives. That’s what really keeps it all together.

What do your kids think of your job?

My kids all love what I do, but none of them chose to follow in my footsteps. Maybe that’s a good thing. All of my kids friends love me and think I’m pretty cool.

ff_060813_0338We love having you perform at a Festival Fete show. Can you tell us about your experiences at the festival?

Festival Fete is a very fun place for me to do my thing. I enjoy close up magic because it creates more intimate experiences with my audience. I feel I can entertain a 5 year old, a teenager and a professional person all at the same time. Festival Fete lends itself very well to my strolling comedy and magic.

What are some of the other events you do? And how can our readers contact you if they are interested?

I am literally available for hire at any event. I do back yard cook outs, graduations, weddings, kids parties, adult parties, anniversaries, school assembly or class room shows, I perform weekly at a Pediatric  dentist office in Lexington , grand openings, promotions, fund raisers, there isn’t a venue I can’t add some fun to. My web site is Phone is 978 895 1309.

If you’re planning to come to the East Greenwich Art Festival on Saturday, August 31st, don’t miss your chance to say hello to Eddie Raymond, The Magician!

East Greenwich Art Festival

Many thanks to our sponsor:


Who should you have at your next party? Smashing Photo!

3 May

When you come to the Garden City Art Festival on June 8th and 9th, please make sure that you stop by and say hello to Vicki and her peeps at Smashing Photo Booth.

Festival guests enjoying the Smashing Photo booth

Festival guests enjoying the Smashing Photo booth

Not only have they have been participating in all of Festival Fete‘s events bringing their kooky hats and glasses and inviting people to step into the booth for lots of laughs and a great picture, but they have been donating their proceeds directly to Art is Smart!

Smashing Photo supports Art is Smart!

Smashing Photo supports Art is Smart!

Vicki setting up at Festival Fete's Holiday Market in Garden City 2012

Vicki setting up at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market in Garden City 2012

Smashing Photo & Video Booth is perfect for all events because they love to celebrate!  They believe in high quality images, video and service.  Each photo is of the highest quality because they use only professional grade equipment.  Owner, Vicki Comfort is a photographer and has extensive knowledge of the equipment and lighting to make sure each photo has the quality you’re looking for.

smashingphoto1 Your guests will love taking photos, creating your guest book and recording video with Vicki’s outgoing and energetic team there to assist.

Some of the props you get to choose from!

Some of the props you get to choose from!

Smashing Photo have an incredibly busy schedule and they consistently donate their time and talent to the community. Yesterday they donated four hours to a student who was hosting a fundraising event at Bryant University. When I asked Vicki what they have scheduled for this coming weekend, here is what she has on the docket…

Middle school outing at Mulligan’s golf course
Mount Hope JR class Prom
Weddings both Saturday and Sunday
Social Dance in Gloucester
On Sunday we will be donating our time and services to the Towers for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (which is an event open to the public at the Towers in Narragansett)

A sample of your photo print out

A sample of your photo print out

Festival Fete would like to extend a big huge THANK YOU to Smashing Photo & Video Booth for their tremendous support of Art is Smart! So come by and see them at the festival!

Garden City Art Festival 2013

Garden City Art Festival 2013


It’s a Wonderful Life! Said the festival goers…

28 Nov

This is the holiday shopping experience we dream of…cheerful faces, creative eye candy everywhere you look, holiday songs and food…folks of all ages being entertained (while inside your head you’re debating whether to buy that really cool item that would look so great in your window but really you should be buying presents for your family…)  Yes, it’s truly happening this weekend at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market in Garden City Center.

There’s so much fun to be had at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market – this weekend – Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 5pm. So join us in the merriment!

Many thanks to one of our sponsors, Smashing Booth! Be sure to visit their photo booth at the festival near the Children’s Area.

Pow!Science! at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market

20 Nov

Pow!Science! was a HUGE hit at Festival Fete’s last event – the East Greenwich Art Festival, and we are so happy that they will be entertaining guests (of all ages) at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market!

My 8-year-old son was so enchanted with the race track he wanted to stay there all day. In fact, as soon as we got home he immediately began to set up his own version of a race track layout with his Hot Wheels tracks and cars. I love to see toys that are build-able, creative and stand the test of time (I remember my brother playing with these in the 1970’s). In fact, I’m sure that the reason that toys like Lego’s and Hot Wheels tracks have remained popular for decades is that they are adaptable to kids of all ages and there is no limit to how many creative ways you can play with them. When you see the guys from Pow!Science! in their race track at Festival Fete, you will certainly see their enthusiasm for this classic toy!

We’re very excited to participate at Garden City: we’ll be once again presenting our incredible Hot Wheels & Blu-Track layout–a 10×10 foot interactive race track for kids to play with. We’ll be there with 50+ feet of track that will keep kids happy & busy. Adults generally find it pretty compelling as well. – Eric B. Pow!Science!

As you may  know, Pow!Science! is so much more than an educational store; they offer classes for home-schoolers, scouts, libraries and at schools in the classroom or as part of an assembly or after school program. They will host completely fun and interactive birthday parties (I thoroughly enjoyed the volcano building and Mentos + soda explosion at the last party my son attended there).
In addition to all of those fun options, the biggest in-store event of the Fall at Pow!Science! has been their Lego Club, which is a free event held weekly at both locations. It’s a ‘drop in’ event, come when you want, stay as long as you want, and build. The Pow!Science! Lego Club meets in the Activity Room on Tuesdays in Providence and Thursdays in Wakefield from 4:30 to 6pm. Visit the Pow!Science! website for more information.

Pow!Science! brought 4000 blocks to my son’s Cub Scout meeting last night for some competitive tower building for 60 kids. Wow!

We love having them at our events, and are so happy that they will be at the Holiday Market on December 1st and 2nd in Garden City.  Pow!Science! is a real gem and a gift to Rhode Island – Jennifer Neuguth.

Setting up and getting ready for the frenzy of building boys!

Time’s running out to enter the drawing! Click on this image to sign up.

Many thanks to our sponsor and wonderful hosts for Festival Fete’s Holiday Market, Garden City Center !

WARNING: Riotous entertainment ahead!

9 Nov

Have you heard? Ladies of the Rolling Pin will be in the house! This totally unique Morris dancing group is prepared to entertain you while  you shop at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market on December 1st and 2nd at Garden City Center, Cranston.

Ladies of the Rolling Pin are an effervescent and truly unique blend of Border Morris from Olde England interspersed with a generous helping of Yankee Ingenuity, all cooked up in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

Morris dancing is England’s national dance – and is known to have existed since the late 1400s – while Border Morris dancing emanates from the border between England and Wales (and specifically from the rural counties of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire).  Morris dancing is synonymous with festive merriment and revelry, and was performed both the in streets and even provided entertainment in the royal court of Henry VIII – although until the 20th century was a male-only activity!

Rosemary Stitt shared this information with me about her lively troupe:

The Ladies of the Rolling Pin have been simmering our delectable and unique blend of Morris Dancing since 1998 and have a well-deserved reputation of being flour-dusted tarts.  Some of our dancers are also our founding members but we’re also very fortunate to have a loyal band of very talented (and also tolerant) musicians, without whom, we would be nothing!

We’ve performed in England (two tours to date) as well as far and wide across New England, both at ales and at various local fairs, festivals, farmers’ markets and community events.  We love sifting our flour and spreading frivolity and smiles whatever the excuse to kick up our heals and raise our rolling pins!  As one of our favorite mantras goes “We’re out of the kitchen because the kitchen is closed”!!

Click on the image below to see a video of the Ladies of the Rolling Pin in action, then come to Festival Fete’s Holiday Market in Garden City to see them live! They will be performing on Saturday, December 1st starting at 11:00 am.

Not quite as “riotous” but definitely entertaining,  the wonderfully talented Rhode Island Children’s Chorus will be performing on Saturday from 1:00 – 2:00. The Rhode Island Children’s Chorus is an incorporated, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which was founded in 2003 by Christine Noel, its Artistic Director and Joyce Wolfe, Executive Director.  From its beginnings with 14 singers, the chorus has grown to over 200 current members and is composed of six choirs.

The Children’s Chorus hosts two major concerts a year, where all groups perform both separately and jointly.  In addition, the combined group appears at many local and regional invitational events – and we are honored to have them at Festival Fete’s Holiday Market!

RI Children’s Chorus

On Sunday, December 2nd, we will have the Cranston Cello Choir performing from 11:00 – 12:00, and then at 2:30 the Irish Dancers, Tir Na Nog will perform. Tir Na Nog Irish Dancers are based out of Blackstone River Theatre, in Cumberland, R.I. Under the direction of Erika Damiani, all the dancers learn traditional Irish and modern-day choreography, solo and group steps, and ceili dances. Dancers range in age from 7 to adult and perform at festivals, parades and private and public events. If you are interested in lessons, or having them perform, please contact Blackstone River Theatre at 401-725-9272 or email We hope you enjoy their performance!

The Holiday Market will be open from 10-5 daily on December 1st and 2nd, and there is a $3 suggested donation to support Art is Smart. There will be plenty of additional entertainment for the whole family as you shop together and get into the merry spirit of the holidays!

Many thanks to our sponsors!

Wachusett Mountain, celebrates winter fun for families with skiing, snowboarding and various other activities on their many trails and facilities.