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The Best in Seafood and Family Fun at the Rhode Island Seafood Festival

Providence’s artistic scene, rich history and great community events make this the ideal location for your next summer escape.


There are many activities and attractions that set Rhode Island’s capital city apart from other vacation destinations. The art scene here is one-of-a-kind, with a high concentration of writers, painters, sculptors, designers, dancers and musicians. The city’s creativity is on display at numerous locations like the RISD Museum, Providence Performing Arts Center and multiple independent art galleries. As a center of commerce and as a major seaport, Providence has been a major player for over 350 years. The storied past of the city can be investigated at the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum, and John Brown House Museum. An easy way to get to know the city and its people is during community festivals and events.


The Rhode Island Seafood Festival has established itself as one of the region's premier seafood celebrations in just six years of existence. Held at India Point Park, you’ll be treated to scenic vistas as well as a collection of the best seafood restaurants Rhode Island has to offer. Check out fun games, live music from talented local bands, and more seafood than you can imagine. Expect an energetic and fun atmosphere with over 10,000 fellow seafood enthusiasts expected in attendance. Not into seafood? There will be plenty of other dining options available as well. On the last day of the festival, there will be the “Seafood Throwdown”. This is where two chefs take the same seafood ingredients and make their own culinary creations, judged by a selected panel. got the chance to interview TJ McNulty, representative for the festival, to talk about this late summer extravaganza.


RAL: How long has the event been running and how many people attend annually?

TJM: This will be the 6th Annual Rhode Island Seafood Festival. Last year the attendance was around 10,000 people, and we continue to grow each year. Saturday is the busier day and Sunday's crowd tends to include more young families.


RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?

TJM: We actually get a large mix of everyone from young adults to families. From parents dropping their kids off at college, to Providence locals who might just want to get outside and enjoy the day.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

TJM: Seafood in Rhode Island might sound generic, but that couldn't be further from reality.  We have a great blend of local music, and a lot of reasonably priced local food; not just seafood. Unlike a lot of festivals, we keep our alcohol cheap: $4 Beer to go along with $5 wine and rum drinks.


RAL: Take me through some of the activities people will find at the event.

TJM: There will be live music performed throughout the day, a bag toss and big jenga set for people to play, and Sunday features a "Seafood Throwdown".  Two chefs will cook their own dishes from the same ingredients and a panel of judges will decide who has the best dish. It will be a lot of fun!


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

TJM: Yes, Australian writer Adrian Crawford is probably our biggest celebrity. Some local politicians usually make appearances as well.


RAL: What can attendees expect for dining options?

TJM: The best in Rhode Island, of course. Every year I'm blown away by our food selection and people telling us how great the food is. The seafood is obviously the big draw and favorites range from lobster and sea scallop rolls to whole lobster and corn.


RAL: What is the environment like?

TJM: The environment is very friendly. It's tough to be anything but happy on a nice day while you’re eating seafood, drinking beers, and listening to live music! It's a great place to hang out with your friends and if your friends aren't around, it’s a great place to make some new ones.


RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

TJM: The city hotels are all booked, and we would like to think it's due in part to the festival.


RAL: Is there maybe one place in particular that guests have been flocking to since the event started?

TJM: The Hilton Garden (formerly the Wyndham) is where a lot of people stay because it’s right across the street from the park.


RAL: What does the event mean to the community?

TJM: It's a great way for people to get together one last time before they have to say goodbye to summer. We've been lucky to hang onto those beautiful summer days into the second week of September.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

TJM: Being that we are mostly local businesses, I would say it greatly impacts local community. It's a reminder that a lot of these businesses are open year-round at their brick and mortar locations.


RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community? (School funds, etc.)

TJM: We work with the Friends Of India Point Park, a non-profit organization that looks after the well being of the park


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

TJM: It's a weekend experience that can make lifelong memories and we think we do a really good job of encouraging people to share their experiences at the festival. We want everyone to take pictures of the food, musicians, beautiful waterfront park, and most importantly the people you're here with, whether it be with your dog, friends, parents, kids, or main squeeze. It's always nice to look back on the weekend and remember the good times. I'm proud to say there's no shortage of great people at the Rhode Island Seafood Festival!

For more information about the Rhode Island Seafood Festival, please visit their website.