PAWTUCKET — Anyone looking to “eat, drink, and be merry” should head to the Slater Mill site in downtown Pawtucket on Friday, Sept. 9, when the 2011 Pawtucket Arts Festival officially gets underway with the opening night Gala. The event, held rain or shine, will run from 6 to 11 p.m.
The main event will be the annual “Taste of Pawtucket,” where, for a $10 entry fee, participants can sample food specialties from over 50 local restaurants, markets and vendors. Beverages are also available for purchase a la carte and include various soft drinks, beer and wine.
According to this year’s Gala chairman, Scott Davis, the event promises to be two hours of “all-you-can eat” enjoyment with booths offering their signature dishes, appetizers and desserts. There will be local favorites, ethnic specialties and even a few culinary surprises.
In addition to the tantalizing array of food, the Gala also offers a backdrop of continuous entertainment from all areas of the arts, including music, dance, fine arts, opera, theater and more. As they work their way through the booths, participants can expect to see vignette performances and demonstrations from well-known names such as Chef Frank Terranova of “Cooking with Class,” Coleen Cavanaugh with The Festival Ballet Providence, Mixed Magic Theater, and street painter Alfonso Acevedo. There will also be lots of activities for kids.
There is also the chance to witness a unique art installation in the making, as world renowned artist Don Gerola creates a giant, colorful fiber weaving that will crisscross the Blackstone River.
Later in the evening, there will be the chance to dance off all of those calories as a large tent on the shores of the Blackstone River hosts several musical performances.
Gala-goers can kick up their heels with the lively Zydeco music of Slippery Sneakers, a band with a huge local fan base.
Next up will be the headline act, the nationally acclaimed Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys. Rosie still sings and writes some of the band’s own material in Creole French and her music has been described as being both “coy and sensual” and “fresh and daring” while retaining its bayou Creole heritage.