PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After taking two years off due to the pandemic, PVDFest is returning to the capital city this weekend.
The free downtown arts festival, which typically attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the city, kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday.
PVDFest was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, though several scaled-back festivities were held in its place.
“So much has changed since we last danced in the streets of downtown,” Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said. “After two very difficult years, this year’s PVDFest is the opportunity we have all been waiting for … Providence is ready to come together and celebrate.”
The downtown arts festival will feature nine stages and five outdoor bars, according to the city. There will also be more than 200 artists and over 30 different food vendors.
“Our framing of this year’s festival is ‘return to form,'” City spokesperson Tim Rondeau said. “The last couple of years we’ve seen scaled-back festivities … This year, there’s really a lot of pent-up energy and excitement. I think folks have a hunger for the festival in a way that we maybe haven’t seen before.”
There will be a number of road closures throughout the weekend to accommodate PVDFest.
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The city will not be enforcing any vaccination, testing or masking mandates for PVDFest, though guests are encouraged to bring a face mask just in case.
The downtown arts festival will be patrolled regularly by the Providence Police Department, as well as private security personnel.
The last time PVDFest was held, a man fired shots into the air. The city is reminding everyone that weapons and contraband of any kind are prohibited, as well as ATVs and dirt bikes.