NORTH SMITHFIELD – Locals will have the chance to enjoy all that the town has to offer with events focused on food, history, and good old-fashioned family fun, when a special North Smithfield Days returns next month, with a celebration fit to mark 150th anniversary of the town’s incorporation.
Three days of events and activities will culminate with a celebration at North Smithfield High School on Saturday, July 10, with music and food trucks, ending with a dramatic fireworks display.
North Smithfield Days were first held in 2019, but like most public gatherings, were put on hold by the pandemic in 2020.
This year, the effort coincides with the ongoing celebration of the sesquicentennial anniversary, and will include a little something for everyone.
The events begin on Thursday, July 8, when town-based director Christian de Rezendes will bring a special pre-screening of his docu-series Slatersville: America’s First Mill Village to the North Smithfield High School auditorium. The latest segment in the an ongoing series of previews dubbed “The War,” will look at North Smithfield’s contribution to World War II. The full 9-part documentary is slated to premiere on Rhode Island PBS next year.
de Rezendes is seeking official headshots and candid photos of town residents who served in the conflict and lived in North Smithfield between 1941 and 1945. Those who wish to contribute are asked to provide a high quality scan, or arrange for his team to scan the photo, by no later than Sunday, June 20. For more information or to submit a picture for possible inclusion in the film, contact de Rezendes at email@example.com or (401) 651-1839.
The screening, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is expected to last around 45 minutes, and is free and open to the public.
That same evening, a free family movie night will take place in the t-ball field at Pacheco Park, starting after sundown around 8:45 p.m.
On Friday, the celebration moves to Goodwin Brothers Farm with Dinner Under the Stars, a chance to enjoy top-notch local food and entertainment in an outdoor setting. Farm-to-table chef Ryan Sherlock has devised a four-course menu for the event with entrée choices such as “farmer cioppino,” and pan roasted statler chicken and fire side smores baskets for dessert. A band, including local artist Derek McDonald ,will play throughout the evening.
Tickets for the dinner cost $100, with proceeds to support future North Smithfield Days. Reservations can be made on Eventbrite, and NRI NOW will publish a link once the information is available.
The final day, Saturday, July 10 will start off with a walking tour of Slatersville with Blackstone River Historical Park. The free, roughly one-hour tour of the village will depart from Memorial Town Hall at 9 a.m.
Starting at 10 a.m., families are invited to stay in the village for Kids’ Day in the Park at Pacheco, with free activities to run through 1 p.m. At 12:30, North Smithfield Fire & Rescue will come by with a truck and will open up the fire hose for the kids to run around under and cool off according to organizer April Lombardi.
Saturday night, the grand finale takes place on the high school grounds, where DJ Ray Arruda will begin spinning tunes around 6:30 p.m.
“He did a fantastic job two years ago, so we asked him to come back,” said Town Council President John Beauregard, who has spearheaded festivities for the final night.
Vendors will include Sunnyside on the Street, Mickey G’s Clam Shack, The ISH, Smoke & Barbecue and a final truck offering cool treats such as ice cream or lemonade, which has still to be determined. Guests are invited to secure their spot for the fireworks, to be lit from the baseball field starting around 9:15 p.m., but, “there’s really not a bad spot,” according to Beauregard.
The display, put on by Atlas Fireworks out of Rindge, NH, was well-received in 2019 due, in part, to the decision to light the fuses more rapidly. Beauregard said that the company lights up the sky with the same amount of fireworks dedicated to longer displays in neighboring communities, only at a greater speed.
“It’s just more of a dramatic display,” he said. “It makes it much more enjoyable.”
The majority of funding for the event comes through a partnership private sponsors, Beauregard noted, with some contribution from the town.
The organizer said he’s hopeful the celebration will bring out crowds eager to socialize after time spent at home.
“It’s the first major event in town since Covid,” Beauregard said. “Last time, we had over 1,000 people show up.”
“We’ve all been locked up all year ,and now it’s time to get out and celebrate,” he said.