by Brian Mills
Here are a few guidelines and tips to make your PrideFest experience safe, happy, and healthy.
Getting to PrideFest:
PrideFest takes place in the heart of downtown on South Water Street, along the Providence River waterfront.
From the North or South: I-95 to exit 22A towards downtown/Memorial Blvd. Count 5 traffic lights, starting at the bottom of the exit ramp from Rt. 95. At the sixth traffic light you will see the festival entrance at the road closure at South Water Street. From the East: I-195 West to exit 2 (South Main St.). Make a left onto College Hill and then a left onto Memorial Blvd. At the next traffic light you will see the festival entrance. From the West: Take US Rt. 6 East/Rt. 10 North towards I-95. Take the downtown exit. Count 6 traffic lights to the festival entrance. GPS: 345 South Water Street, Providence.
In addition to more than 40 parking lots and garages, downtown Providence has over 1,100 on-street parking spaces. Meters cost $0.25/12 minutes and are in effect Monday-Saturday from 8am-6pm. Parking is free at all other times. Street parking is limited in the area immediately around the festival site. The Dyer Street parking lots are adjacent to the festival and are within easy walking distance from the parade route. Providence Place Mall and Rhode Island Convention Center parking lots are also just a ten-minute walk down the river.
The RIPTA Bus Terminal located in Kennedy Plaza is within walking distance from the festival site. For scheduling information, visit www.ripta.com or call 781-9400. Peter Pan Bus Lines (800-343-9999/www.peterpanbus.com) offers service from Boston, Hartford, the Cape, and New York City. Greyhound Bus Lines (800-231-2222/www.greyhound.com) also offers service to Providence’s Kennedy Plaza.
PrideFest is just ten minutes down the riverwalk from the Providence Train Station, which is served by Amtrak and by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter trains from Boston, though be careful to check the return schedule. Call Amtrak at 800-USA-RAIL or visit their web site at www.amtrak.com. The MBTA offers weekend commuter rail service to Providence from Boston. Call the MBTA at 800-392-6100 or visit their web site at www.mbta.com.
The Providence Police are at the festival along with RI Pride’s Safety Team. If you have a non-emergency medical need there is a first aid tent located across from the information tent. If you have a medical or police emergency dial 911.
Pride volunteers can be identified by their t-shirts and identification badges. If you need information or assistance within the PrideFest grounds please feel free to approach a volunteer.
Take care of all personal belongings and be aware of those around you. Keep wallets, purses, handbags, mobile phones, and cameras secure and within sight at all times.
Many organizations, including RI Pride, will be asking for donations at PrideFest. Individuals soliciting donations for organizations should be identifiable by badges or affiliation information. If you believe that someone is panhandling or harassing our guests for money, please report the activity to a Pride volunteer.
Even though PrideFest is a safe and friendly venue, we still recommend the buddy system. Spend the day with a friend, travel to and from the festival in a group, and make sure that you stay aware of your personal safety. Remember you should carry identification with you at all times. We want your Pride experience to be as safe and enjoyable as possible. Please report any concerns to RI Pride Security or the Providence Police.
Trash and Recycling bins are located throughout the festival grounds. Please be responsible with your trash and keep the street as clean as possible. RI Pride is responsible for the clean-up and removal of all trash from South Water Street. Please help us by pitching in.
Alcoholic Beverages: A festival is a place to party, and some people like to do that with a drink. The Beer, Wine, and Spirits Tent is located adjacent to the Main Stage. Proper ID will be required to enter and to purchase alcohol. All beer, wine, and spirits must be consumed within the fenced area. Please drink responsibly.
Pets are allowed on the festival grounds during the event. For everyone’s safety, please keep your pet leashed and be courteous to pick up after your animal should he or she answer the call of nature.
Bicycles, skateboards, skates, scooters, and motorized vehicles of any kind (except wheelchairs) are prohibited from the festival grounds for the safety of our guests.
Lost & Found and Lost Children: RI Pride does not operate a lost-and-found service, but sometimes people turn in found items to the Pride information tent. Lost children should be taken to the Pride information/security tent or to a police officer.
ATMs are located on the festival grounds for your convenience. There is a transaction fee.
The RI Pride Illuminated Night Parade winds its way through the streets of Providence from the intersection of Dorrance and Weybosset Streets, makes a left on Washington Street, and turns left on Empire Street, traveling past the reviewing stand. Pride volunteers and the Providence Police work extremely hard to keep the more than 30,000 people who crowd the streets of Providence safe and happy. By following these simple suggestions you can help us help you maximize the viewing experience.
You must remain on the sidewalk as the Parade passes. People standing on the street are not only a safety hazard but also block the Parade from passing and slow the procession. The Parade route in front of the Providence Biltmore and near the Reviewing stand on Empire Street can become very congested. Prime viewing is available all along the Parade route (Dorrance Street, Washington Street, and Empire Street) and is just as much fun. Many of the city streets remain open to traffic during the Parade. Please observe all police direction and obey traffic signals and crosswalks. Do not approach floats or vehicles in the parade. Vehicles are likely to move without notice. If you are not officially registered in the Parade, please do not enter the Parade route.
Keep your children safe and out of danger. Use extra caution with strollers on the parade route and hold young children’s hands. Children should not be allowed to enter the Parade route for any reason without adult supervision.
We hope you have a great day with RI Pride at the PrideFest and Parade. However, even in the fun atmosphere of a festival, the Providence Police are responsible for enforcing all applicable state laws and local ordinances during the Pride event which include, but are not limited to: public decency, alcohol, controlled substances, public safety, and parking.
As the event organizer, RI Pride reserves the right to decline admittance to anyone who violates the reasonable policies established for public safety, tries to gain entrance to restricted areas, or causes serious disruption to the good order of the event. Have a happy, fun, and safe Pride!