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Monday, July 15, 2013

Rhode Islands Blackstone River Valley world cultures

Exciting weekend preview of happenings inside Rhode Island’s historic Blackstone River Valley

Suggested events for the Weekend of
July 27-28, 2013

ATTENTION EDITORS: This is an updated Events of the Week news release that is being sent. Please disregard the original release and run the information in this updated release.
Rhode Island has many wonderful and diverse ethnic and cultural connections that are embedded in the heritage, community, economic and social development of the “Ocean State”.

Over the July 27-28 weekend, the Blackstone River Valley, spanning Northern Rhode Island, offers residents and visitors a summertime perspective of how cultures connect communities.

Bicycle our byways

Saturday morning, July 27, 9 am-1 pm, venture along one of the most historic roadways of the Blackstone River Valley, with a Leisurely Bicycle Tour.
Biking in the Blackstone Valley is more than recreation – Join us and learn about Rhode Island's historic Blackstone River Valley. Residents and visitors can enjoy a fun and relaxing way to experience the heritage, culture, nature and recreation of the Valley, with Blackstone Valley Leisurely Bicycle Tours.

This tour lasts 4 hours, but no need to worry – we ride at a very leisurely pace, stop often and are appropriate for all fitness levels. We peddle through four Blackstone Valley communities and talk about the history, culture, manufacturing and little known facts and stories while riding through charming back streets and the Blackstone Valley Bikepath.

Participants have only three requirements: bring your own bicycle, your own bike helmet and know how to ride.

Space is limited to keep groups small. We require reservations in advance. Alternatively, you can turn up at our meeting point and take your chances.
Cost: $20 per person, free parking.

The Saturday, July 27 bicycle tour will operate from the Jesse Smith Public Library, 100 Tinkham Lane, Harrisville village, located in Burrillville, RI. The bicycle tour will give participants a unique historic and cultural perspective of the town and of Harrisville.
Established as a town in 1806, Burrillville was originally part of the adjacent town of Glocester, and was named in honor of US Senator James Burrill, who helped to found the municipality.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries the town was predominant with farms and textile mills and local villages established.

Burrillville became noted at the height of the US Great Depression in the 1930’s, when industrialist Austin T. Levy created his vision of a quintessential New England village, through constructing several public buildings in Harrisville village, many still standing today.

These locations, including the Assembly, Town Hall, Post Office, and former library, helped to put the village on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the town is known as a residential community and a popular destination for dining and heritage visitation.

Most recently the town was recognized by the Rhode Island Tourism Division for the sustainable development and re-use of the former Stillwater Mill Complex in Harrisville.
This former mill was historically preserved and magnificently transformed into residential use, along with hosting the new location of the town’s Jesse Smith Library, small retail spaces and a new riverwalk along the Clear River.
To sign up for the bicycle tour call 401-724-2200, or go to www.cycleblackstone.com

Honoring a nation’s independence
The African nation of Liberia will be feted over the weekend to honor its annual independence celebration. Liberia was established by citizens of the United States as a colony for former African American slaves.

It is one of only two sovereign states in the world that were started by citizens of a political power as a colony for former slaves of the same political power
Liberian American organizations estimate there are between 250,000 and 500,000 Liberians living in the United States. This figure includes Liberian residents that have a temporary status, and American of Liberian descent. The metropolitan areas with the largest Liberian immigrant populations are Minnesota and Washington, D.C.; other cities with significant numbers of Liberians include New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Worth, Texas, Hartford, Connecticut, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Oakland, New Jersey, California and Philadelphia. However, it is thought Rhode Island (specifically Providence) is the state with the largest Liberian population in the country; about 0.4% of the city's population (est. 200,000) is of Liberian ancestry.

The diplomatic relationship between Liberia and the USA goes back over 150 years since Liberia's foundation by returning African slaves freed by abolitionist societies whom set aside land for the freedmen and paved the way to its independence.

Friday & Saturday, July 26-27, join with the local community with a two day Rhode Island Liberia Independence Celebration, with all events at the Center by the Blackstone (Blackstone Valley Visitor Center), 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI.

Proceeds from the weekend will benefit Higher Ground International, a non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of former child combatants in Liberia and Africa.  This year, Higher Ground International will receive the Rhode Island Liberia Independence Humanitarian Award for its outstanding work in Liberian communities in Rhode Island and Liberia.

West African Arts Night, Friday, July 26, 6 pm
This year, the Liberia Independence celebration will start on Friday, July 26 with the first ever West African Arts Night.  The Arts Night will begin at 6pm and include the following:
- Reception: light hors d'oeuvres will be served.  Drinks will be available for purchase.
- Visual Arts Gallery: visual arts by West African artists including Abu and Taweh Marshall will be on display.  The artists will be present to provide details on their works.  Artwork will be available for sale.
- Film Premiere: renowned Liberian filmmaker Gerald "Gee-Bee" Barclay will be premiering his new movie "The Bully." There will be other films premiering also at the theatre in the venue.
- Fashion Show: the evening will end with a fashion show presented by VQuest Studios, featuring modern fashion and African styles, modeled by the most beautiful models in New England
Tickets for the Friday, July 26 West African Arts Night only are available in advance for $20
Liberia Independence Ball, Saturday, July 27, 8 pm

On Saturday, Leave it to Geri will host the Liberia Independence Ball, a Red-White-and-Blue formal event, from 8:00pm - 3:00am at the Blackstone Valley Tourism Center in Pawtucket.  This is a prestigious gala ball.  The attire for the evening allows for gowns and formal dresses for ladies, tuxedoes and formal suits for men.  There is a King & Queen contest for the evening to award the best dressed and most popular guests.  So come display your elegance and earn the appreciation of the crowd.  

Early arrivals (8:00pm - 9:30pm) will receive the Red Carpet Treatment, complete with photo ops, catered hors d'oeuvres, and complimentary champagne.
Higher Grounds International will be presented with the Rhode Island Liberia Independence Humanitarian Award for its outstanding work in Liberian communities in Rhode Island and Liberia.
Music for the evening features a live performance by extraordinary musician Mr. Mike Rollins.  The Party will be masterfully dee jayed by our own DJ Spaceman.  He was so phenomenal at last year's independence party that guests from the party next door asked if they could pay double the money to join the Rhode Island Liberia Independence Party. We were already so packed we had people dancing outside at the door.  Expect DJ Spaceman to do it again.
Tickets for the Saturday, July 27 Liberia Independence Ball only are available in advance for $25.  
Note: you may purchase tickets for both events now in advance for a total of only $40. Take Advantage of the Early Pricing on the tickets. 

 Last year, we sold out fast. 
For more information on this special cultural celebration go to the web at http://www.leaveittogeri.com/liberia-independence-party
Canadian pop rock music legend in concert
Friday night, July 26, at 8 pm, Twin River Casino Event Center, 100 Twin River Road, Lincoln, RI, welcomes legendary Canadian pop rock musician and recording artist Gordon Lightfoot, in his 50 Years on the Carefree Highway concert tour.
Mr. Lightfoot’s music was a top seller on the pop charts and on radio playlists. A Canadian singer and songwriter who has achieved international success in folk, country, and popular music.  Some of Mr. Lightfoot’s top hits include notables like "Sundown", "Carefree Highway", and "Rainy Day People", his songs have been recorded by some of the world's most renowned recording artists, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan.

Concert tickets are $20/person.and are available by calling Twin River Casino toll free at 1-877-827-4837, or online at www.twinriver.com

Also, visit www.tourblackstone.com for more daily events and visitor information.
Questions and comments on the Blackstone River Valley can be e-mailed at BVTourism@aol.com

For a complete listing of all events happening throughout the year in the Blackstone River Valley, visit our Calendar of Events on the web at www.eventblackstone.com

This interactive website is freshly updated daily and offers direct links to detailed information on each public event posted in the Calendar of Events.

Additional visitor information is available by contacting the Blackstone Valley RI Visitor Center, located at 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860 Telephone 401-724-2200. Call for hours of operation.


Traveler Information Centers also located at the Blackstone River State Park Visitor Center, off Interstate Route 295 north