Need to Know Newport: Weekend of May 8

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Team SCA crosses the Newport finish line in sixth place on May 7. Welcome to Newport, ladies! Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race.

Here’s what you need to know about Newport and environs to start your weekend.

• In case you live out of earshot of Fort Adams’ current speaker set up, now you know: As of yesterday, all of the Volvo Ocean Race boats have arrived. Huzzah! The Race Village (here’s a map) is open to the public all weekend, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Entry to the VOR Race Village is free of charge through May 17. Parking is free today, May 8; costs $10 May 9–13 and $20 May 14–17 … unless you drive a Volvo – then you park for free. Parking passes are available for purchase ahead of time. A full list of events is here.

• Two ferries will also be running – the Newport Harbor Shuttle, which will run from Perrotti Park, and the Newport Jamestown Ferry. Each costs $10 roundtrip. A shuttle bus will also leave from the Gateway Center. More transportation logistics are listed here.

• Bicycle parking is available at the Race Village at no cost. Thanks to Bike Newport, two park-and-bike locations — at Bike Newport on Broadway and at the YMCA in Middletown — are also available with free parking. Get more details here.

• Local band Honky Tonk Nights plays at the VOR Race Village from 4–7 p.m. on Friday, May 8.

• The carnival is open at First Beach through Sunday. Get high on sugar – and the ferris wheel, which has a great view of Easton’s Bay.

• The 4th Annual Craft Beer Festival will be held in Newport May 8–9 at Newport Storm Brewery and the Great Friends Meeting House. Sample fancy brews from near and far at this event, which benefits the Rhode Island Brewers Guild.

Newport in Bloom — the group of citizens responsible for beautifying the city with container gardens (nope, the city doesn’t do that) — will hold it’s annual plant sale Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to noon. This year, the event moves from the “giraffe lady’s house” (well, that’s what we always called it) to the Elks Lodge. They’ll have herbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and hanging baskets, and, as everyone knows, this is *the* place to get dahlia bulbs.

• At the Heineken Reggae Rally on Saturday May 9, part of the VOR music series, The Ravers, Mighty Mystic, and John Brown’s Body will play inside the fort quad at Fort Adams, from 6-10 p.m.

• Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day, and there’s still time to buy locally. Last-minute shoppers can check out our gift guide for great ideas.

• On Sunday, May 10, Bike Newport is hosting a Mother’s Day Ride along with SpokesWomen Cycling and Women Bike RI. Join them for a 13- or 33-mile scenic tour of Aquidneck Island, followed by a picnic. The ride is part of CycloFemme’s Global Women’s Cycling Day, created to honor the the previous generations of women who fought for “the freedom to choose and the chance to wear pants.” And pants for women is something worth celebrating.

• Moms can visit Team SCA at the VOR Race Village on Sunday, May 10 for complimentary manicures, massages, cupcakes, and champagne. While you’re there, check out SCA’s digital photo mosaic, a tribute to awesome women; you can submit a photo, too.

For more stuff to do, check out our events calendar.

Meaghan O'Neill is a writer, editor, blogger wrangler, and the founder of Puddingstone Post. She was formerly editor-in-chief of TreeHugger, Discovery Channel online, and TLC's Parentables. Her writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, and her book, Ready, Set, Green: 8 Weeks to Modern Eco-Living (Villard/Random House) was published in 2008. She lives in Newport, RI with her family.

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