From Burnside Park to Empire Street, PVDFest 2018 is a family-friendly festival, and the dazzling musicians, dancers, and artists performing are bound to wow the most discerning young audience members. Here are just a handful of highlights for families:

With performances on Friday and Saturday, “Tall Tales from the High Seas” is an incredible performance by Australia’s Sway Poles, filled with equal measures of spectacle, disaster, and beauty. This fantastic voyage follows the antics of three eccentric mariners as they explore the power of imagination. Expect astonishment as these world-renowned acrobats perform atop incredible sway-pole masts as their vessel “The Fabulist” pitches and rolls above the crowd!

On Saturday, a New Orleans-style second line will accompany the PVDFest parade down Washington Street. Organized by Jazz at Lincoln Center, the processional will feature students from Classical High School, TAPA, and JMW School of the Arts who are taking part in FirstWorks Arts Learning workshops.

Providence Children’s Museum has teamed up with the Dr. Pat Feinstein University of Rhode Island Child Development Center for Family Makers at the Mini Maker Faire on Saturday from 12pm-4pm. Make a pinback button, create nature prints, build a Rigamajig robot, and craft musical instruments for the PVD Fest parade!

What Cheer? Brigade explode the relationship between performer and audience while proving that loud, fun music doesn’t require electricity. Their sound is a tight mix of global brass traditions that is unmistakably rooted in Providence’s erstwhile tradition of louder-than-loud rock.

Youth hip-hop outfit Project 401 returns to the festival for a fourth year. The group will perform, join the parade, and host an open space to introduce audiences to the cultural practices of hip-hop. This year the group will also host a dance competition with the Kids Breaking League (KBL). This is a family-friendly event with tons of energy to go around In the name of peace, love, and unity.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to play instruments with PVDFest headliners Debo Band and Sidy Maiga of Afrimanding. On the Burnside Park stage, these musicians will show the audience how they combine Malian and Ethiopian music, demonstrate their instruments and invite the audience to participate and make music with them.

Speaking of drums, Burlington Taiko is a thunderous Japanese drum ensemble. They play with complete abandon, fully committing their bodies and spirits to the beautiful, precise choreography and powerful, surging rhythms expressed by the ancient style.

Squonk Opera’s “Cycle Sonic” is a celebration of “all things bicycle,” featuring human-powered stages! As double-decker bike-stages circle the audience, backdrops of undulating flags and 20-foot legs pump with the rhythm of sustainable power. With no carbon footprint, “Cycle Sonic” combines the thrill of a live concert with the world of everyday transit.

Local school buildings are recreated in Legos in a public art project from Andrew Grover, who focuses on the historically significant school buildings of Cranston and Warwick. There will also be kid-friendly workshops happening all day on Saturday. And keep an eye out for local favorite Amy the Mime!

PVDFest founding partner FirstWorks is giving over a thousand Providence students a head start on the fun with workshops at local schools, including a special assembly at Mt. Pleasant High School. Earlier in the week, students from the MET School will work with “the King of Pakistan Truck Art” Haider Ali and Ali Salman, Founder of the Phool Patti Truck Art Team. Students from Central High School will be performing on Saturday with Eastern Medicine Singers, presenting an intercultural program called “Drums & Music of the Americas.”

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