A crack rings out from the jousting arena as armored knights clash in the pursuit of honor, while sword-swallowers thrill crowds with their death-defying art, jesters spin windy jokes, and townspeople in 15th-century garb roam the grounds tearing into turkey legs with their teeth. The Connecticut Renaissance Faire hosts these medieval-theme blowouts every year, including the Robin Hood Spring Festival and King Arthur’s Fall Harvest Faire. Under the themed umbrella of each gathering, actors caper about a constructed medieval village, engaging in Old English–flavored conversation and clapping games with fair-goers. In a tented marketplace, vendors sell beaded crafts, art, and tyrannical-king repellent alongside stands serving mead, beer, and other satisfying sundries. Although the shows and events vary at each fair, past spectacles have included archery displays, pub sing-alongs, and costume parades.
At Misquamicut Beach, visitors can celebrate the simple pleasures of feeling the sand between their toes and crashing into salty waves. The beach welcomes locals and tourists alike for a day outside in the fresh air, soaking in the sun's rays or body surfing out on the water. Throughout the summer, the beach plays host to a variety of events including a classic car show, drive-in movies, and festivals complete with carnival rides. Visitors can even zip down huge water slides?anything to distract them from that seagull that keeps stealing their sandwiches.
Much of the vitality of the area can be credited to The Misquamicut Business Association, which boasts a membership of about 90% of local businesses. The association throws lots of family-friendly events and serves as a resource for news on happenings at its 180-some affiliated businesses.
Fronted by British-Nigerian lead singer Sade Adu, Grammy-winning band Sade has seduced eardrums with a potent mélange of R & B, soul, and jazz for nearly 30 years. Performing songs from the new compilation album The Ultimate Collection, Sade will delight fans with greatest hits as well as a smattering of brand-new songs, melding soul-stroking vocals with eye-tickling dancing and onstage spectacle. Special guest John Legend will also throw his honeyed voice into the ring, soothing ears that have been damaged by the cacophony of city life and the screeching of prima-donna chalkboards.
Known to fans as Girl Talk, Gregg Gillis collages pop and rap samples into new songs that have engendered countless epic dance parties and praise from Rolling Stone. Gillis lures listeners into his web of laptop-fueled revelry with juicy pop hooks, stemming from selections which will likely include tracks from 2010's All Day, an album built from snippets of tunes by Jay-Z, U2, Daft Punk, and hundreds of other artists. Swathed in party paraphernalia such as confetti and toilet-paper streamers, each live show is wilder than a trip to a petting zoo stocked entirely with grizzly bears.
The Preservation Society of Newport County protects and showcases Newport's one-of-a-kind architectural heritage. During tours of Newport's museum-houses, visitors get a glimpse into three centuries of American history, from the French Baroque styling of Rosecliff, high-Victorian splendor and fancy French name of Chateau-sur-mer. Tourists can trace the steps of some of America's most wealthy families as they explore latter-day castles such as Cornelius Vanderbilt II's The Breakers or the Isaac Bell House. Special events give guests a hands-on insight to the everyday people that worked in New England's most famous mansions, while annual occasions such as the Newport Flower show celebrate the treasured traditions and landscapes of Newport each year.
Now in its 16th season riding the rails, the Newport Dinner Train whisks up to 200 passengers through the lush lands and rich history of Aquidneck Island. A 44-ton diesel engine powers the locomotive, which pulls vintage 1940s dining cars, similar to the ones grandparents had to haul barefoot through the snow on their way to school each morning.