2018-12-06 / Around Town

Broadway Walk-About Celebrates Third Year

By Joseph T. O’Connor

Come see the chisels and saws transform a block of ice at the ice sculpting demonstration. Come see the chisels and saws transform a block of ice at the ice sculpting demonstration. Newport is getting a healthy dose of holiday spirit this weekend as locals, families and shoppers join Broadway merchants and restaurateurs for an event that would put Scrooge himself in a festive mood.

The Broadway Holiday Walk- About, now in its third year, will bring activities, music and artisans to Newport’s gateway thoroughfare on Sunday, Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. as revelers gather to celebrate the season. From Collins to Farewell streets, approximately 30 vendors will join event-goers at establishments and booths along Broadway.

Hosted by the Broadway Merchants Association, this year’s Walk-About will feature a variety of local vendors and plenty of entertainment, including the Ancient Order of Hibernians acapella singers, steel drums, a three-hour ice-sculpting demonstration by Eyes4Ice, Santa Claus and a tree-lighting ceremony.

During last year’s event, Amanda Gallagher was busy at Closet Revival, the consignment and vintage clothing store she owns on Broadway. Offering cider and cookies, along with an eclectic attire ranging from secondhand sport coats and purses to vintage fur coats, Gallagher had her hands full from open to close.

“It was kind of a blur,” she said. “We were really busy.”

This year, Gallagher is helping the Broadway Merchants Association organize the family and pet-friendly event, during which a Boy Scout troop will be decorating trees in Equality Park and Santa will ride along Broadway on a fire truck, coasting by Thompson Middle School where students hung ornaments on trees outside its front doors.

“I think Broadway is one of the most fun places to be around holidays,” said Gallagher, adding that patrons can visit top-notch restaurants and cross items off their holiday shopping lists by buying gifts from dozens of participating artisans.

Some Broadway merchants plan to offer specials and gift card promotions, while others are using the platform to highlight their creativity. Scratch Kitchen and Catering is encouraging children to write letters to Santa, while Pour Judgment is hosting an ugly sweater contest.

“We’re definitely [hoping] people [will] dress in their favorite festive holiday attire,” Gallagher said. “We wanted to get people to come down to Broadway and celebrate.”

Jennifer Sunderland, who is the vendor coordinator for the Holiday Walk-About, said that while they want visitors to come from far and wide, as many as 90 percent of event attendees will be from Aquidneck Island.

“It’s grown with more vendors [this year],” Sunderland said. “But it’s local. It’s a great way for people to come down to Broadway.”

Broadway will remain open to traffic, though vendors will occupy some parking spaces. Coordinators said additional parking will be available on Mary Street, Upper Broadway and on side streets.

The Holiday Walk-About will culminate when the Newport Fire Department drops off Santa in front of City Hall and newly inaugurated Mayor Jamie Bova holds the tree-lighting ceremony to kick-off the holidays on Broadway.

“You’re going to run into everybody who lives in Newport on this day,” Gallagher said.

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