This festival is a two-day event, which will be held on the 10th and 11th of August at the Bank of America City Center, 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence, Rhode Island. Over 400 dancers outfitted in colorful and folkloric costumes from Bolivia make their way performing towards the heart of Providence. Year after year, this festival attracts thousands of local Rhode Islanders and visitors from neighboring states.
Saturday, procession begins at 12:30pm from St. Patrick’s Church on Smith Street and continues at the Bank of America Skating Rink until 10pm. Sunday events take place at Bank of America Skating Rink from 2-6pm.
HISTORY OF THE FESTIVITY IN PROVIDENCE
In 1990, a couple of Bolivian families residents in Rhode Island, hosted a celebration at the gymnasium of Saint Patrick’s Church in Providence, in honor of our Lady of Urkupina. Over the years, the financial and coordination responsibilities of putting together this celebration were transferred from one family to another, the organizing families are called “Pasantes.” Over time, this celebration grew in size and folkloric dance groups, and musical group performances became part of the festivities. In subsequent years, the event further developed into a closer representation of its original in Bolivia with the addition of food vendors and a colorful parade of hundreds of dancers through the streets of Providence.
The festival’s growth demanded the creation of an organizing entity to share responsibilities with the Pasantes. Thus, the Asociacion Boliviana Virgen de Urkupina was formed in 1996. This organization sought funding and coordinated the major components of the event. Ten years later, this association seized its operations and a new organization was born, the Rhode Island Bolivian-American Association (RIBAA). Focusing on the richness of Bolivian culture and its artistic creativity, this festival was brought to Downtown Providence and partnerships have been developed with WaterFire to further integrate both events and showcase Bolivian culture to new audiences.
Saturday, August 10: 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM Solemn Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, 244 Smith St., Providence, RI 02908.
12:30 PM – 3:00 PM Procession and Folkloric Parade, leaves St. Patrick’s Church and arrives at Bank of America City Center, 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence, RI 02903.
4:30 PM – 9:00 PM Folkloric Dance Performances at Bank of America City Center.
Sunday, August 11: 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM Folkloric Dance Performances at Bank of America City Center.