Saturday, May 17, 1986

1986 RI's 350th Birthday Party (5/17/1986)

Saturday, May 17, 1986
After lunch we drove down to park near the RI Statehouse.
RI's 350th Birthday
RI Statehouse
Walked over to the lawn in time for the multi-media presentation in the yellow-and-white striped dome tent.
Multi-media presentation tent
Inside it smelled like hay, reminiscent of the elephant house at the zoo! The multi-screen slide show began as we kept a lookout for Heather B who had been photographed at the puppet show we attended at the Casino in Roger Williams Park on March 29th. Instead we saw me working with Jason A! There were also videos, including aerial views of the state as it celebrated its 350th birthday. Made Rhode Island look really beautiful!
We went to the tent that gave the history of RI. A Channel 6 anchorwoman was there to get footage of people attending the exhibit. There were tents with displays of the RI colleges, the army reserve, and different crafts people including a drum maker, needle pointers, artists, photographers, basket weaver, etc. Various ethnic groups were offering food and some souvenirs. Kyle and Erich played in the Military Police jeeps.
Erich and Kyle
We moseyed down to the front of the Statehouse where a Sweet Adelaide-type group was singing on one of the stages that were set up on the lawn. Kent found the laser-show people who explained that to best see the show, you needed to view the Statehouse façade. Further along, the Children’s Museum had set up a neat exhibit on learning about your body.
Children's Museum exhibit
Kent plus Erich with the tallest man
Kent plus Kyle and the tallest man
Kyle and Erich
There were jugglers, and after their routine, we went to the new bridge leading to the Statehouse, where we got some Del’s frozen lemonade. Very lemony!
Del's Frozen Lemonade truck
The new Providence train station (1986, designed by Marilyn Taylor)
Downtown Providence skyline
The Independent Man
on the RI Statehouse
We went home for dinner, then returned to the Statehouse for the Laser Light show. They announced there were about 35,000 people gathered there, and we all yelled “Happy Birthday, Rhode Island!” in unison for the radio audience of Lite 105. The show began with laser pictures concentrating on a huge screen in front of the Statehouse, but also moving across the façade and up to the dome. Two-dimensional figures were twirling in circles, words were written, three dimensional items were drawn and spun around and made bigger and smaller, lines twirled or flashed in different colors, etc. Quite impressive. Then they flashed beams out over the crowd, coming in multiple rays, flashing on and off, swinging side to side, etc., in combination with popular music. The show ended with a booming fireworks display. We left following the huge crowds. We saw cars had parked on I-95 and were being towed away! We found our car and managed to avoid the traffic jams to get home.

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