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Come get inspired! 

Set Sail for Adventure! Come visit the 41st Black Ships Festival!

Are you ready to immerse yourself in a whirlwind of culture, history, and vibrant festivities? Then set your course for Bristol and Newport, RI, this August 16th-18th, for the 41st Black Ships Festival! This legendary event is more than just a festival; it's a bridge between cultures, , and an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

Embark on a voyage of discovery at the 41st Black Ships Festival in Bristol & Newport, Rhode Island, this August 16th-18th, 2024! This immersive celebration isn't just a festival – it's a bridge between cultures, a chance to dive into the vibrant tapestry of Japanese traditions through interactive experiences, captivating performances, and fascinating exhibits. 

Pre-Festival Community Events

Japanese Folk Tales Storytime 
Saturday, August 10, 2024  10:00 AM - 11:00 AM 
Do you know what a Koinobori is?
In advance of the Black Ships Festival in Bristol, the Japan America Society of Rhode Island presents an all-ages story time of Japanese Folk Tales at Rogers Free Library, hosted by Steve Shakespeare. Come prepared to enjoy stories about Fish Kites and take home your own koi banner!
Best for children ages 0-8, and their parent(s) or caregiver(s).

Location: Rogers Free Library - Children's Room
525 Hope St, Bristol, RI 02809 
Contact: Sarah Griffin, Youth Services Librarian
Tel: (401) 253-6948


A Talk with Dr. Matthew Perry
Wednesday, August 14, 2024  2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

What Rhode Islander is considered a Hero in Japan for opening the doors of trade to the United States?
Rogers Free Library hits the road with Dr. Matthew Perry, a Bristol Descendant who will talk about "Commodore Matthew C. Perry USN: Military Diplomat with Japan" at the RI Veterans Home

Location: Community Living Center, 480 Metacom Ave, Bristol.
Contact: Ann Kathrin Weldy, Programming Coordinator
Tel: (401) 253-6948


From August 16th to 18th, 2024, Bristol and Newport will transform into a vibrant tapestry of Japanese culture, offering unforgettable experiences for the whole family.

Prepare to be swept away by:

Opening Ceremonies: Friday, August 16th, 2024; 10:00am - Rockwell Park, Bristol

Witness the colorful Opening Ceremonies honoring Commodore Perry's legacy and the historic Treaty of Kanagawa, featuring speeches, wreath-laying, and a patriotic performance by the Bristol Police Color Guard. Free event.

Step aboard the majestic Tall Ship Aurora: Friday, August 16th, 2024; 2pm – 4pm - Goat Island Marina

Sail the magnificent Newport Harbor, savoring delicious sushi and sake while the wind whispers tales of Commodore Perry's historic voyage. Sushi Sake Sails: (Space is limited, so act fast!) Set sail on the Aurora, indulging in Sushi Sake Sails while soaking in breathtaking harbor views. Purchase Tickets here

Thrilling Taiko Drum Performances: Friday, August 16, 2024; 6:30pm - Rockwell Park, Bristol 

Feel the electrifying energy of traditional Japanese Taiko drumming, a mesmerizing spectacle that blends percussion, movement, and raw power that will leave you breathless. Free event.

Explore a World Of Wonders: Saturday, August 17th, 2024; 10:00am-3:00pm - Independence Park, Bristol

Wander through the bustling Cultural Marketplace Fair, where over 100 artisans showcase their unique crafts, delectable treats, and captivating performances. From intricate ikebana flower arrangements to mesmerizing Bon Odori dancing, there's something for everyone to discover. Enjoy martial arts demonstrations, intricate ikebana flower arrangements, lively Bon Odori dancing, and much more! Free event.


  • Kid-friendly activities and a Cosplay Costume Contest: Dress up as your favorite anime or manga character and join the fun!

  • Delicious food trucks: Savor a variety of mouthwatering culinary delights.

  • Unique shopping opportunities: Find one-of-a-kind handcrafted treasures and souvenirs.


Unleash your creativity at the Kids' Crafts Corner and witness the spectacular Cosplay Costume Contest.

Celebrate Under The Stars: Saturday, August 17th, 2024; 6:30pm-10:30pm - Ochre Court, Newport 

Join the elegant Black Ships Festival Gala at Ochre Court, a Gilded Age mansion exuding grandeur and charm. Dance the night away, indulge in an exquisite Japanese-inspired feast, an open bar, exclusive entertainment, and toast to the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan honoring the Treaty of Kanagawa and the US Navy.

Elevate your experience at the Black Ships Festival Gala, an elegant evening celebrating cultural fusion with exquisite dining, lively dancing, and captivating performances. Purchase Tickets here.  

Remember The Past, Honor The Future: Sunday, August 18th, 2024; 9:30am - Island Cemetery, Newport

Pay tribute to Commodore Perry's legacy at the poignant Memorial Wreath-Laying Ceremony in Newport’s Island Cemetery, a solemn yet heartwarming event that reflects on the rich history shared by two nations. Celebrate the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan. Free event.

Enjoy a Second Sushi Sake Sail: Sunday, August 18th, 2024; 12:00pm – 2:00pm - Goat Island Marina

On Sunday to close out the festival, set sail on the majestic Schooner Aurora, savoring delicious sushi and sake, and soak in the stunning Newport harbor scenic views. 

Purchase Tickets here.

Post-Festival Community Event

Japanese Calligraphy Craft Night 
Monday, August 26, 2024  6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The Japan America Society of Rhode Island visits the Rogers Free Library for a night of Origami and Japanese Calligraphy lettering. Artist and experts will help grow your skills!
The craft program will be hosted on the last Monday of the month at 6 pm unless there’s a holiday or other event. The crafts are open to all ages unless there is a note.
Registration required - limits vary.
Location: Rogers Free Library Children's Room - Herreshoff Community Room
525 Hope St, Bristol, RI 02809 
Herreshoff Community Room
Contact: Ann Kathrin Weldy, Programming Coordinator 
Tel: (401) 253-6948

Audience:   All Ages  Categories: Crafts  


And that's just a taste of the adventure that awaits! The Black Ships Festival is an experience for all ages and interests with engaging workshops, insightful exhibits, and countless opportunities to connect with Japanese culture in vibrant and interactive ways. Whether you're a history buff, a culture enthusiast, or simply seeking a fun-filled family adventure, this festival has something for you.


Come discover Japan. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds and tastes the magic. Don't miss your chance to experience the magic of the 41st Black Ships Festival!

Set your course for adventure! So, gather your crew, pack your sense of wonder, and set sail for Bristol and Newport this August!

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