EAST GREENWICH—Dogs took over the town last Thursday, parading down Main Street in costumes to swinging live music and the calls of patrons through the open doors of local businesses. The event, Dogs on Main, was the first of the town’s annual summer events known simply as the Main Street Strolls.
“It was another very successful stroll,” said Stephen Lombardi, director of the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce. “We are expecting a big season. This was the kickoff of the stroll season, and in general the strolls expose all that East Greenwich has to offer, for both residents and visitors from all over the state.”
The event, put on by the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce and widely advertised by the South County Tourism Council, succeeded in packing Main Street and the local shops with celebratory attendees who went out on the town with their canine companions looking for a good time to be had. And a good time it was.
Dogs, and their people too, dressed in festive outfits from across the spectrum of fun. Pirate dogs, hippie dogs, Napoleonic soldier dogs and Wonder Woman dogs abounded, all out for a play in the sun while their human compatriots enjoyed the goods offered up by local artisans who kept their doors open late into the night.
Indeed, the event offers a boon to Main Street businesses, who receive an unprecedented amount of foot traffic with the Main Street Strolls each year. In past years, the events have won the town wide recognition through their winning of a Best in Rhode Island award for Best Attraction on the West Bay.
“Most all of the businesses sponsor the strolls,” Lombardi said. “So there is a great buy-in that shows that the strolls are a good thing for the town and for our businesses. It promotes East Greenwich both during the stroll season, and also throughout the year because the people that travel here remember our town and what we have to offer.”
During the event, attendees were invited by the chamber to “Dress your pup up in a costume (and yourself while you’re at it) and join the parade down Main Street. Then stay for a night of shopping, dining and strolling with the whole family (including your ‘best friend’).”
“We continually are striving to make the strolls even better and provide East Greenwich residents and visitors to EG with a wonderful Main Street experience,” Lombardi said via a separate press release.
The Main Street Strolls are becoming increasingly well known for featuring festive themes and showcasing local artists, musicians and performers, with each event drawing hundreds of visitors. According to the South County Tourism Council, the strolls also offer a “nostalgic shopping experience with shopkeepers staying open late for the festive strollers to enjoy.”
In all, if last week’s Dogs on Main event is any indication, East Greenwich may be looking forward to a very successful stroll season indeed. It is sure to be one that keeps Main Street packed with fun-seekers, and will continue to reap rewards for small business owners in terms of both cashflow and exposure to a statewide audience.
Future strolls this year will include Arts on Main (June 27), Music on Main (July 18), and Taste of East Greenwich (August 22).