Friday, May 11, 2012

GondOlympics Schedule

As I mentioned in a previous post, the folks at La Gondola in Providence are putting on an exciting event at the end of this month.
As far as I can tell, this will be the first of its kind in North America, and I certainly hope it won’t be the last.

Matthew Haynes at La Gondola has sent me an updated itinerary which details the various things that are scheduled for the day.
Of course it is subject to change, and as they get closer to the date, they’ll know if adjustments are needed.
Check the website,, for updated information, or call their office at (401) 421-8877.

The date is May 27th, 2012.
The schedule begins at 3pm and ends at 7pm.
The location:  1 Citizens Plaza, Providence, RI  02903

Here’s the schedule:
3 p.m. Greeting and welcome at the Gondola Landing 

Ongoing from/to the Gondola Landing:  FREE 10 to 20-minute (one-way or two-way) trips open to the public for donations; proceeds go to the Providence After-School Alliance.  Not just Providence's own, but any and all experienced (and uniformed) gondoliers are welcome to spend some time rowing these trips.

Ongoing at the Gondola Landing:  performances by all of the La Gondola Providence musicians: accordion players Maria and Daniela, "The Don," our mandolin player,  and our soprano, Adelina, as well as a set by the barbershop quartet known as The Gondoliers (consisting of members of the Ocean State Chorus, one of whom is our own Marcello,) some of our own gondoliers' singing in Italian also, and any visiting gondolier who would like to do so, at the small amphitheater right next to the landing.  A gondolier's hat will be passed after each set; proceeds to benefit PASA.  

Ongoing at the Gondola Landing:  Italian-style desserts and pastries made by the wonderful owners and staff at The Deli On Post.  These delectable delights include handmade Italian wine biscuits, biscotti, and tiramisu, Boston creme, NY cheesecake, and cannoli cupcakes!  Again, all proceeds benefit PASA.  

GONDOLIER EVENTS:  La Gondola has invited any and all gondoliers from across America to join us for the inaugural GondOlympics.  Due to a conflict with the Vogalonga in Venice, which occurs on the very same day, many gondoliers have had to express their regrets that they cannot make the trip (or be in two places at once.)  However, in addition to Providence's own gondoliers, a number of others are expected from as close as Boston, MA and as far away as the Pacific coast!  All are welcome, and acknowledgment of the full list of participating gondoliers is coming soon.  

3:15p - After the greeting and welcome of all of the visiting gondoliers to Providence, two of the boats will head down river to the Crawford Street Bridge, at which there will be gondola sprint races.  Heats commence immediately, semis and finals to follow.  It's a head-to-head format; if you win, you move on.  The sprints will be approximately 100 meters in length, and are an exciting event to behold and an exhausting event for the gondoliers!

4:45p - After the sprint races are over, one gondola will be used to have slalom races against time, using the WaterFire braziers as obstacles and racing up one block of the river, bridge-to-bridge, from Steeple Street Bridge to Exchange Street Bridge.  One extra person will be placed in the bow of the racing gondola, for safety, and to watch out for scrapes against the braziers, which will result in penalty time added to the gondolier's time.  

6:00p - Following the end of the slalom event, all gondoliers present will be invited to participate in a relay race down and up the river.  The race will begin at the Waterplace Bridge, the gateway to Waterplace Park, and two boats will race down to the Crawford Street Bridge and back up to the Exchange Street Bridge, just past the Gondola Landing.

1. Teams will be chosen by two captains, and all participating gondoliers must remain in their gondola at all times.  
2. Gondoliers must be changed at minimum under every bridge.
3. No other gondolier is allowed to propel the boat besides the one rowing in the stern.  
4. The team that has the inside (Memorial Boulevard / Downtown) lane down the river must travel up river on the outside (Main Street / East Side) lane, and vice versa, with the turnaround happening anywhere outside of Crawford Street Bridge.

Trick rowing (rowing backwards, three-point turns, and all other manner of rowing arts) will occur as time permits after the relays, as well as introductory demonstrations to all interested visitors at the Gondola Landing.

Awards Ceremony / Closing Remarks
6:45p - Acknowledgment of the fastest and most skilled individual and team of gondoliers, with a closing given by one of the gondoliers.

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