If the scenes coming out of Naples are any indication, Newport could soon be in for quite a show when the America's Cup World Series comes to town this June.
Just consider the opening act: On Monday, the day after Easter, an estimated 250,000 people crammed along the waterfront of the Italian port city in anticipation of the start of the event.
The turnout is thought to be the largest crowd that the series has seen since its debut last year in Portugal.
By Wednesday, though the crowds had thinned, the excitement was only building, as the first day of racing got under way under bright blue skies and stiff breeze that seemed tailor-made for the AC45.
Hoping to capitalize on the spectacle, local ACWS organizers hosted a media breakfast and tour of Fort Adams to coincide with the start. The morning began with live streaming coverage of the regatta that was projected onto a giant screen overlooking the race course from the ballroom at Ocean Cliff.
To say that the event is shaping up to be a highlight of the season would be an understatement.
Already, the promise of international media exposure and world-class visitors that are expected to come here for what will be the culmination of the inaugural ACWS, is paying off.
Brad Read, the executive director of Sail Newport, perhaps said it best when he remarked on Wednesday: "Newport is synonymous with the America's Cup; we even have a street named for it."
Indeed, we do. And soon, we'll also have improved infrastructure along our harborfront, a repaved Lower Thames Street, and invaluable exposure for Fort Adams and the work of its caretaker, the Fort Adams Trust.
Given the state's financial footing, could we really have expected such an infusion of outside money if not for the value of the America's Cup?
While there's still much work to be done in the short term, there's also plenty of reason for optimism in the long-term. What's being left behind at the fort, and the impression that will be made over the airwaves, will pay dividends for years to come.
We'll explore that concept more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we suggest seeing for yourself what's to come by visiting www.AmericasCup.com.
On a more somber note, we recognize this week the passing of two influential islanders who proved that public service need not come at an expense to one's dignity or goodwill.
Earlier this week, Sen. June N. Gibbs, a Republican who represented Middletown, Newport, Little Compton and Tiverton during a more than 30-year career in local and state politics, passed away at the age of 89.
Gibbs retired from public service in 2008 after losing re-election to current Sen. Louis P. DiPalma. Respected on both sides of the aisle, Gibbs practiced an earnest kind of politics, which is often lacking today.
Her death was preceded by that of Bruce Lang, the founder of the watchdog group Operation Clean Government.
Dedicated to promoting honest, responsible, and responsive state government in Rhode Island, OCG has become one of the state's most influential non-partisan organizations, made up entirely of volunteers who like Lang, are convinced that we can do better.
That we would lose both of these public servants so close to one another is indeed unfortunate. Let's hope that their examples serve as reminders to those who are considering running for office that politics, as is life, only what you make of it.