photo © Adam Zaff Photography

The opening weekend of the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover drew more than 28,000 visitors to the Race Village at Fort Adams State Park.

The past weekend drew a combined 28,712 visitors. Since the village opened on Tuesday, May 5, a total of 48,360 people have visited.

“These numbers are beyond our expectations and even more impressive since the race crews had the weekend off,” said Brad Read, Executive Director of Sail Newport, a co-host of the stopover. “We’re looking forward to similarly large crowds at the end of this week, when we’ll have four consecutive days of racing on Narragansett Bay, capped by the start of Leg 7 on Sunday.”

The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover is the only North American stopover of the globe-girdling race and the first time that the race has visited Newport, R.I.

The past weekend’s crowds were due in part to Saturday’s opening of the Exploration Zone, a marine-themed educational experience with 22 exhibits and interactive displays from 20 partners. Sunday had activities geared towards Mother’s Day, such as yoga. Other activities for kids included bumper boats, a bubble soccer tournament, and face painting.

Visitors could also view the Volvo Ocean 65 race boats, both in the water and a unique cross-section onshore, or tour Rhode Island’s official educational vessel, the Oliver Hazard Perry.

The coming week sees the focus of the stopover return to the water. Tuesday and Wednesday, May 12-13, features the MetLife Combat Wounded and Injured Veterans Regatta, with 14 veterans sailing for skippers of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Thursday, May 14, sees the Volvo crews return to the water for a day of practice racing and the first Pro-Am Race. Friday the crews will participate in two more Pro-Am races. The Team Vestas Wind In-Port Race Newport is slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 16. The Volvo Ocean Race Leg 7 start to Portugal is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 17.