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Saturday, September 20, 2014

What's Burning?

As odd as it's sounds, it's the water in downtown Providence, RI — it's been happening every year for the past 20 years.


And, it's an event we witnessed for the first time last night. Yes, we are on a(nother) road trip and a visit with the grandkids here.

Called WaterFire, it's the city's signature event. This fire sculpture installation on the three rivers (WoonasquatucketMoshassuck, and Providence Rivers) in downtown Providence was created by local artist Barnaby Evans and has been cited as the most popular work of art created in the state capital's history. Evans created First Fire in 1994 as a commission to celebrate the 10th anniversary of First Night Providence. In 1996, he created Second Fire for the International Sculpture Conference.


Art supporters urged Evans to create an on-going fire installation and eventually established WaterFire as a non-profit arts organization. With the support of volunteers, corporate contributions, visitors donations, plus city and state support, WaterFire regularly illuminates the cityscape and includes music from around the world.  In 1997, WaterFire expanded to 42 braziers attracting an estimated 350,000 people during 13 lightings. In response to growing attendance, it increased to 81 braziers in 1998, and 97 in 1999. The 1999 season culminated with 100 bonfires in a special WaterFire lighting for the millennium celebrations.


WaterFire centers around a series of over 80 bonfires ablaze above the surface of the three rivers at Full Lighting WaterFire events. This string of fires illuminates two-thirds of a mile of city public spaces and parks. Boats pass between the flames as the fire tenders attend to the fires from sunset to midnight during Full Lightings. (Yes, including a gondola, a bit pricey at $125, but then you do get really close-up fire views.)


There's also smaller Basin Fire WaterFire lightings are a smaller version of the event with the lighting of less than 30 total 22 braziers in the Waterplace Park Basin. The fires are light shortly after midnight and remain lit until 11 p.m. 


This year, WaterFire will be held twice a month, May through November, usually on Saturday nights, but sometimes on Fridays which was lucky for us even though we only saw the smaller Basin WaterFire (this time). We're looking forward to seeing the full lighting on a future visit, and with the grandkids living close by we will be back.

How is your weekend going?

17 comments:

Out on the prairie said...

This is very unusual. I would like to see it live.

thecottagebythecranelaketwo said...

It must look really nice in real but I'm not sure I would want to get that close as those gondolas are :-)

Have a great day!
Christer.

Sandra said...

it is gorgeous and very unique and i would like to see it...

gigihawaii said...

Lovely photos!

Montanagirl said...

Spectacular! Nice job on the photos!

William Kendall said...

That's an idea I've never heard of before. The fire on the water makes for a beautiful effect!

A Quiet Corner said...

A wonderful night for all...big and liitle!...:)JP

Emma Springfield said...

That is truly beautiful. Isn't it amazing what artistic people conjure in their minds to make us appreciate our world?

Daisy said...

What an interesting tradition. The fire looks so pretty reflected by the water. This would be neat to see.

Elaine said...

What an unusual event! It's really amazing the creativity that goes into establishing an event like this.

diane b said...

That is an exciting event so is spending time with grand kids.

Michelle said...

You captured it well!

NCmountainwoman said...

That is really impressive. Can't imagine how great it would be to see it in person.

W. Latane Barton said...

That was really interesting, Beatrice. I love seeing unusual things. Have fun on your trip.

Debbie said...

it looks soooo pretty. you captured some beautiful images!!!

Gail Dixon said...

What a fun and unusual activity. Would love to visit RI some day. Thank you for the lovely photos!!

Ginnie said...

I have never heard about this and find it fascinating. I have friends in that area and can't believe that they haven't sent pictures to me. Thanks.

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