Full WaterFire Lighting

(6.1) The WaterFire season kicks off Saturday night at sunset with the ignition of over eighty braziers, with onshore programming starting at 6:30pm. The first full lighting of the 2024 season is set to honor the commencement of RISD’s class of 2024 and celebrate the school’s reunion weekend.

Has it been 30 years? In a recent mailing, WaterFire founder and executive artistic director Barnaby Evans recalled the sculpture’s humble beginnings: “Three decades ago, on New Year’s Eve, I welded together some fire pits, stuck them on stilts in the Woonasquatucket River, and set them on fire.” Those new to the city may not realize that this installation was originally meant to be temporary. But the people had other ideas, and here we are 30 years later.

On tap for Saturday night: Fire-spinning performances by Cirque de Light; origami master Andrew Anselmo; music from Funkademic; and don’t miss the Starry, Starry Night installation down at Memorial Park where Ten31 Productions will be illuminating the World War Monument. (Not sure what “illuminating” means. In the past, they have supplied the living statues — those oracles, valkyries, and gargoyles dispensing fortunes and looking cool. These are popular with the kids who sometimes find them a little intimidating and may need a shove.)

New this year: WaterFire Access Boat rides are now available to reserve for June 1 and throughout the lighting season. The WaterFire Access Program is a water taxi that provides an experience of the artwork for children and adults with disabilities.

This past winter, the WaterFire community lost a dear friend, Michael Grando, who brought his gentle spirit to WaterFire for over two decades. The community is invited to join an observance with the Eastern Medicine Singers and a drum circle in his honor at 7:30pm in Memorial Park. WaterFire’s traditional observance of the Memorial Canoe, followed by Michael’s Thai boat, will depart Waterplace Basin around 8:55pm on its voyage down the entire river.

Make a donation and keep the fires burning!

Ignition at sunset, 8:14pm to 11pm, Saturday, June 1, WaterFire, downtown along the river

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Providence Daily Dose