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WaterFire Providence

3 Ratings: 4.3
WaterFire is a popular environmental art installation created by Barnaby Evans in Providence, Rhode Island.

WaterFire Providence®, the award-winning sculpture by Barnaby Evans installed on the three rivers of downtown Providence, has been praised by Rhode Island residents and international visitors alike as a powerful work of art and a moving symbol of … see full wiki

1 review about WaterFire Providence

Tens of thousands of people from all over New England descend on Providence for WaterFire!

  • Aug 8, 2009
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Having spent my entire life here in Rhode Island I can tell you that 25 years ago Downtown Providence was a run-down, dreary place.  In those days if you did happen to run into someone after dark there was a pretty fair chance that the person was up to no good and furthermore your own personal safety may have been in jeopardy.  Thankfully, much of this has changed due to the hard work and vision of a coalition of government officials, business interests, concerned citizens and one very talented artist.  His name is Barnaby Evans.  Back in 1994, Evans came up with an extraordinary idea for a sculpture to be installed on the three rivers that criss-cross the city.  He called his work "WaterFire".  Perhaps more than anything else "WaterFire" has sparked the rejunvenation of Providence and its people.  "WaterFire" truly is a fun and very unique experience. 

The very first "WaterFire" was lit on New Years Eve in 1994.  It was relatively small but the response was overwhelming.  People were positively enchanted by what Barnaby Evans had created.  About a year and a half later Evans presented the second "WaterFire" to coincide with an International Arts Festival going on in the city.  People began to talk about making "WaterFire" an on-going installation.  So just what is "WaterFire" anyway?  To quote the website:  "WaterFire is one hundred sparkling bonfires, the fragrant scent of aromatic wood smoke, the flickering firelight on the arched bridges, the silhouettes of the firetenders passing by the flames, the torch-lit vessels traveling down the river, and the enchanting music from around the world engage all the senses and emotions of those who stroll the paths of Waterplace Park. WaterFire has captured the imagination of over ten million visitors, bringing life to downtown, and revitalizing Rhode Island’s capital city." The "WaterFire" is lit at sunset and burns until about 1:00 A.M. Sound impressive?  Believe me it is.

Each year between May and October "WaterFire" is presented about 15 times.  The lightings are usually on the weekend but occasionally "WaterFire" is presented during the week when there is a large convention or meeting in town.  Delegates to the 2009 U.S. Conference of Mayors in June were treated a an extra special presentation of "WaterFire" that featured thousands of luminaries hanging from the trees in the Downtown area.  In addition to the sculpture itself  visitors can count on a number of other activities taking place on a "WaterFire" night.  Live jazz is presented at the Verizon Jazz Stage and  on many evenings there is Ballroom Dancing in the streets of the city.  And since Providence is noted as a great restaurant city there is plenty of fabulous food as well.  What I enjoy most about "WaterFire" is that it attracts people of all ages and economic circumstances.   Everyone has a great time at "WaterFire"!   Average attendance is around 45,000 but on some nights that number can swell to nearly 100,000!  If you are going to be anywhere near Providence, RI during the summer months I urge you plan your trip around  "WaterFire".  t is an experience that you will never forget!   Very highly recommended!
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August 11, 2009
Wow sounds like quite a spectacle! Even though I grew up in New England, I have spent very little time in Providence. I'll have to include WaterFire next time I go :)
August 09, 2009
I've only been to WaterFire once but it was a very memorable experience. It was my cousins wedding, and in the evening instead of going home after the reception we went to downtown all dressed in evening gowns. It was a lot of fun! Have you visited downtown Boston's Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway yet? Not as impressive, but still worth a trip.
August 08, 2009
I've never been to Providence but would love to come to Waterfire.....sounds like a lot of fun. Glad to hear that your city has made a comeback. St. Louis has tried so many times with its wharf area, but just can't keep it going. When Cervantes was mayor here, it was the most successful.
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