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I was born and raised in Providence. In the early 1980s, I headed north to Boston for college. When I left, Providence was in disarray. Broken-down. Sad. Though I could easily travel to Rhode Island in a shade over an hour, I rarely spent time in the tiny U.S. jewel. When I did visit family and friends, I always encouraged them to drive north to experience all the art, culture and excitement that Boston had to offer. Every summer I received at least one invitation to WaterFire. “Downtown Providence is transformed. You’ll love it.” I heard repeatedly.

Inevitably, summer would cool into autumn and snow was falling before I gave the invitation a second thought. Then, toward the end of the summer of 2010, a friend who lives on the South Coast of Massachusetts said to me, “It’s a beautiful night for WaterFire. Let’s go.”

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