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November 10, 2018 – WaterFire Salute to Veterans

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Full Lighting – Sunset 4:30 pm
Lighting time – 5:30 pm
State House Ceremony – 4:00 pm on the South Steps
Veterans Resource Fair – Opens at 3:00 pm
Music Program

The 2018 WaterFire Salute to Veterans is made possible by –

Silver Star Sponsors: Bank of America and National Grid


Bank of America



National Grid


Bronze Star Sponsors: Dominion Energy
Torch Salute Ceremony is presented by the Official Watch of the 2018 WaterFire Salute to Veterans: Benrus
State House Ceremony Sponsor: Citizens Bank
Veterans Resource Fair Presenting Sponsor: The Providence VA Medical Center
Veterans Resource Fair Contributing Sponsors: Citizens Bank, Tuggie the Patriot Pup, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick, Verizon, Benrus

With special thanks to Fireworks Catering, Chase Canopy, and Golden Gate Studios

This WaterFire lighting will light up over eighty-five braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park. Lighting will start at 5:30 pm and the event will continue until 11:00 pm.

Torch procession and WaterFire Lighting Ceremony

2017 Torch Salute procession leaving the State House, photograph by John Nickerson.

The public is invited to join us in front of the State House steps where the Opening Ceremonies will begin at 4:00 pm –  Among the speakers will be Director of the Office of Veteran Affairs Kasim Yarn, Capt. Ian Johnson, Commanding Officer of NS Newport, Major General Christopher P. Callahan, and special Keynote speaker Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup. Followed by an enlistment ceremony and swearing in of new recruits of the different military branches. We will present the colors, sing the National Anthem, and honor our Veterans.

The WaterFire lighting will be kicked off with a spectacular Salute to Veterans Torch Procession and Ring of Fire in Waterplace Basin.  Starting at about 5:15 pm, veterans from our community will process into Waterplace Basin led by the RI Professional Firefighters Pipes and Drums. Here they will join their brothers and sisters in arms to surround the basin in a ring of fire ceremony with a presentation of the colors as the National Anthem and a full music program is played by the Navy Band Northeast Rhode Island Sound and the Governor’s own Army 88th Band on the basin stage.

WaterFire Providence Veterans Resource Fair

Flag display at the 2015 Veterans Resource Fair, photograph by Paul Struck.

Flag display at the 2015 Veterans Resource Fair. Photograph by Paul Struck.

The WaterFire Providence Veterans Resource Fair on Washington Street and Washington Street Bridge is presented by sponsors, Providence VA Medical Center and supported by contributing sponsors Citizens Bank, Tuggie the Patriot Pup, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, Verizon, and Benrus.

Located on Washington Street and the Washington Street Bridge and opening at 3:00 pm, the Veterans Resource Fair will feature organizations from across Rhode Island dedicated to providing services to veterans and their families. WaterFire invites Veterans, their families, and the public to come and learn about all of the amazing resources available to them – from medical care and job transition services to educational programs and Veteran’s family services. Organizations include West Bay Community Action, Team RWB, Mission 22, United Way 2-1-1, Korean War Veterans Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rhode Island Military Organization, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Veterans Assembled Electronics, Hope Health Hospice, CurrentCare, Granite Recovery Centers and Guitars For Vets.

The Providence VA  along with the Veterans Benefits Regional Office will have an entire area dedicated to enrolling veterans in the VA healthcare system. Veterans and their families can learn about all the healthcare offerings the Medical Center has and learn about benefits such as education and home loans from the Benefits Regional Office.

World War I Storytelling Tent: The Storytelling Tent will offer storytelling for all ages in a conversational way. Matthew Baldwin McCoy, state coordinator for the RI World War I Centennial Commission will be on hand with a collection of artifacts and memorabilia from WWI. Scenes from PBS’ America Experience – The Great War will be screened throughout the evening. Children’s book author Lauren E. Kelley will be doing a book reading and signing of Tuggie the Patriot Pup. Local Veterans will be sharing stories from the past and present. All Veterans and their family members are invited to share their story or dedication in and between the pre-scheduled program.

Learn about more activities on the WaterFire Salute to Veterans website.

The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza

The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza on Washington Street. Photo by Jennifer Bedford.

The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza, in partnership with Bryce Studio, returns to Washington Street and Steeple Street for the 2018 WaterFire Providence season. The Arts Festival Plaza and will be active from 6:00 – 11:00 p.m. This outdoor artisan fair will showcase some of the great artwork created in Rhode Island in mediums such as glass, photography, sculpture, jewelry and more. The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza will offer visitors the opportunity to purchase artwork by Rhode Island-based artists.

Visit the WaterFire Marketplace on Canal Street and help light up Providence. Support WaterFire with a donation or a purchase of locally designed apparel, glassware, books, and gifts. Pin where you are from on Map Center’s maps and watch glass blowing demonstrations by Gather Glass.

Grab a bite to eat! Visit one of our great food vendors:


Washington Street

On the River Walk between College and Washington Streets



College Street


The Steeple Street Unplugged Stage

Bernard John

Bernard John

Bernard John will be performing a mix of folk and rock in three sets on Steeple Street: 6:30 – 7:15 pm, 7:45 – 8:30 pm, and 8:45 – 9:15 pm. Direct and sincere, Bernard John writes songs for both the heartbreakers and the broken-hearted. His voice and lyrics powerfully fill a room without any hint of restraint. If melancholy is the bread, then hope is the butter. That is the unrestricted fight for balance his music brings, and it is a fight he knows all too well.

Visit Starry, Starry Night

Starry, Starry Night. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.

Starry, Starry Night. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.

The Starry, Starry Night Installation will shine brightly in Memorial Park. Join thousands of WaterFire visitors in Memorial Park where the public is encouraged to add their own light to the night. For a small donation to WaterFire, make a wish upon a star or make dedication with a luminaria candle lantern in the park. The park will be aglow with hanging blue stars and a constellation of twinkling luminaria candle lanterns below.

WaterFire’s favorite characters are back!

Andrew Lindsay lights the braziers on the Wall in Memorial Park. Photograph by Shaun Martins-Torres.

Andrew Lindsay lights the braziers on the Wall in Memorial Park. Photograph by Shaun Martins-Torres.

Fire spinners, Michael Kevin Farrell and Andrew Lindsay, from Cirque de Light, will dazzle you with their breathtaking performances throughout the night.

Andrew Anselmo

Origami Master Andrew Anselmo will delight crowds of all ages near the RISD auditorium.

Sidewalk Astronomy, photograph by Scott MacNeil.

Sidewalk Astronomy will offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the stars and planets in the sky. Stop by their learning lab on the riverwalk near College Street.

Charge up with National Grid

Photo by Tom Lincoln

Make sure you can capture the magic of WaterFire all evening long by visiting National Grid charging stations on College Street and Steeple Street to recharge your smartphone and other mobile devices during the lighting.

Step back through history at the Governor Stephen Hopkins House

Governor Stephen Hopkins HouseMake time to see The Governor Stephen Hopkins House located at 15 Hopkins Street (off Benefit Street). They are open for tours: Wednesdays from 11:00 2:00 p.m. and April through November on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. & until 10:00 p.m., when they fall on a full WaterFire lighting (the last tour begins at 9:30 p.m.).

Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

The museum is also open by appointment, for which there may be a modest admission charge. Please email to make an appointment.


About the author

Interactive Media Manager at WaterFire Providence | + posts by author

I've worked at WaterFire Providence since 2003. For the first 9 years of my career, I worked in the Production Shop learning all of the details that go into the physical production of the event. In 2012 transitioned to the role of managing WaterFire's social media and web presence. I now head up WaterFire Providence's digital projects including, web, social, databases, and our physical IT infrastructure.

9 thoughts on “November 10, 2018 – WaterFire Salute to Veterans”

  1. I had the honor to attend the Salute to Veterans last night,but I was wondering why there wasn’t any collective pins given out?? I’ve saved the last 3 years they I’ve attended!! The are in my American Flag case with a flag flown in Afghanistan!! Now, I have nothing to show for the year 2018!!

    1. Hi Paul, we missed the deadline to order the pins this year. We are going to be sending out thank you letters to all participants that will include either a lapel pin or honor coin. I’m not sure which one we’ve decided to get yet. Thanks for your service and thanks for supporting WaterFire Providence.

      1. Paul… Never received the letter with the pin nor found the pictures? Can you send me the letter, pin and coin? And point me to site with the pictures?
        15 Oak St
        North Providence, RI 02911

        Thank you so much!

        1. Hi James,

          Here is the link to the photo album from that event –

          I’m not sure what the status is with the Thank You letters. It would seem like they should have been already. I am attempting to follow up with our development team associate that was coordinating last years event. I will follow up with you when I know more.

          Thanks for supporting Waterfire Providence.

          Best regards, Tim

  2. I carried a torch in the event and was wondering if there was a place where pictures might be of the veterans that participated? Thank you

  3. Alfred "Gus" Pagel

    My name is Gus Pagel, I am 88 years old and I think I was the oldest person carrying a torch. I was the first in line on the left behind the dignitaries. When we got to the water, we went all the way to the left, while there the photographer took my picture. Lots of friends saw my picture on TV. Is it possible to see that video? I think it was on facebook? Is it possible to get a copy?

    Thank You! Gus

    PS I hope to carry a torch in 2019 which will be the 5th time.

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