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November 2, 2019 – WaterFire Salute to Veterans

Community Heroes Series || WaterFire Salute to Veterans
Saturday, November 2

Honoring our veterans for the 7th Annual WaterFire Salute to Veterans event.

The Veterans Resource Fair will open at 3:00 pm
Arts Fairs, Food Vendors, and Special Performances and Events start at 3:00 pm
Sunset at 5:39 pm; the fires will remain lit until 10:00 pm
Music Program

Sponsored in part by National Grid, Starwood Energy Group, the Providence VA Medical Center, Citizens Bank, The Boston Globe, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, Arcadia Power, and Pranzi Tents & Events. With additional support from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, Rob Levine & Associates, Rhode Island Quality Institute, and Team RWB.

All Full WaterFire installations light up over eighty braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park. Lighting occurs shortly after sunset and this event will continue until 10:00 pm.

The Seventh Annual WaterFire Salute to Veterans

Photograph by Jeff Meunier.
Photograph by Jeff Meunier.

Opening Ceremonies

The WaterFire Salute to Veterans Opening Ceremonies will consist of two parts. The Opening Ceremonies begin at 4:00 pm at the RI State House with a speaking led by Kasim Yarn, Director, Rhode Island Office of Veterans Affairs. Dora Vasquez-Hellner, Junior Vice Commander Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Rhode Island, is our 2019 Keynote Speaker for the WaterFire Salute to Veterans Opening Ceremonies at the Rhode Island State House.

Starting at 5:45 pm 150 Veterans will march from the State House steps to Waterplace Park Basin led by the Rhode Island Professional Firefighters Pipes and Drums. This will be followed immediately at 6:00 pm Salute to Veterans Lighting Ceremony in Waterplace Basin with performances by the Navy Band Northeast and the Army 88th Band.

Starting at 6:18 pm in Waterplace Park Basin there will be a Memorial Canoe Ceremony on the River. The Memorial Canoe ceremony honors and remembers our fallen heroes.

The WaterFire Salute to Veterans event is a collaborative, community-wide celebration, whose mission is to honor and recognize all United States veterans, active and reserve military personnel and families for their service, sacrifice and contributions to this nation, and to organize, exhibit and highlight the wealth of veteran-oriented organizations and services available to them.

WaterFire Salute to Veterans Resource Fair and Special Events

From 4:15 – 5:00 pm, prior to the lighting ceremony in the Waterplace Park Basin, there will be a WaterFire Salute to Veterans pre-show featuring the Rhode Island Sound, Navy Band Northeast’s Rock Band.

From 3:00 – 10:00 the Veterans Resource Fair transforms Washington Street and Washington Street Bridge into an informational and educational center featuring organizations from across Rhode Island dedicated to providing services to veterans and their families.

  • Participants on Washington Street Bridge include the Women Who Serve(d) Exhibition presented by National Grid, Veterans Mobile Unit, Citizens Bank, Arcadia Power, Rob Levine & Associates, RI Quality Institute, Team RWB, Department of Labor and Training Veterans Program, and the Skills for Rhode Island’s Future Job Fair with 5 RI companies recruiting Veterans; participating companies include: RaytheonBoston Energy Wind Power Services, Inc., and AstroNova, Inc.
  • Participants on Upper Washington Street: Veterans Administration Information Tent.

From 3:00 – 9:00 pm there will be a display of classic and current Military Vehicles on the College Street Bridge.

Sunset – 9:00 pm Memorial Tributes and Dedications in Memorial Park. Monuments will be lit in honor of all of our Veterans. Wreaths will be placed at the World War, WWII, and Korean War memorials. Starting at approximately 6:35 pm buglers will play taps throughout Memorial Park. Read more about the Memorial Tributes and Dedications in Memorial Park.

Additional details will be posted as they become available. Learn more about the WaterFire Salute to Veterans.

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, is happening again on both Washington Street and Steeple Street from 3:00 – 10:00 pm., 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 support the local arts economy by purchasing work 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 by Gather Glass.

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

WaterFire’s Favorite Characters Are Back

Fire Dancing on the River

From sunset until 9:00 pm fire dancer Amanda Salemi will be performing at various locations along the river.

Fire dancer Amanda Salemi. Photograph by Tara Emsly.

Origami Demos in Market Square

From sunset until 9:00 pm Origami Master Andrew Anselmo will be turning paper into magic outside the RISD Auditorium in Market Square.

Origami Master Andrew Anselmo at WaterFire. Photograph by Drew Christhilf.

Dream Orbs in the Waterplace Park Basin

Dream Orbs. Photograph by Armin Kososki.

Dream Orbs on the Bridge of Stars in Waterplace Park from 4:30 – 8:30 pm. From sunset until 10:00 make a wish and add your light to the night by releasing a glowing blue orb into the waters of Providence’s rivers.

Steeple Street Unplugged Music Stage

Hollow Turtle

From 5:30 – 9:30 pm the Steeple Street Music Stage will feature vocal harmonies with a spin on traditional bluegrass style by Hollow Turtle (Music Sets: 6:30 – 7:15 pm, 7:30 – 8:15 pm, 8:30 – 9:15 pm).

Hollow Turtle is a folk/bluegrass band out of Warren, RI made up of James and Joseph Cappelletti, Nick Preite, Ben Richard, and Alfie Purcell.

Enter to Win!

From 4:00 – 9:00 stop by Disney’s Aladdin, The Hit Broadway Musical, Table in front of the RISD Auditorium; Enter for a chance to win a family four-pack of tickets at the Providence Performing Arts Center plus a prize pack of merchandise from the show.

Salute To Veterans Bronze Star sponsor Arcadia Power will be raffling off a new Google Home Mini at the event on November 2, 2019. Stop by their tent on the Washington Street Bridge and enter for your chance to win! The winner will be selected and notified on November 3.

Step back through history at the Governor Stephen Hopkins House

Governor Stephen Hopkins House

Make 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 7:00 p.m., when they fall on a full WaterFire lighting (the last tour begins at 6:30 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

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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.

7 thoughts on “November 2, 2019 – WaterFire Salute to Veterans”

  1. Hello,

    I am a Senior at North Smith field High School, RI, and we have a school newspaper that I am a part of. While looking for an article to write about I came across this ceremony which I have never heard about and I was expediently intrigued. I already love the concept of honoring the brave who fight for our freedom, but also my father is a veteran and had a tour in Iraq for a year, so I have a profound respect for veterans. I also have a friend, Autumn Casey, who is a part of our school newspaper and she is performing with the Navy Band on Saturday, November 2nd. I plan on coming down that day to come see the ceremony and hopefully can get a chance to whomever I am writing to, I’d imagine that to be Barnaby Evans.


    Ryan Pariseau

    1. Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for your support and interest in the WaterFire Salute to Veterans. Barnaby’s schedule on the night our events is pretty tight. If you’d like to arrange an interview I’d suggest to reach out to him via email ( You may also want to reach out to Jerry Suggs ( our Manager of Educational Programming and Partnerships, he may be able to help you with some background info on WaterFire and the Salute to Veterans event (and with getting a hold of Barnaby). All the best, Tim

  2. I’m very glad to be in town for your seventh annual WaterFire salute to Veterans. The music is extraordinarily good, the night calm and clear, and it’s a very-friendly crowd. We all want to let our our veterans know how much their dedication and courage mean to the nation!

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