WaterFire Providence Proudly Presents Our 2021 WaterFire Season Schedule!

Fires illuminate the faces of the crowd in Waterplace Park during a WaterFire lighting in 2018. Photograph by Jen Bonin.
Fires illuminate the faces of the crowd in Waterplace Park during a WaterFire lighting in 2018. Photograph by Jen Bonin.

The world-class art experience you know and love is back with at least 9 lightings from September through December!

We are pleased to announce the 2021 WaterFire season which currently includes four (4) full lightings and five (5) partial lightings. The season will open with a full lighting thanking COVID Heroes on Saturday, September 4th (Labor Day Weekend). Other lightings will include WaterFire’s 25th Birthday Celebration; a BIPOC Arts, Technology and Business Night; WaterFire Salute to Veterans, and the return of a WaterFire for the Holidays in December.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 marked the first year in WaterFire Providence’s 25 year history that there were no lightings but thanks to support from the State of Rhode Island through Commerce RI and American Rescue Plan Funding from the City of Providence, WaterFire returns in 2021.


2021 WaterFire Lightings:

Saturday, September 4 (Labor Day Weekend)
Thanking COVID Heroes including Essential Workers
Full lighting

Saturday, September 18
Celebrating Educational Excellence in Rhode Island
with the Rhode Island Department of Education &
XQ Institute
Partial lighting

Friday, September 24
Supported by University of Rhode Island
URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement
Partial lighting

Saturday, October 2
“Then. Now. Next: 50 Years of Women at Providence College”
Supported by Providence College
Full lighting

Saturday, October 16
Supported by BIPOC Arts, Technology and Business and Brown University
Full lighting

Wednesday, October 27
WaterFire’s 25th Birthday Celebration!
Supported by the RI Manufacturers Association
Partial lighting

Saturday, November 6
9th Annual WaterFire Salute to Veterans
Full lighting

Saturday, December 4
WaterFire Celebrates the Holidays
Partial lighting

Get the 2021 WaterFire Season Schedule as a PDF or iCal subscription.


“We couldn’t be happier or more excited about getting back downtown and on the river to make the magic of WaterFire happen,” said Peter A. Mello, WaterFire Providence’s managing director and coCEO. “In addition to the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence, we are grateful that many other businesses and organizations have stepped up to make the 2021 season possible.”

WaterFire Providence thanks our 2021 WaterFire Season Supporters:

WaterFire Providence would like to thank our 2021 WaterFire Season Supporters for their ongoing support: State of Rhode Island, Governor Daniel J. McKee; Rhode Island Commerce; The City of Providence, Mayor Jorge Elorza; The Providence City Council; The Rhode Island General Assembly; Providence College; Providence Tourism Council; Rhode Island State Council of the Arts; XQ Institute; University of Rhode Island; Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC; Brown University; Bank Newport; Fidelity Investments; Textron Charitable Trust; IGT; Rhode Island Department of Education; The Beatrice; Amica Insurance; GRoW @ Annenberg; Starwood Energy; The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation; Tufts Health Plan; Cox Communications; Cross Insurance; National Grid; Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau; US Rubber Lofts a Brady Sullivan Property; Cox Media; Rhode Island Monthly Communications, Inc.; WPRI 12 & FOX Providence & The Rhode Show; Admiral Packaging; Collard Enterprises, Inc.; Raps Auto Parts Supply, Inc.; and Porch.com.

“We are all tremendously grateful for the outpouring of public support for WaterFire from the entire community and our many hospitality partners. As an entirely admission-free event, WaterFire continues to be hard hit by the challenges of the COVID crisis and with the community’s ongoing support we pledge to be here to literally keep the home fires burning.” Barnaby Evans, Executive Artistic Director.

With additional support, WaterFire may be able to announce additional lightings and programming – watch for updates on the WaterFire Providence website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

About the author

Interactive Media Manager at | + 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.

34 thoughts on “WaterFire Providence Proudly Presents Our 2021 WaterFire Season Schedule!”

        1. WaterFire lightings usually begin around sunset. During previous years various on-shore programming (art festival, food vendors, etc.) would accompany each event, this year will be more streamlined. Details about each event will be added the week before each event.

            1. Hi! Coming into town October 16th and never been there. What time does it start (not sure what time sunset is there) also is there plenty of public parking close by? is it free? Any I do would be appreciated. Can’t wait!

              1. At full lightings, the whole entire river installation is lit (about 6 blocks/half a mile). Partial lightings are just one section of the river (usually the basin in Waterplace Park). In prior years a Full Lighting would include lots of onshore programming as well. As we recover from the pandemic all of our events, full/partial, will be streamlined with a minimum of onshore programming.

              1. We’re still working on getting all of our equipment back into the river and getting our audio system upgraded and up and running. We didn’t get to start doing any of this work until July and what we would normally spend 4 months doing we are now trying to do in six weeks. While there are no WaterFire lightings happening downtown we do have a lot of programming happening at the WaterFire Arts Center.

                1. Hi, Tim. We’ve never been either, so I’m trying to understand logistics and how people view this along the water. We are parents to a couple of PC Friars. Is there a section for Providence College? Or do we just try to grab a small parcel of pavement overlooking the water to view the sights?

                  1. Yes, there are many vantage points along the river walk to enjoy the fires and hear the music. The event is designed for walking and moving along the walkways to take in the spectacle from many different points of view.

                2. Ann/Bege koroghlian

                  Hello from a native Rhode.
                  Never been to WaterFires.
                  I’ll make it this year 2021.
                  Staying at Omni hotel on September 4 and plan to attend this event.
                  Can I walk from Omni hotel to the banks of the river to get up close to the water fires?
                  I’m a senior citizen. Thanks.

                  1. Hi Ann, you can definitely walk. The Omni is one of the closest hotels to the event site. Waterplace Basin is about two blocks from the hotel. You can take the Sky Bridge to Providence Place or walk up Francis Street from the hotel’s front entrance.

                3. Hi,
                  Traveling from VA and Picking up children from CT on 9/24th for this
                  Is the Partial Lighting still fun to Watch vs Full? Does the food + and other vendors comes to Partial Lighting too to entertain? Do we also do Water Lantern?
                  Above dates are confirmed, rights?

                  1. Hi Fahad, due to public health concerns we aren’t doing vendors at any of the lightings this year. Full and Partial lightings incorporate the best of the atmosphere of WaterFire, the partial lightings are just on a smaller scale. There are a great many restaurants within walking distance of the event location so it’s a great activity for families to enjoy together. Eat dinner and then walk over a check out WaterFire for a little while.

                  1. Yes. And also, not exactly. There is a WaterFire Lighting on October 2 and the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation is doing their Flames of Hope event at the State House on October 2. But the events are technically separate. It’s kind of complicated because due to the pandemic we couldn’t plan our event schedule until almost August and they needed to plan their event earlier. So the events are happening at the same time, but they won’t overlap like in years past.

                  1. Yes. And also, not exactly. There is a WaterFire Lighting on October 2 and the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation is doing their Flames of Hope event at the State House on October 2. But the events are technically separate. It’s kind of complicated because due to the pandemic we couldn’t plan our event schedule until almost August and they needed to plan their event earlier. So the events are happening at the same time, but they won’t overlap like in years past.

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