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2021 WaterFire Providence Event Schedule

View of Memorial Park and the Wall of Braziers (Photograph by Erin Cuddigan)
A view of Memorial Park and the Wall of Braziers. Photograph by Erin Cuddigan.

COVID-19 Guidance for WaterFire Lightings

WaterFire Providence, in close cooperation with the Rhode Island Department of Health, requests all visitors, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks while attending the WaterFire event. Please remain aware of your surroundings and keep a safe distance from anyone outside your family/pod. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home and get tested as soon as possible. Visit the RIDOH website for additional COVID-19 testing and vaccine information.

2021 WaterFire Season Schedule

Saturday, September 4 (Labor Day Weekend)
Thanking COVID Heroes including Essential Workers
Full lighting – Sunset (7:14 pm) – Midnight
Music Program

Saturday, September 18
Celebrating Educational Excellence in RI with RI Department of Education
Supported by Fidelity Investments
Partial lighting – Sunset (6:49 pm) – 10:30 pm
Music Program

Friday, September 24
Supported by University of Rhode Island
URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement
Partial lighting – Sunset (6:39 pm) – 10:30 pm
Music Program

Saturday, October 2
“Then. Now. Next: 50 Years of Women at Providence College”
Supported by Providence College
Full lighting – 7:00-11:00 pm
Onshore Activities Start at 5:00 p.m.
Music Program

Saturday, October 16
Supported by Papitto Opportunity Foundation and Brown University
Full lighting – Sunset (6:02 pm) – 11:00 pm
Onshore Activities Start at 5:00 p.m.
Music Program

Wednesday, October 27
WaterFire’s 25th Anniversary Celebration!
Supported by the RI Manufacturers Association
Partial lighting – 6:15 pm – 9:30 pm
Music Program

Saturday, November 6
9th Annual WaterFire Salute to Veterans
Full lighting – Sunset (5:33 pm) – 10:00 pm
Veterans Resource Fair Opens at 4:30 pm
Music Program

Saturday, December 4
A Holiday Celebration and Toy Drive at WaterFire
Sponsored by Mutual of America
Basin lighting – Sunset (4:15 pm) – 9:00 pm
Onshore activities begin a 3:30 pm
Music Program

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

This page is the most up-to-date event schedule resource. Stay tuned and thank you for your ongoing support.

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A year without WaterFire was unimaginable.

We faced unprecedented challenges…
We are excited for the return of WaterFire to Downtown Providence later this year…
But we need your help.

Your support of the WaterFire Relief Fund is more vital now that ever!

Braziers and rose petals at WaterFire. Photograph by Armin Kososki.
Braziers and rose petals at WaterFire. Photograph by Armin Kososki.

Thanks to 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; 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

All Full WaterFire lightings light up over eighty braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park on scheduled evenings throughout the season. Lighting occurs shortly after sunset and the fires will remain lit until midnight (unless otherwise noted).

Basin lightings include the circle of twenty-two braziers in the Waterplace Park Basin and the five braziers leading up to the Providence Place Mall.

Partial lightings can include braziers in any section of the river. Partial lightings typically encompass only one section of the river but may include more than one.

As support and sponsorships develop, WaterFire will announce additional lightings and programming – check back for updates here and on our Facebook page and Twitter account.

You can help us keep the fires burning by making a donation to keep the fires burning, joining the Brazier Society of WaterFire Providence, or by becoming a WaterFire Sponsor.

WaterFire Providence’s Plan Your Trip to Providence web page is the #1 resource for up-to-date details about the event, transportation, parking, hotels, restaurants, and other local attractions.

Each year WaterFire attracts nearly 1 million visitors to downtown Providence to experience art in the city. Annually, WaterFire activity creates $113 million in economic output for local businesses, generates over $9 million of tax revenue for the State of Rhode Island, and supports 1,294 jobs for community residents.

Fire marshal regulations do not permit folding chairs to be set up on any of the riverwalks to assure safe passage for all of our visitors. WaterFire is an event to be explored and savored on foot as you wander around to discover its many surprises, leave your chairs in the car, and start exploring all that our event has to offer.

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103 thoughts on “2021 WaterFire Providence Event Schedule”

      1. are there any events scheduled for the weekend of July 10-11, 2021?
        also – do you know when the summer 2021 schedule will be released?
        Thank you so much

        1. Hi Donna,

          There is no summer schedule for 2021. We are planning to resume events in September. Due to the shutdown caused the by covid-19 pandemic we lost our production facility and had to let go of most of our production team. We are regrouping now and raising funds to return later this year. Please consider making a donation to the WaterFire Relief Fund to help us build back better.

      2. Tim,

        Happy spring!

        My family will be visiting from Portland Oregon in September. I realize that nothing is scheduled to date. This said, what weekend are you targeting for the first event? No worries if the dates change…just looking to hedge on the weekend so that we can plan around the possibility.

        Anything you can share, with the understanding that it’s not a “lock” is much appreciated.


        1. Hi, Tim, do you have a rough idea as to when the schedule for 2021 might be finalized?

          I’m trying to schedule a week’s vacation for visitors from Colorado 9/19-9/23/21, and this is the one event I want to make sure we get to see.

          1. Hi Rachel, I don’t have a timeline yet. We’re still trying to figure out how we can ramp up for events starting in September. I can tell you that most WaterFire events take place on Saturdays so your visit timeline would not be likely to coincide with a lighting date.

        1. Not discontinued, but postponed until 2022. Due to reduced staff capacity and for public health reasons our shortened 2021 has been streamlined.

    1. Are there any events scheduled in June 2021 or do you know when a summer 2021 schedule is anticipated to be released?

      1. We are looking at having our first post-pandemic WaterFire lighting in September. There is nothing scheduled right now in June.

        1. AWESOME! I can’t wait to go in September. Your Water Fire Show is spectacular. Thank you for making this happen.

        2. Our bike club from Ohio will be in the area in September. Hoping to stop by and see the fires! I signed up for the newsletter.

          1. Tim Blankenship

            Excellent! We’re planning to resume lightings in September as long as public health conditions permit and we’re able to secure proper funding. Hopefully, the timing will work out for your bike club.

    2. Many, many years ago I was able go to a few WaterFire evenings. My favorite one that felt the most magical was an opera night where people singing opera floated along while all speakers broadcasted their music. I had chills all over my arms. I always wish I could repeat this experience. Do you ever repeat your themes? If so, I would travel the distance to be there!!

      1. Yes, we do repeat some themes over the years. We haven’t done an Opera night at WaterFire for many years, but it’s something we’d do again if we had the opportunity.

          1. Possible, but not likely. In 2020 because of the pandemic and the fact that we completely canceled our 2020 event season we had to lay off our entire production team and mothball all of our boats and equipment. We are currently seeking funding to rebuild our team and find a new shop space in which to work. We are hoping to begin prepping for an abbreviated 2021 event season starting in June. It will take us 3 months to prepare the braziers and our boats and re-installing all of the gear required to produce a WaterFire lighting. We are also still balancing public health requirements and working under pandemic conditions. We’d love to start our lightings in May like we normally do, but WaterFire isn’t something that we can turn on and off like a light switch. We’re planning to start lightings downtown in September. A late August lighting isn’t 100% impossible, but it’s not our current timeframe. Thank you for your support and understanding. If you’d like to make a donation please visit

    3. Are Water Fire events generally scheduled on weekends? Or do they fall on weeknights too? I’ll be in town October 2021 for a few days and would love to attend if possible.

      1. Tim Blankenship

        Hi Cindy, our larger “Full Lighting” events are generally on Saturday nights. Smaller lightings do sometimes happen on weeknights. As we ramp events coming out of the pandemic we’re likely to have a series of smaller events. Details are still being worked out. Stay tuned for updates.

    4. Are you asking the local Jr/Sr High Schools for students to volunteer to help gather wood, and help in other ways on the internet to explore options for donations?

      I believe you can actually reach out to Middle Schools ( These Kids are full of Optimism ) to put up lemonade stands, or sell Items along Our Great Bike Paths from the “WaterFire Store” ?

      They should already be set up!

      Is there some kind of regulation against this kind of Fundraising after the Torture this Nation was succumbed to during the past election?

      Give me a Freaking Break!

      Let’s raise some coin!

      There should be fundraisers on every City Block!

      1. Hi Thomas, We are exploring many avenues to raise the necessary funds to revive our WaterFire Lightings in downtown Providence. We did just have a class of Providence College students participate in a series of fundraisers that netted over $4k. You can create an online fundraiser to support WaterFire. You obviously have a great passion for the event. Put that energy to work. Every dollar counts!

    5. I apologize if I seemed a little bit p’d off!

      Still am.

      Have you ever been to a WaterFire with your family?

      You will feel like you have went to Heaven, and came back when you get home!

      Please have your teachers make raising funds for the Waterfires an extra grade points reward for their intuitive ways of creating fundraising events, and ideas.

      Creating their own buttons, or hat pins, or bracelets, or brownies, or whatever their brilliant minds can imagine.

    6. Greetings from Boston. Planning for an event on Sat eve August 14 around the area /stage where artistes perform. Ideall wanted the event to end just before sunset so everyone joins in and enjoy the Waterfire. Any thoughts ?

    7. I’m looking to book flights and vacation rental In October of 2021 for my husbands birthday. When will you post the Water Events Calendar for 2021?

        1. Hi Tim
          Do you have any rough ideas for dates that lightings will be in October? Was going to be in town for Halloween and thought the day before Halloween would be a cool one!

      1. Our plan right now is to resume WaterFire lightings in September. So no, unfortunately, we have nothing planned now for August.

      1. Hi Lea, we do not. We’re working with the Gemma Foundation on our schedule, but nothing is confirmed yet. Stay tuned!

    8. Hi there! Just checking in. Is there a WaterFire schedule for 2021 yet? my nephews are visiting from out of state and would love to show them WaterFire, because it is so cool! Is is possible to do a Waterfire either Friday, August 20th or Saturday, August 21st? Thank you!

    9. Eek. Typos. My apologies. Below is what I meant to say:
      Hi there! Just checking in. Is there a WaterFire schedule for 2021 yet? My nephews are visiting from out of state in the end of August, and I would love to show them WaterFire, because it is so cool! Is it possible to do a Waterfire either Friday, August 20th or Saturday, August 21st? Thank you!

    10. Hi there,

      I’m planning a trip to Providence during Labor Day weekend. Any chance you will have an event on Sat, Sept 4?


      1. Hi Michelle, we can’t yet confirm any specific dates. We are working towards being a shortened WaterFire season starting in September, but we have a lot of hard work and fundraising still to go before we can announce the actual schedule. Stay tuned and thanks for your patience.

        1. Thanks Tim! Do you know approximately when the dates will be announced so I know when to check back here? I’ve been checking weekly since May 🙂 Thanks again!

    11. Hello,

      Just wanted to check and see what the approx schedule is for October..Will it be held during the Oct 9th Weekend.?

      Thank you again for putting this together. We appreciate your teams efforts!


    12. Thanks to all of you at WaterFire, especially Tim for answering the same questions over and over for months. I wish you all the best for the future and the return of WaterFire to Providence. It hasn’t been the same without you!

      1. Thanks, Marcus! Just doing my job and helping people make sense of the when/where/what/why of the WaterFire season during these unprecedented times.

        1. We are past the unprecedented times. It’s an embarrassment that the schedule hasn’t been published. Hiding behind Covid is no longer an excuse for delays or people not doing their job. The town, it’s people and our tourist trade need this event to resume.

          1. That’s a horrible thing to say. We’re all working tirelessly to salvage what we can for the 2021 season. I appreciate that we’re all anxious to resume WaterFire lightings, but your hostility isn’t benefitting anyone. Please try and tone down your negativity and look for the season schedule to be released on 7/29.

          2. Do you know the effort and amount of people it takes to put on WaterFire? They just got funding a few weeks ago. Your comment was totally uncalled for.

    13. hi i am looking to come to water fire in October around the 23rd of oct i would like a schedule sent to me in an email as soon as you guys get one made if possible thank you

    14. Do you have the date of when you will have the Breast Cancer lighting? That lighting is near and dear to me. Thank you to all who make this event happen!

    15. Hi!
      I know you usually do events on Saturdays. I was wondering if you all might consider a Monday event (october 11) in honor of Indigenous People’s day. Brown has the day off so I imagine there would be a good turnout.

      1. That’s a great day to celebrate, but we can’t schedule events without direct support, so it doesn’t seem likely that we’d be able to have a lighting on that date.

    16. Hello! First off we are very excited to be able to return to the waterfires this year! Do you happen to know which basins are being lit for the partial lighting for the above dates in September?

      We enjoy doing the tasting menu at the Capital Grille (outside on patio) but want to make sure we can actually see the fire during dinner.

      The basin burn has the best view for this.
      thank you!

    17. Hello! I’m questioning if the waterfire boat rides are going to be held. I’ve been e-mailing the Development Associate and explaining that I have had a gift certificate for two years and we were setting up dates to go when I received word that the boat rides and brazier society were put on hold again for this year. The gift certificate is for 6 people for a partial lighting!

      1. Yes, the Holiday Celebration at WaterFire will feature a 12′ Christmas Tree, visits with Santa Claus, and Toy Drive, and other holiday decorations and festivities.

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