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September 23rd, 2017 – Full Lighting

Sponsored by the University of Rhode Island: Celebrating 125 years of Thinking Big

There will be a plethora of great family friendly events happening in Providence this Saturday. Plan to come to the city early so you can enjoy a full day and night of fun exploring Providence.

Doors Open RI Festival – 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. – Various Locations

20+ Places. Day. | Providence, RI | Saturday, September 23rd

Want to experience the Victorian splendor of Barnaby’s Castle and the attic of City Hall? Would you like to see the recording studios of Rhode Island Public Radio and climb up inside of the dome of Beneficent Church, and more?

You’re getting the keys to Providence! For one day the Doors Open RI Festival will provide you with free, special access to 20+ one-of-a-kind places across Providence on Saturday, September 23.

No tickets or reservations. Free transportation between venues on the RIPTA Bus. Are You Ready?

Ocean State Oyster Festival 2017 – 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – South Water Street, Providence

The 3rd Annual Ocean State Oyster Festival is Saturday, Sept. 23rd celebrating fine R.I. oysters, music, and craft-beer culture!

An Oyster Fan ticket gets you a half-dozen locally sourced oysters from an array of RI-based growers; a local microbrewed beer, glass of wine, or spiked ginger beer. Plus great live music & DJ’s.

SAVE $5 off ticket price purchasing before the festival day!

Children under 12 FREE.
They’re tented, so it’s on RAIN or SHINE.

Women in the Windows at Stages of Freedom

See Nancy Elizabeth Prophet and Maritcha Lyons in live action tableaux in the windows at Stages of Freedom. Learn the stories of these remarkable Black Rhode Island women who left their mark here and in the world! Open from
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. at 10 Westminster Street in Providence. Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the University of Rhode Island: Celebrating 125 years of Thinking Big


September 23rd, 2017 – Full Lighting

Sunset time: 6:41 p.m.
Music Program




All Full WaterFire installations light up over eighty braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park. Lighting occurs shortly after sunset (6:41 p.m.) and the event continues until half past midnight.

Prior to the lighting, members of URI’s Jazz Ensemble will perform at the Waterplace Park Basin Stage in honor of the University’s 125th Anniversary. This talented group of musicians will play from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. leading up to the Ring of Fire ceremony. Don’t miss this chance to experience a night of great jazz!

A Salute to Rhode Island Educators – 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Memorial Park

The RIDE Award Reception and Ceremony, celebrating the Teacher of the Year, will take place from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM in Memorial Park followed by an Innovation in Education: A Showcase of Success in Rhode Island on College Street from 6:00 PM – 10 PM.

This family-oriented event will include an awards ceremony and a procession featuring the honored educators, culminating with a “Ring of Fire” at the basin in downtown Providence. The reception begins at 4:00 p.m., followed by the Award Ceremony. The event will begin at 5:00 p.m. at Memorial Park (at the corner of North Main and College Street), with registration starting at 3:30 p.m.

RI Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Ken Wagner is encouraging all friends of education to join the WaterFire celebration on Saturday, September 23, to support and celebrate Rhode Island educators.  This will be a family-friendly event that will highlight culinary dishes from RI Career and Technical Schools. Come view live statues, have a mini manicure or your face painted as well as listen to performances by the Narragansett High School Choirs and Jazz band.

From 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. visit Rhody Place on Steeple Street a free event which is open to the public. This interactive resource fair extravaganza will be comprised of fascinating and fun opportunities, for all ages, to explore what URI has to offer!

From 5:00 to 6:30 pm URI’s own Lila Kane will perform Broadway Show Tunes along with URI students, and URI’s beloved mascot Rhody the Ram will mingle on Rhody Place from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.Rhody Place will offer selfie opportunities, glow in the dark wristband giveaways, and so much more. Visit the Innovation for Lifelong Learning station, hosted by the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies, introducing a new interactive game. Learn some Chinese basics at the College of Arts and Sciences station from Professor Wayne He, director of the Chinese Flagship Program, as well as calligraphy and origami activities. The College of the Environment and Life Sciences will display saltwater touch tanks and offer the opportunity to observe plankton through a microscope.

The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza on Washington Street starting at 5:00 p.m.

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 for the 2017 WaterFire Providence season. The Arts Festival Plaza and will be active from 5:00 – 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 CollegeBound Saver on the corner of Washington and Canal Street, which will give out informational materials about all your options to make sure that your child will enjoy a bright future. Administered by the Office of the Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, this tax-efficient savings program is designed to help Rhode Islanders prepare for the expense of pursuing higher education.

Come and enjoy the International Association of Lighting Designers of New England’s Shadow Play and guerrilla lighting installations. Guests are invited to get creative and participate in Shadow Play and attend two guerrilla lighting vignettes by teams of local students and lighting designers. Locations include the Irish Famine Memorial, the Providence River Greenway, and the Market Square Garden. Displays will be active from sunset until 11:00 p.m.

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 place your very own message and 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!

Liz Knights, photograph by John Nickerson.

Fire dancers Andrew Lindsay and Liz Knights from Cirque De Light will dazzle the crowds during several performances throughout the evening at the confluence and on the wall of braziers in Memorial Park.

Andrew Anselmo

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

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 station on the Washington Street Bridge 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

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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.

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