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September 3rd, 2017 – Full Lighting

Sponsored by the Providence Tourism Council

The lighting is going ahead as planned. Check for updates on our Facebook page.
We expect most of the rain to clear out before the lighting begins around 7:15 p.m.

Event activities begin on Washington Street at 6:00 p.m. See below for more details.

The Jewish Alliance will join WaterFire with a special gathering to reaffirm the importance of the RI Holocaust Memorial at 7:15 p.m.

Please join us at WaterFire on Sunday, September 3, for a special gathering to reaffirm the importance of the RI Holocaust Memorial at 7:15pm. The names of many RI survivors have just been added to the Memorial.

The Rhode Island Holocaust Memorial. Photograph by Tom Lincoln.

The Rhode Island Holocaust Memorial. Photograph by Tom Lincoln.

With the recent situation in Charlottesville and a deeply alarming rise in hate speech and intolerance across our country, we wanted to take this opportunity to show our entire community’s resolve to honor the original commitment of Roger Williams — to make our state a peaceful haven for all those persecuted for reasons of conscience.

In addition to pledging to never forget the tragedy of the Holocaust, we are inviting all members of our community including those active in civil rights and those who are from refugee, immigrant, and persecuted communities to join us in a silent observance of our commitment that hatred will never be accepted in Rhode Island.

As the sun sets on Memorial Park, we will gather to form a circle of solidarity around the entire Holocaust Memorial. WaterFire will play music from the Native American, Afro-American, Armenian, Jewish, and Cambodian communities to underscore that protecting the peoples and cultures of our world requires our commitment and dedication, as it must be a constant vigil. We invite everyone to join us for this simple, silent evening, to make a statement that hatred will not be allowed in our state. We will also have representatives from many of these communities on the boats setting WaterFire alight that night.

Please join us in Memorial Park at 7:15 p.m. on Sunday, September 3, for this special gathering to reaffirm our community’s commitment to engaged respect and tolerance for all. Please share this invitation with others and come with peace in your heart. If you have a flag from your homeland that you wish to display, please bring it with you — so that we can honor the many nations who contribute to the strength of our state. You are invited to pass through the RI Holocaust Memorial and leave a glass pebble on the life stone as an expression of your resolve to never forget.

That evening Stages of Freedom will be open until 9:30 p.m. at 10 Westminster Street, just off Memorial Blvd. Stages of Freedom’s mission is to build community through programming about Black Rhode Island life and culture and to educate and empower inner-city youth.

Sponsored by the Providence Tourism Council


September 3rd, 2017 – Full Lighting

Sunset time: 7:15 p.m.
Music Program



Providence Tourism Council


All Full WaterFire installations light up over eighty braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park. Lighting occurs shortly after sunset (7:15 p.m.) and the event continues until half past midnight.

See Seward Johnson’s Icons Revisited series in Memorial Park

Seward Johnson’s “Embracing Peace” in Time Square.

WaterFire is pleased this Sunday September 3rd, to present a one time opportunity to see and interact with two sculptures from the noted American artist Seward Johnson. Both are from Johnson’s Icons Revisited series.

These bronze sculptures are life size interpretations of two of the most recognizable images from World War II. “Can Do!” features Rosie the Riveter and “Embracing Peace” brings to life the classic photograph of a sailor and nurse celebrating the end of the war in New York.

The sculptures will be in Providence only on Sunday, September 3rd from 10 am until 11pm. Find them between the College Street Bridge and Memorial Park. Come by take your picture with these famous iconic characters and share them using the hashtags #WaterFire and #SewardJohnson.

The exhibition is made possible by the Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive project, an educational non-profit that creatively connects students with the Greatest Generation. Its message is one of shared effort and victory.

The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza on Washington Street starting at 6:00 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 6:00 – 11:30 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.

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

Waterplace Park Basin

Various Locations:


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!

Spogga is an engine of fire. Photo by Thomas Payne.

Fire dancer Spogga will dazzle the crowds during several performances throughout the evening at the confluence and on the wall of braziers in Memorial Park.

Michael Grando

Mime artist Michael Grando

Mime artist Michael Grando will return again for this event. Be sure to catch Michael, in costume as the Commedia dell’arte character Pierrot, as he cruises the river tossing carnations to visitors along the shore.

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.). They will be open on Saturday, September 2nd from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be closed on Sunday, September 3rd.

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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