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Walking in a Winter Wonderland!

[sc name=featured-caption name=”John Nickerson”]

The 2nd Annual Christmas WaterFire on Friday, Dec. 14th was a true Christmas scene filled with good will and a sense of peace.  Once again the bright bonfires accompanied by gorgeous music added a sparkle in Santa’s eye.  The sound of Christmas songs filled the air and scores of Christmas trees combined to create a winter wonderland for all in Waterplace Park.

The evening highlighted the community’s spirit of generosity with many visitors arriving with their own contributions of toys or other goods to help those less fortunate.   Hundreds of toys and other donations will be distributed throughout the community by the Providence Rescue Mission, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is 100% privately funded and serves many thousands of men, women and children in the Providence community.  There’s still time to contribute to the toy drive!  Click here for details.

Hand made ornaments by students at local schools. (Photo courtesy of
The TD Bank Elves decorating their tree before the event’s start. (Photo courtesy of Amy Beauchamp)

A special thank you goes out to the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau for helping us with the toy collection drive and for hosting the tree sponsor reception.

As always there were many people who contributed to making the evening such a bright success, including the sponsors of the WaterFire’s Festival of Trees, and many volunteers who lit, decorated and transported the forty-one Christmas trees or who made ornaments!  Thank you Benny’s for donating 20 trees!  Thank you to our tree sponsor: ING Financial Partners; Lifetime Medical; Mount Pleasant Hardware; Buonanno/Bennett Family; Providence Biltmore; Providence Capital Group; Hilton Providence; Providence Investments Management; Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau; RBC Wealth Management; RE/MAX Cityside: Longtin Group; TD Bank; Trinity Presbyterian Church; Calvin Presbyterian Church; Providence Marriott Downtown; EMC Services; Blue Cross Blue Shield RI – Community Relations and Customer Service and the West Kingston Baptist ChurchAll of the trees will be delivered to families throughout our city who are in need of some Christmas spirit.   The winner of the Most Creative tree competition was the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau with their ‘Giving Tree,’ where donors could win fun local prizes!         

(Photo by WaterFire volunteer, Erin Smithers)

Decorators and volunteers from across Rhode Island helped bring the event to life.  Not only did all the tree sponsors come down to decorate their trees, but ornaments and other decorations for the forty-one trees were made in local art classrooms.  A special thank you goes out to students and teachers at: Cedar Hills Elementary; Greenwood Elementary; E.T. Wyman Elementary; Sherman School; Warwick Neck Elementary; John Brown Francis Elementary; Norwood School; Cottrell F. Hoxsie Elementary; Holliman Elementary; Lippitt Elementary; Pilgrim High School; St. Andrew’s School; Joseph L. McCourt Middle School; Anthony Carnevale Elemantary; Robert F. Kennedy Elementary; Lincoln School; Webster Avenue Elementary School; Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School; Lillian Feinstein Elementary School at Sackett Street; Carl G. Lauro Elementary School; Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point; Frank D. Spaziano Elementary School and Nathan Bishop Middle School.

Special thank yous go to WaterFire tree designer, Liz Smith; Coast to Coast Promotional Products; to volunteer, John Simonetti for his outreach to local schools to create ornaments; to volunteers Chris Maino and Fern Rouleau for helping with ornaments; and to the team from the JWU Fraternity, Phi Sigma Kappa who helped from morning until far into the night!

La Gondola takes their singing to land. (Photo by Erin Smithers)

Christmas carols filled the night air.  Marcello and the Singers of La Gondola joined us in leading the public in caroling throughout the night.  Other performers on Union Station Plaza included: Marbeth and Megan Carew, Deirdra DelMastro, VoX: Voices of Christmas, AcadaGlee, Rebecca Thorington, Total Surrender and Terri Giviens with members of Ye Olde English Carolers.  Thank you to all for all your efforts.

Buy local from RI Artists!  Thank you to artists: Benjamin Giguere of Gather Glass, William Riker of Riker Art Glass, Mike Bryce and Ronda LaChappelle.  There’s still time to support WaterFire by shopping at!

(Photo by Erin Smithers)

Thank you to all the WaterFire Elves!  Thank you to Waterplace Luxury Residences, JLB Power, Ocean State Sandwich Company and High Output for their contributions to the event.  Last, but not least, is a big thank you to all the many WaterFire elves and volunteers who joined the staff in making all of this possible with thir hard work, great ideas, and festive spirit.  As always, we couldn’t do it without you!  We would like to thank Santa for coming to Providence on such a busy weekend to meet the children in our community.

Cheers to you all!  Thank you for helping create another great WaterFire.  Merry Christmas to all!





About the author

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Over the last 10+ years, alongside some incredible co-workers and volunteers, I've worked to build the organization that WaterFire Providence is today. As Director of Creative Services, my team and I work on visual communications, graphic design, the visitor experience, merchandising as well as project management for programming at the WaterFire Arts Center. Being a part of the 'Rhode Island' experience for tens of thousands of people is incredible and I have an intense pride in place for both Downtown Providence and the Valley neighborhood.

4 thoughts on “Walking in a Winter Wonderland!”

  1. I’m delighted to know there is such a marvelous program and revitalization in my old hometown. Far different from 1950

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