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WaterFire As a Cultural Catalyst

WaterFire Providence has been working on creating an exciting and performance packed event for the next full lighting in Providence next Saturday, August 10th. The planning and preparation for each WaterFire event is non-stop — but this weekend twelve volunteers from Rhode Island decided to take a weekend trip to Sharon, Pennsylvania.

Why exactly do a group of twelve people want to drive in three cars for ten hours to Sharon, PA you ask? To help ignite, illuminate and inspire the communities of PA with the first WaterFire Sharon!

About a year ago, a community member from Sharon made the first phone call to the WaterFire Providence office inquiring about WaterFire and showing a clear interest in how they could inspire their community just as WaterFire does here in Providence.

Sharon is a small town in Mercer County Pennsylvania sitting right on the Ohio border. The community has a rich heritage and has some unique attributes including some of the “largest stores in the country”: Daffin’s Candies and Reyers Shoes; and the “Best Wings in the USA” at the famous Quaker Steak & Lube. Sharon is also a place, like many other cities across our nation, that are trying to build up their community and come up with interesting ideas to do so. Folks from Sharon were so inspired by how WaterFire was an essential part of the Providence Renaissance that they wanted to take on the event and produce the installation in their town. After a few trips to WaterFire Providence events, an enormous gathering of supporters in Sharon and other neighboring communities, and a lot of hard work from understanding their location both river and shore and finding fire wood to building 50 braziers and buoy systems – Sharon is ready to light a WaterFire tomorrow night, August 3rd. WaterFire Sharon has three events planned August 3rd, September 14th and October 12th.

Our twelve WaterFire Providence reps are ready and excited to support the team in Sharon and be true ambassadors for WaterFire. The music and volunteers from across the county are cued up and the performers and vendors are ready for a great crowd.

In addition to the WaterFire events taking place Providence and Sharon two other cities in the U.S. have WaterFire events scheduled in 2013. WaterFire Columbus had their first lighting 2005 and has eight events scheduled this year, the next lighting is on August 2nd. Starting in 2007 Kansas City, MO has hosted an annual WaterFire lighting on Bush Creek. WaterFire Kansas City has become one of the most anticipated events in the community, this year’s event is scheduled for October 12th.

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.

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