Throughout the 2018 WaterFire Season, we partnered with The Map Center and owner Andrew Nosal to create an exciting and interactive opportunity for visitors. The Map Tent on Canal Street became a popular stop for visitors to choose a colored map-tack and place it on the map where they called home. For some this was right down the road, and for others this was across the world. People were interested to see where others were from and realize that they were sharing the same experience – right here in Providence.
The Map Tent was also an opportunity for our staff to see who WaterFire was attracting and the reason behind people’s visit. After some tweaking of the map-tack colors we narrowed it down to six options for the last six fires. These were separated by day trippers/locals or overnight trippers with three categories in each: first time visitor, visited several times, visited too many times to count, WaterFire was the number one reason for your trip, WaterFire was among the reasons for your trip, or you had no prior knowledge about WaterFire before your trip.
Throughout our 2018 WaterFire season of nine full lightings, the Map Tent saw 4,679 participants plus 81 Veterans at the WaterFire Salute to Veterans. All fifty states and seven continents were represented in the map totals including countries such as New Zealand, Ghana, and Uruguay. For our November 10 Salute to Veterans fire, we introduced a second set of map-tacks, representing each branch of the United States Military, and asked Veterans in attendance to pin where they served.
Some statistics that stood out included:
- The July 14th fire saw the most R.I. native participants with 10.76% of the 4,679
- The June 30th fire had the most first-timer participants at 68.1%
- August 25th had the most participants of the season with 17.2%
- September 8th saw the most foreign participants with 35.95% participants from outside of the U.S.
- November 10th Salute to Veterans had the most U.S. participants outside of RI at 79.65%
Without our friend Andrew Nosal’s help and generosity our Map Tent would not be possible. We hope that sharing this information brings to light how WaterFire draws in visitors from all over the world to the city of Providence, and inspires you to help us continue to keep the fires burning.
Check out the breakdown of each fire’s stats below.
Featured image: Fires in the Waterplace Park Basin, photograh by John Nickerson.