Skip to content

WaterFire Providence Announces Starts At Sunset

Starts at Sunset promo graphic with dates. August 30th, September 14th, October 28th.
Starts at Sunset presented by WaterFire Providence

A New Community Gathering on the Michael S. Van Leesten Memorial Pedestrian Bridge Happening on August 30, September 14, October 28, and December 31

WaterFire Providence announces Starts At Sunset, a new community gathering on the Michael S. Van Leesten Memorial Pedestrian Bridge sponsored by the Providence Tourism Council.  This unique activation invites artists and observers to experience a night of immersive placemaking with living tableaus set against the backdrop of a picturesque sunset. WaterFire volunteers will be illuminating the bridge with the glow of five braziers.

“We’re excited to unveil Starts at Sunset, a collaboration with the Providence Tourism Council, that marks the installation of five stationary braziers on the Michael S. Van Leesten Memorial Pedestrian Bridge as the backdrop of a series of new arts events. We thank the City of Providence, the Providence Parks Department, and the 195 District Park for their support in making this new art project a reality,” says Peter A. Mello, Managing Director + coCEO of WaterFire Providence. 

“The Providence Tourism Council is thrilled to be able to provide the support to activate this area of the river connecting the Downtown to the East Side. This plan has been in the making prior to COVID and we are excited to see it come to life to bring artists, businesses, residents, and visitors together for future programming around the Pedestrian Bridge,” says Alexis Gorriaran, Chair and Commissioner of the Providence Tourism Council.

Starts at Sunset will take place on Wednesday, August 30th; Thursday, September 14th; and Saturday, October 28th. On each occasion, activities will begin at Sunset and run for approximately two hours.   

The lower deck of the bridge will be transformed into a dedicated performance area, hosting acoustic music and other performances that will accompany the event’s overall ambiance. Adding an element of excitement, a fire spinner or flow artist will captivate the audience with their performances on the bridge piers.

In addition to the activation and gathering of artists on the bridge, there will be a variety of push carts offering tasty treats organized by the Providence Parks Department including the Guild Beer Garden which will be located in 195 District Park on the cityside of the bridge and Tizzy K’s Cereal Ice Cream which will be open on the east side of the bridge. On the night of August 30th there will also be a PechaKucha event, with the theme of Memory Palace taking place at the Guild Beer Garden. On October 28th, Starts at Sunset will take on a Halloween theme and the City of Providence’s Wicked Walk, a family-friendly trick-or-treat experience, will be happening simultaneously on the bridge.

Full details and a complete schedule for Starts at Sunset will be available here with updates being made as performers and other activities are confirmed for each night.

Starts at Sunset Schedule

August 30th
Artists gather from 7:00 – 10:00 pm
Sunset: 7:22 pm
Live music: Becky Bass – Becky’s beautiful, angelic voice and skillful steel pan playing can now be heard while performing her Caribbean Soul music as a solo artist as well as with several bands all over the New England area.
Other activities: PechaKucha PVD in 195 District Park, Gif-O-Graf on the bridge, WaterFire tableaus on the river, and more to come!
Food/beverage: Guild Beer Garden, Tizzy K’s Cereal Ice Cream, Plant City, other pushcart vendors TBA

September 14th
Artists gather from 6:30 – 9:15 pm
Sunset: 6:57 pm
Five WaterFire Braziers on the bridge lit until 9:15 p.m.
Live music: Of Lions And Giants
Other activities: Poetry Readings with Louie.VladNelson TavarezMel, and Charlene D’Sao Nicolau, Skyscrapers, Inc. Sidewalk Astronomy, fire performer, Spogga, and sound artist Emily Baroody.
Food/beverage: Guild Beer Garden, Tizzy K’s Cereal Ice Cream, and Ming’s Asian Street Food.

October 28th
Artists gather from 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Sunset: 5:45 pm
Live performances: Mutter and poets Melisa Gomes, AudreyRose Wooden, Alexandria Astrofsky, Marleny Luna, Denezia, Toni Rose, and Charlene D’São Nicolau.
Other activities: City of Providence’s Wicked Walk, Skyscrapers Sidewalk Astronomy, and more to come!
Food/beverage: Tizzy K’s Cereal Ice Cream which will be located on the South Water Street side, and The Guild Beer Garden and Ming’s Asian Street Food which will be located in 195 District Park.

December 31st
Providence New Year’s Eve Celebration sponsored by the Providence Tourism Council
December 31, 2023, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Catch performances by the Providence Drum Troupe and the Extraordinary Rendition Band followed by an Illuminate PVD Fireworks show at 8:30 p.m. Jose Docen from Of Lions and Giants will be performing from 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. inside the PTC tent with refreshments available by Guild PVD Beer Garden.


WaterFire Providence is announcing a call for artists who would like to activate the bridge with live painting or drawing. Participation in this event is free and open to all artists and you are highly welcomed and encouraged to bring a canvas, easel, sketchbook, and/or all your necessary materials in order to draw inspiration from the landscape in front of you. Starts at Sunset is not a marketplace event, but participating artists have the option to bring a small crate with their artwork/prints to sell or attach a QR code link to their easel that directs to either your website or to accept donations. 

RSVP for Starts at Sunset

About the author

+ posts by author

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.

5 thoughts on “WaterFire Providence Announces Starts At Sunset”

  1. Not everyone works a cushy 9 to 5 job,, some of us start our day at 3am and finish bout 7pm, ten hours off and then back to the job. Why schedule all of this during the weekdays I know I can’t make it till October bummed out

    1. Hi David, sorry to hear that you’ll miss our first two Starts at Sunset events. The timing for these events is based on when we have good tides for the installation and our supporters were interested in specifically activating the pedestrian bridge during the week as there is already a lot of programming in that area on the weekends. Good news is the third event in October on a Saturday, so you’ve got that going for you. Please remember that not everyone who works 9-5 has a cushy job (we’re an events company and our staff works all kind of odd and long hours all the time), almost all WaterFire activations for the last 28 years have been on Saturday’s (so we have pretty good track record for planning events that you would have be able to attend), and getting out of work at 7pm is perfect timing to attend the first event on August 30th. I hope you understand that we’re not able to make everyone happy all the time. We are committed to planning a wide range of events and opportunities for everyone, but obviously there will always be someone who feels left out. That’s just the way it works.

      All the best, Tim

  2. I’ve been to the first two of these events and they are wonderful. I especially love that all ages come and enjoy.
    Seeing a young child look through a telescope to see Saturn last night was especially sweet.
    My only feedback is that I wish there was a specific soundtrack for the lighting ritual. We’ve become so used to Halleluyah as the start to regular Waterfire. It would be nice to have something for Starts at Sunset so everyone nearby knows the lighting is starting and can come view it.

    1. Thank you Nancy.

      We don’t currently have the budget for a large audio system on the bridge. As most of our systems in the WaterFire footprint upstream are permanently installed it’s wasn’t feasible to move them for these smaller Starts at Sunset events. We are hoping to expand the Starts at Sunset programming in 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *