The crackling sound of burning fire, the smell of wood smoke rising, the shadows of people quietly tending the fires,the flicker of firelight reflected in water: all these are elements of Waterfire, a combination of event, art, and celebration that takes place in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. The summer season of lighting has begun, with dates to come in July, August, September, and October.

At first conceived as a one off event in 1994, artist Barnaby Evans’ idea of creating art from the place where water and fire meet caught the imagination of the people of Providence and visitors as well. Waterfire lightings now include festivals along the riverfront with music and food.

waterfire providence rhode island

As it has been from the outset, though, the focus is on the inspiring dance of fire and water, meetings which create interactions both lively and contemplative. Visitors from across the world have come to share the experience.

Waterfire is a non profit organization, so the number of lightings each year depends on the support it receives. So far, several evenings across the summer months and into early autumn are planned for the lighting of the fires. For schedules, and to get a taste of what the lightings are like, take a visit to the Waterfire website.

photograph courtesy of

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Kerry Dexter is one of six writers who contribute to Perceptive Travel’s blog. You will often find her writing about places, events, and people connected with music, history, and the arts in Europe and North America. You may find more of Kerry's work at her site Music Road as well as in Wandering Educators, National Geographic Traveler, Ireland and the Americas, and other places online and in print.

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