I’m taking a break from my usual Alphabe-Thursday posts (which, in recent months, have focused on word and phrase origins) to share with you a bit of night-time magic—in the form of Providence’s (Rhode Island) unique multi-season light and music festival. WaterFire is a regular Saturday night event in downtown Providence from late May through early October. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the Providence area during WaterFire season, I encourage you to make this event a part of your experience. It truly is special.
As darkness approaches, black-clad volunteers in equally black boats begin to light the many bonfire stands that will, before long, brighten and warm the city’s three rivers. It’s easy to see the tenders’ movements in the moments between dusk and dark, but later, as night advances, it’s almost impossible to tell that the volunteers are still tending the fires—the only evidence is that the fires continue to light Providence’s nighttime sky. Meantime, the air is filled with an eclectic mix of “world” music—the music, like the festival it supports, is welcoming but, at the same time, they are each a bit unfamiliar and challenging.
WaterFire is a freestyle event—some visitors enjoy a gourmet meal at one of the city’s many restaurants while others are happy to sit on a patch of grass and share a simple take-out sandwich. Whatever their repast, most people will eventually rouse themselves to stroll the sidewalks and bridges adjoining the rivers, and along the way, take in the many other diversions that have developed around WaterFire. Art exhibits, live entertainment, and food vendors all add to the variety, festivity, and fun of a WaterFire night.
WaterFire is, in my opinion, an urban treasure. I hope you will have an opportunity to participate in this very special experience.
P.S. I apologize for the quality of this photo—it was taken in 2003 with an early version digital point-and-shoot.
Posted for Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday current study of the letter “W.” I was a consistent poster for most of Round 5, but ran out of steam before we got to “Z.” Because I hate to leave anything undone, I am returning to the end of Round 6 to complete the entries I missed.