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woz

Waterfire Grand Rapids?

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I was in Providence, Rhode Island over the Memorial Day weekend visitng friends and I happened to catch a really cool event called Waterfire. Here's a link.

It was amazing to me how many people just came out to eat and drink and chat and walk along the river in a downtown area. It really drew the city's attention to one of its greatest resources for an evening, which was great to see. Imagine tens of thousands of people lining the banks of the Grand from North Monroe to Fulton Street just to listen to music and hang out. It was like a community-wide bonfire. And it may be coming here!

One of my friends who lives in Providence told me that the artist wants to take the event to other U.S. cities. What do y'all think? Would Waterfire on the Grand work? Our river's a lot wider and actually has a fairly strong current. But what if that could be overcome? Would it work here?

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I was in Providence, Rhode Island over the Memorial Day weekend visitng friends and I happened to catch a really cool event called Waterfire. Here's a link.

It looks pretty cool. However Providence wasn't the city that popped into my head when I thought of flaming water. Cleveland did though.................

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I could easilly see 2 lines of those going thru the grand. Imagine standing on the blue bridge looking down at that line of fires... and imagine what it would look like to people dining atop the Amway.

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The dam may cause some problems... would you expect to simply launch the pyres south of it?

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I'd assume that for the Grand River they would all have to be stationary... anchored to the bottom with something.

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Upon reading "Waterfire" I had visions of something musical fountain-ish. After checking out the link Woz provided, thankfully, it's nothing like that. This looks very cool.

Wondering if we have enough riverfront access - does RI have a river walk sort of set up? Seems like that sort of set up would work out best. GR seems to have a strange relationship with the river (until recently buildings were built, and property sold sort of ignoring the river, the post office comes to mind), perhaps this would help reivigorate GR's relationship with the Grand River.

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It looks pretty cool. However Providence wasn't the city that popped into my head when I thought of flaming water. Cleveland did though.................

Detroit would probably be the second city to come to mind :P

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There's excellent access along the west bank... the whole grassy park outside the Ford Museum...

Although I agree the access on the east side is limited, in the pictures provided of Providence there doesn't seem to be much area either... but considering we have the whole length of the river through town plus the space on the west bank, I don't see how it would be a problem.

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I think the channel area of Providence was actually rebuilt after being covered over for many years. If you look at the pictures that civitas linked to, it's a little more "intimate", sort of like San Antonio, as opposed to the Grand being wider and having more remote access.

But yes, I think they should come here, and yes I think it would get a big turnout. It has a "pagan" feel to it from the pictures. Cool.

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There's excellent access along the west bank... the whole grassy park outside the Ford Museum...

Although I agree the access on the east side is limited, in the pictures provided of Providence there doesn't seem to be much area either... but considering we have the whole length of the river through town plus the space on the west bank, I don't see how it would be a problem.

True...access is there, just seems to be in chunks. It most certainly could work though. My initial thought was that it would be best if it were stretched out - making a riverwalk set up ideal. It could be set up to work with what we've got!

Thanks for posting the Providence photo thread civitas.

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There's more photos from last weekend here taken by Gusterfell.

Last weekend was actually a little less crowded than usual. Being a holiday weekend, lots of locals were out of town. WaterFire started 11 years ago as a New Year's Eve event. The artist, Barnaby Evans has brought it to a few other cities in the past. The braziers in Providence are anchored to the bottom of the river. The river is only about 10 feet deep (if that) at high tide (it's the head of the bay so it's a tidal river). The braziers are on an armature that allows them to rise and fall with the tide. There is an area along the Courthouse where they are connected directly to a wall inside the river (part of the old bridge that used to cover the river). The braziers do move if the river has a heavy current running through it, we recently had a stretch of heavy rains and they moved around a bit. It would have to be a bit of a different set up in order to have Waterfire in a deeper river with a stringer current.

The Providence rivers were burried under what had been dubbed the world's widest bridge. In the late 90s the rivers were uncovered and partially relocated and riverwalks were constructed along them. The riverwalks bring you right down to river level, so you are at the same level as the fires.

WaterFire is accompanied by music, classic, and the like. There's also a ballroom set up some evenings a block off the river, and a jazz stage on other weekends.

WaterFire costs about $10,000+ for each firing, and that does not include the infrastructure that is already set up in Providence. It is paid for by corporate sponsors. Each evenings sponsor gets a private reception area set up on a bridge over the river. Last weekend was Brown University and the Providence Journal.

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WaterFire costs about $10,000+ for each firing, and that does not include the infrastructure that is already set up in Providence. It is paid for by corporate sponsors.

Actually each event costs $ 60,000 when adding in all the costs involved. The thing I like about Waterfire is it brings familes, friends and lovers together for a special evening. The blazers memorize and relax you. Some people call it spiritual. The artist bought this event to Cinn, OH last year. Or was it Columbus?

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Just to add, the best part about Waterfire is the full outdoor bars set up at 2 locations by the river. :alc:

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Thanks for the insider info Rhode Islanders! Bring it on! :yahoo:

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Just to add, the best part about Waterfire is the full outdoor bars set up at 2 locations by the river. :alc:

I was drinking up this weekend. :alc:

I couldn't find fried dough anywhere though, what gives?! :angry:

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Here's some LiveLocal views of where WaterFire takes place:

The Basin. You can see the braziers in the river in this image, the empty lot on the left has a building on it now, and the empty lot on the right has two condo towers under construction. :thumbsup: To the left of the Basin is Francis Street, and the building on the left side of Francis Street is Providence Place Mall. Last year the mall was staying open until 11pm on WaterFire nights, I'm not sure if they are doing that again this year.

Confluence. The Woonasquatucket and Mossashuck Rivers meet here to form the Providence River which drains into Narragansett Bay.

RISD and Memorial Square. The triple bridge in the center is College Street. The VIP tent is set up on the bridge, to the right of the bridge is where one of the bars are set up, right in the street. South of the triple bridge you can see a line in the river. This is an old support structure for the old bridge and it has braziers affixed to it. Beyond that is a double bridge, and that is where WaterFire ends. When the river was buried, the so-called "world's widest bridge stretched from the double bridge, up to and just beyond the confluence.

Providence's CBD sits in the bend of the river, to the south and west.

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I posted some more Waterfire pics in the Pictures Forum. As the others have said, it is an amazing event, with something to offer for just about anyone. Having looked through the Grand Rapids photo thread (I had no idea your city was so beautiful, BTW), I think it would be interesting to see a Waterfire there. I'd love to see how the different space changes the experience.

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Thanks for sharing these pictures, they're beautiful

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True...access is there, just seems to be in chunks. It most certainly could work though. My initial thought was that it would be best if it were stretched out - making a riverwalk set up ideal. It could be set up to work with what we've got!

Thanks for posting the Providence photo thread civitas.

I think you're right starrfish, this could work with what we've got! I was walking near the river on Tuesday evening and was thinking about this - Ah-Nab-Awen offers a great viewing area as well as the pedestrian bridges and the area along the river behind the convention center. Also, as I was walking around the carousel at the VanAndel Museum, I was thinking that it would be the perfect location to watch Waterfire.

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I think you're right starrfish, this could work with what we've got! I was walking near the river on Tuesday evening and was thinking about this - Ah-Nab-Awen offers a great viewing area as well as the pedestrian bridges and the area along the river behind the convention center. Also, as I was walking around the carousel at the VanAndel Museum, I was thinking that it would be the perfect location to watch Waterfire.

I would just run it from Michigan down to Fulton, and have 3 or 4 rows of the fires in the river (since it is so wide). There seems to be enough room for the thousands that come down to watch the fireworks. There is quite a bit of area along the riverside of the convention center where vendors and bands could be set up as well.

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It was amazing to me how many people just came out to eat and drink and chat and walk along the river in a downtown area. It really drew the city's attention to one of its greatest resources for an evening, which was great to see. Imagine tens of thousands of people lining the banks of the Grand from North Monroe to Fulton Street just to listen to music and hang out. It was like a community-wide bonfire. And it may be coming here!

It's not coming here. At least to Grand Rapids.

If the lessons of the past few years have shown us anything, it's that while residents embrace events like this, with at least three events of similar scale including Festival, Fourth of July and Celebration--city officials, downtown business and corporate benefactors don't see the same value. If this thing can't sell naming rights, it better be limited to Calder Plaza and not have any sort of pyrotechnics.

If you were to market it as a candlelight vigil for something or another, then the city might get behind it.

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If this thing can't sell naming rights, it better be limited to Calder Plaza and not have any sort of pyrotechnics.

In Providence, the sponsoring business for each evening's event is prominently displayed on several large banners in key locations. It's never called the "Citizens Bank WaterFire" or anything like that, but people are made aware of what company the sponsor is. Also the sponsor gets a VIP viewing area.

WaterFire in Providence would not be possible without corporate sponsorship. It also would not be possible without money from the city (and I think the state kicks some money in too).

If you were to market it as a candlelight vigil for something or another, then the city might get behind it.

Last year there was a WaterFire in Providence dedicated to Katrina vicitims. Evacuees who were relocated to Rhode Island were honored guests, cajun food was sold, and money was collected for relief efforts. There was also a WaterFire on September 11th last year (or maybe it was the year before), that had a rose ceremony for the victims, and also raised money. Also, the superbowl trophey was displayed at WaterFire after one of the Patriot's recent wins.

The artist did not intend for many of these things, but the event has grown to include them.

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