For the first time in nearly a year, you can feel it again. Air as crisp as a freshly picked apple. The coziness of your favorite fall jacket. Aromas of wood smoke, hot chocolate and warm cider tickling your nose. The warmth of WaterFire’s 80 waterborne bonfires, dancing and crackling in the crystalline autumn night. To many of us New Englanders, autumn is the very best time of year to enjoy the outdoors. And right on the top of fall’s to-do list Providence’s acclaimed WaterFire. For nearly 20 years, this joyous and peaceful celebration of the senses has brought together people of all ages and from all walks of life, who share a common bond in their love for the elements and the arts.
For some, Waterfire is a setting for life’s happiest moments – proposals of marriage, milestone birthdays and anniversaries, reunions, graduations. On any given WaterFire night, you’re more likely than not to spot a bride and groom and their attendants riding through the fires on an authentic Venetian gondola, guided by a Venice-trained gondolier. Just as often, WaterFire is a chosen as a place of remembrance, a time to hang a star, make a wish, or light a luminaria in memory of a loved one.
I’ve been to many WaterFires over the years, but the one I remember the most was held on September 15, 2001. Four days earlier, the world changed forever. I was working for the State of Rhode Island at the time, and we had planned a WaterFire celebration on this date months earlier. After much debate, it was decided that the show must go on. We wondered whether the people would come. They did. In droves. From all over Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and beyond. They came to WaterFire because that night, as always, it celebrated the best of humanity.
Webster Bank has played a role in WaterFire since becoming a season sponsor in 2007. We’re in it because we understand how much joy in brings to so many of our neighbors, customers, employees and friends. And because it does so much economic good for the City of Providence, the home of our regional headquarters. Do you have any favorite memories or links to your photos of WaterFire? If so, please post them here.