The seasonal WaterFire Providence event, which has been taking place for more than 25 years, has helped to put Providence on the map. The event originated in 1994, when Barnaby Evans decided to set up the display in honor of the 10th anniversary of First Night Providence, the city’s then New Year’s Eve celebration. Throughout the summer months and during special events throughout the year, the rivers throughout Providence glow with fire. There are more than 80 bonfires located in the middle of the rivers and the basin area. Full, partial and basin lightings take place on select Saturdays, and families can enjoy the sparkling torches from sunset into the late evening. This is a free event for all guests, though visitors can also pay for a boat or gondola tour for an extra special experience. During the event, art and food vendors, fire dancers, live performers and entertainers set up on the various streets surrounding the river, offering more fun throughout the evenings.
Full lightings of WaterFire take place from May through November on select Saturday evenings. Partial lightings also take place on select weekdays and Sundays on occasion. The schedule changes each year.
Restaurants surround the area and some are even located directly on the canal with outdoor tables, offering the perfect dining atmosphere. Food vendors also surround the area.