WaterFire, a unique arts event, will make its Sharon debut this weekend, the first of three scheduled in the downtown area this summer and fall.
It will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday in the downtown area. Subsequent events will be Sept. 14 and Oct. 12.
WaterFire is an artistic endeavor that was created by artist Barnaby Evans in Providence, R.I., in the early 1990s to lure people into that city’s downtown. He put lit braziers in the river as a symbol of the event and surrounded the area with a festival of visual art and live performances.
Evans also visited Sharon in anticipation of the local WaterFire.
“He felt we were on track for launching our first lighting and gave us several suggestions on how to make it the most meaningful and enjoyable event for all who attend,” said Dayna Sear, the director of WaterFire Sharon.
“Barnaby is very particular about the way a WaterFire event goes off. He also is very interested that the local arts and artists get featured and that everyone in the community can come and enjoy the event.”
Other cities that have had WaterFire events include Kansas City, Columbus, Singapore, Brussels, Venice and Rome. Each is created around a different theme and customized to its area. All are free to attend.
WaterFire Sharon will include more than 50 braziers in the Shenango River that will burn cedar and pine wood.
The braziers will be lit at dusk and will burn until about 11 p.m. Visitors will enjoy the aroma and flickering flames, and will be treated to music along the riversides. A stage will be set up for entertainment and a concert by the band Dr. Zoot.
To see the complete schedule of performances, go to waterfiresharonpa.org.
The theme of WaterFire Sharon — ArtBeat — will focus on the connectedness of cultures and the common language of beating drums.
Local artists and vendors will participate in the daylong event, which will begin with a 5K run/walk that will benefit Community Food Warehouse.