WaterFire coming to Sharon

The first of three ”WaterFire” events is planned Saturday in downtown Sharon, Pa.

“WaterFire” was created by artist Barnaby Evans and first demonstrated as a public arts installation in Providence, R.I., in 1994. More than 80 bonfires floated on the three rivers in downtown Providence, accompanied by the fragrant scent of aromatic wood smoke, flickering firelight on the arched bridges, silhouettes of the firetenders passing by the flames, torch-lit vessels traveling down the river and enchanting music from around the world.

Since then “WaterFire” has been replicated in Kansas City, Columbus, Singapore, Brussels, Venice and most recently Rome. Each WaterFire event is created around a different theme and often customized to be area specific.

Sharon, Pa., is the latest city, and each of the three events will have a different theme.

”ArtBeat” is the theme of Saturday’s event, and it is designed to celebrate the art of life and the connection of multi-cultures with beating drums. Used in life and evolutions, drums are the world’s oldest musical instruments used in ritual ceremonies, communication, war, peace and celebrations.

The day will begin with a 5 run/walk in partnership with the Community Food Warehouse and Reyers shoe store. Artists will trace shadows at the event and transform them into artwork.

The WaterFire Main Stage will have diverse range of performances and community stages throughout the city will offer quirky performances. Local and regional artists and vendors will be on site to demonstrate and offer their wares.

The official first lighting will occur at dusk with more than 100 runners carrying the WaterFire torches to begin the lighting ceremony. About 55 lit braziers carefully placed in the Shenango River in downtown Sharon will give off the aroma of cedar and pine all evening, music will be piped up and down each side of the river and visitors will enjoy the immersion of the senses in the truly unique public art.

The day concludes with swing dancing to the beats of “Dr. Zoot” at the WaterFire Ballroom, also located in downtown Sharon.

Additional ”WaterFire Sharon” events are planned Sept. 14 with the theme ”World Fire” and Oct. 12 with the theme ”Up and Around.”

Admission is free for all WaterFire events. For more information, go to www.waterfiresharonpa.org.