by Janet Jonus
Waterfire Sharon brings together the elements of Fire, Water, and Art.
The stunning art installation, Waterfire, comes to Sharon, Pennsylvania in a daylong celebration of the Arts and the Elements. The highlight of the event is the lighting of over fifty braziers on the Shenango River lighting the water on fire. Artists, artisans, musicians, and performers entertain throughout the day in downtown Sharon. Waterfire has something for everyone and is a FamilyFun event.
“WaterFire is a place of temporary transformation. Temporarily, it transforms a city. Temporarily, it transforms the people who visit it. Temporarily it transforms fire into light, water into fire, and music into water,” according to Jerry Blitefield, PhD, an Associate Professor of English and Director of English Graduate Programs at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth as quoted on the Waterfire Providence website.
Waterfire is a unique art installation by international artist Barnaby Evans. The first Waterfire premiered in Providence, Rhode Island in the 1990’s. Since then, Waterfire has grown to cities worldwide including Singapore, Columbus, OH, Rome, Houston, and Kansas City, MO.
The theme of the September 22nd Waterfire Sharon is “Hands Across the Water”. Beatlemania Magic plays the East Stage starting at 430PM.
Stroll through downtown Sharon and enjoy the many art installations, murals, and art galleries. The Sokol Gallery has an Oil & Steel Exhibit. Studio 83 has pottery. The Flower Garden gallery has panel artwork featuring flowers. Never Enough Yarn features fiber arts. Lulu Beans and Cravings both have refreshments and artwork by local artists. There are many public art installations and sculptures spread throughout the Festival footprint. For more information, check here: https://www.waterfiresharonpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ArtTrail-Map-FINAL.pdf
More than sixty-five artists and vendors are spread out through the center of Sharon. All vendors open their doors at 200PM. Browse the tents of the local and regional artists. There are fine artists, crafts vendors, jewelry makers, food vendors, and more. There is plenty of time to shop before the Waterfire show starts at dusk and after the show as the vendors won’t close up until 1100PM.
The Children’s Fun Zone on State Street near the Reyer’s Shoe Store has fun art and sports activities for kids. Kids can make bird seed feeders from ice cream cones or they can plant a seed that will turn into a pumpkin! There is an obstacle course and a bounce house to burn off some energy. Kids can make a superhero mask or a sticker. The fun continues with safety lessons and chalk art and lots of bubbles and fun! The Children’s Fun Zone is sponsored by Cafaro Foundation and the Eastwood Mall Complex. The Children’s Fun Zone is open from 300PM through 800PM.
The Waterfire Food Court in the parking lot off of Chestnut Street. Local food vendors will be serving up sandwiches, burgers, pizza, cheese steaks, fries, gyros, ribs, and Italian specialties. Make sure you save room for the ice cream, funnel cakes, cinnamon rolls, and other sweet goodies available from on-site vendors.
The Waterfire event starts at sundown on the Shenango River. Watch as the river is set on fire with the lighting of 50 cauldrons set to an inspiring musical score. Kayakers and boaters on the river add to magical event. Four soloists play during Waterfire and a jazz saxophonist lights up the night. Diana, an aerialist will be performing a silk routine against the fires and the night sky. Spogga, a fire twirler, adds to the drama of the night.
Many streets in downtown Sharon are closed for Waterfire making it family-friendly. Restrooms are located throughout the Festival area with bathrooms near the East Stage and Food Court, near S Dock Street, and near the Bridge.
Sharon is located 70 miles north of Pittsburgh. To get there, head up I76 to I376 and take the PA 760 N exit. This will take you into downtown Sharon where there is parking available at outlying lots and locations. There is also a shuttle bus from Billy’s Black and Gold on Sharpsville Avenue. Find a Waterfire map here: https://www.waterfiresharonpa.org/3427-2-2/
Waterfire takes over downtown Sharon. The GPS address is 7 West State Street, Sharon, PA 16146. For more information, check here: https://www.waterfiresharonpa.org/
photo from waterfiresharonpa.org