providence has hit upon a great and fairly simple scheme to attract tourists. here’s the description from the website:

    WaterFire, Barnaby Evans’ award winning fire sculpture installation on the three rivers in downtown Providence, has been praised by Rhode Island residents and international visitors alike as a powerful work of art and a moving symbol of Providence’s renaissance.

    WaterFire centers on a series of 100 bonfires that blaze just above the surface of the three rivers that pass through the middle of downtown Providence. The string of fires illuminates nearly two-thirds of a mile of urban public spaces and parks, and residents and visitors gather to stroll along the river while listening to a memorable and eclectic selection of classical and world music that serves as a melodic accompaniment to the normal sounds of urban life. The fires are tended from sunset to past midnight by black-clad performers in boats who pass quietly before the flames. There are no admission charges to WaterFire.

this happens almost every weekend during the summer. andy and i went last weekend (we ate at a place the mills’ tavern, which was sorely lacking in the vegetarian department, but andy quite enjoyed his lamb) and our friend finagled our way onto a boatride as well. also had a memorable time at a very comfortable coffee/wine place afterwards. the event also includes some live music (salsa dancing when we went) and the usual range of street performers. in itself it may not be worth a special trip, but it’s worth planning a trip that includes it.


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