Dazzling fire sculptures, thrilling entertainment and non-stop fun await. Chicago is set to host the Great Chicago Fire Festival, a new and totally free urban event that will become a signature of the city. The citywide spectacle, co-produced by Redmoon Theater and the City of Chicago, is designed to unite Chicago's neighborhoods and show the world the strength of the city.
Over the past few months leading up to the festival, Redmoon has traveled to 15 Chicago neighborhoods to present free, public events and art activities. The Summer Celebrations engage and empower residents through food, music, art and collaborative creation. The celebrations consist of a wide-range of programs, including community barbecues, photography projects, sculptural builds and Redmoon's transformative and interactive machinery.
River Bazaar & Grand Spectacle: October 4
- 8:00pm on Saturday, October 4
- Chicago Riverwalk, between State Street & Columbus Drive
The Summer Celebrations culminate on 10.4.14 with the Great Chicago Fire Festival, an epic fire-on-water parade that will incorporate the neighborhood engagements with large-scale displays on the main branch of the Chicago River between State Street and Columbus Drive bridges.
Beginning mid-afternoon, a River Bazaar will feature 15 designated areas, each representing an official Fire Festival Neighborhood, where local crafts, goods and food will be sold throughout the afternoon. Photos of the community members, taken during the summer celebrations, will adorn each area.
As the sun begins to set, thousands of people will gather by the river to take part in the larger-than-life event. Television/film actors Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney, both stars of the hit NBC drama Chicago Fire, will ignite the festivities — literally! — as they light one of 15 massive "Fire Cauldrons" that will be lowered from bridges to watercraft waiting on the Chicago River below.
From there, an elaborate Grand Spectacle performance will unfold as Fire Sculptures will burn atop three massive floating platforms on the river. The sculptures are symbolic objects designed in movements: an exterior house-like structure is representative of pre-Fire Chicago architecture that burns away, and an interior that rises out of the flames to reveal a symbolic core celebrates the city's rise after the historic 1871 fire and its prosperity since.
Some 400 different performers and singers will stage the event — among them fire dancers on the riverbanks, a Victorian-era-inspired steampunk boat and the Chicago Children's Choir. The grand finale will be a stunning river fireworks display set to music.
The inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival is a testament to Chicago's resurgence following the fire of 1871, as well as to its cultural diversity and continued growth.