WaterFire prepares for big crowds this weekend

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Event organizers are planning for big crowds this holiday weekend and WaterFire is no different. WaterFire is expecting 50,000 to 60,000 people for its second full lighting of the season.

“We’re expecting a great event and people will come from all around the world,” said Barnaby Evans, WaterFire’s Executive Artistic Director.

Security plans are in place for the event.

“Public safety is always our number one concern we have at WaterFire and we work very close with Providence police and the Public Safety Department and they’ve been great,” said Evans.

Evans said Providence police are always keeping track of potential threats and incidents around the world like the attack in Manchester and adapt their security plans accordingly.

“We change the plans for every event based on available intelligence and what happens,” Evans explained. “After the Boston Marathon there were a lot of revisions.”

Evans said those attending this weekend shouldn’t be afraid to have fun but it’s always a good idea to stay alert.

“The main thing I would say to the public is ‘pay attention, keep your eyes out, help us.’ If you see anything that needs reporting, call 911. Providence police will be here,” he said.

Events like WaterFire that bring people from all different backgrounds together is the best way to fight to against what divides, according to Evans.

“As a society and a community we need to live strong, as they say in Boston, and we need to build our society about what’s the very best that we have here and we feel we celebrate that at WaterFire,” he said.

As spectators enjoy the show, Bronwyn Dannefelser, WaterFire’s Director of Resource Development, said it’s also a good time to remember what the long weekend is really about.

“It’s a time for us all to remember everybody who has come before us and that we stand on the shoulders of, as we kind of look back and think and reflect about why we are here and why were are able to have the freedom that we have to do the wonderful things that we can do,” she said.

Saturday’s lighting is scheduled for 8:10 p.m.

Evans said the event has just been listed in the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the five festivals in the world you have to see this summer.