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May 30th, 2013 by Chelsea Kryspin

WaterFire’s First Lighting

This Saturday, I spent most of the day battling the rain, wind, and frigid cold, setting up, lighting the first WaterFire and ending my night sitting in a hospital bed. So- I’ll back up. This weekend was WaterFire’s first lighting of the season. As with any WaterFire, it was a huge undertaking, especially for all the new interns who had never worked an event before. From 6 am, staff were on-site setting up everything from power cables, tents, boats, and speaker systems. We arrived at 8:30 and got right to work. For most of the day, I worked with two of my supervisors, Jamie and Julia, to set up the VIP tent called the Brazier Society. 973815_10151648422477674_871809423_n

It was challenging, but very rewarding to see the final product opening at the end of the night. The rest of the night was spent running to and from to wherever they needed help. One of my jobs on WaterFire evenings is to be in charge of the Special Ops team of volunteers. “Special Ops” refers to the special events that make each WaterFire different and exciting. For this WaterFire, we lead  a team of 16 torch-bearing volunteers through the crowd, to light the torches on the boats which then light the fires during the opening ceremony. Although there were 16 torches, usually there are only one or two guest lighters who give their flame to the boats. I was honored this weekend to be one of the two people who actually lit the fires! It was an amazing experience. The atmosphere at a WaterFire lighting is so serene by also very powerful. I’m so happy I got to play such a central part in the evening.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to enjoy WaterFire for long. Shortly after the lighting ceremony, staff members headed over to the Brazier Society for dinner. It was delicious, except for the fact that I was unaware that some items contained tree nuts. I was driven to the hospital, which was thankfully close by, and after receiving emergency treatment, was fine by the end of the evening. I came back on site around 12pm to finish strike. We were all done by 2am, and then we all got to head home for some well-deserved rest!

There’s no way that I can say that I have a boring internship! There’s so much hands-on work to be done, and everyday we’re learning something new about working in events planning. We’re already going full-steam ahead towards our next full lighting on June 8th. That one will include celebrations around Portugal Day – dancers, musicians and torches, as well as Rhode Island’s “Gaspee Day” observances. This Friday is also a Basin lighting – a smaller-scale version of our full lightings. It’s definitely worth checking out. Until next time!

Read more from Chelsea Kryspin, Humanities

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