Photograph by Peoneemoull Pech

I started volunteering last summer. My family and friends had attended several WaterFire Lighting’s over the years, and the experiences always resonated with me – the blend of the audience, fires, incredible music, lighting and atmosphere combined into something really magical and unique. I really felt like I had never experienced anything like it, and my friends always said the same thing.

Early last year, I decided to book a walking tour to learn more about the event and how it was put together. I decided to take the jump into volunteering after that. I actually first started at the WaterFire Arts Center, volunteering for the Apollo 11 Celebration and later moved into doing the morning build and evening fire tender shifts, as well as various events during the year. There were quite a few interesting highlights from all of my experiences including seeing the giant moon being hung and inflated at the Arts Center, the first test launch of the dream orbs, helping to remove the braziers from the river at the end of the season, my first ride in the procession, getting recognized at the Volunteer Appreciation Party, designing a t-shirt to celebrate the work of the morning build crews, and last but not definitely not least – being able to experience lighting’s from the wood boats on the water, the very best vantage point!

After logging some serious time, a few bruises, and a brazier scar thanks to the wall, I’m back for more this year. It has nothing to do with my fellow volunteer Ken mentioning he “knows where I live”, I swear, but has more to do with seeing how inclusive an event really is and understanding how much it does for the community and City of Providence. It’s something truly worth supporting, but the biggest reason I’m returning over anything else is the incredible group of staff and volunteers that have been so welcoming and fun to be around. It was wonderful to make new friends last year and I can’t wait for things to return to normal so I can get back out on the water with everyone and meet some new faces as well.

– Elvis Seth