For two and a half decades, WaterFire has illuminated Providence. To celebrate the city and community we call home, Brown University is sponsoring WaterFire Providence on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, and all are welcome to enjoy the world-class art experiences, performances and programs.

Join us for Providence’s signature event!

Building Community Through Art

a boat approaching the waterfire floating fire pitsOn Saturday, Oct. 22, members of the Brown community and neighbors across Providence and the region will come together for WaterFire, a world-class art experience that brings thousands of visitors to downtown Providence. The event will begin approximately 20 minutes past sunset (5:53 p.m.) in Waterplace Park with a lighting procession. Brown community members carrying torches will line the basin and serve as the origin of the light that will extend in wood-filled braziers along the river.  

Attendees are invited to take in the sights and sounds of the illuminated downtown, as well as visit many food, drink and art vendors who line the streets along with WaterFire performers. As part of Brown’s sponsorship of the event, Brown-affiliated groups will perform and host various activities throughout the evening, and the University will feature hospitality tents for Brown parents and families (on Market Square) and Warren Alpert Medical School community members celebrating 50 Years of Medicine at Brown (on Washington Street).

The event is free and open to the public, and the fires will remain lit until 10 p.m.

About WaterFire

waterfire showing crowds on both shoresLaunched in the mid-1990s by Brown Class of 1975 graduate Barnaby Evans, the award-winning WaterFire has been acclaimed by Rhode Island residents and international visitors alike as a powerful work of art and a moving symbol of Providence’s renaissance. During each lighting, more than 80 sparkling bonfires, the fragrant scent of wood smoke, flickering firelight on the city’s arched bridges, silhouettes of the fire-tenders passing by the flames, torch-lit vessels traveling down the river, and enchanting music from around the world engage the senses and emotions of those who stroll Providence’s streets and sidewalks.

Each year, WaterFire attracts nearly 1 million visitors to downtown Providence. According to organizers, it creates $113 million in economic output for local businesses annually, generates over $9 million of tax revenue for the State of Rhode Island, and supports 1,294 jobs for community residents.

Learn More at Waterfire.org

Brown and Providence

Brown’s support for WaterFire echoes a University-wide commitment to the community it calls home. For more than two and a half centuries, Brown has been deeply connected to the diverse and vibrant City of Providence — as a neighbor, employer and institution dedicated to a mission of education, research and service.

At the heart of the relationship between the University and the people and organizations in the city and state is a dedication to productive engagement and partnership. Through contributions ranging from improving medical care and public health, to community engagement activities, support for schools and our role in fueling the regional economy, Brown is deeply dedicated to investing in the success of our local community.

One example of how that commitment is brought to life is through Brown’s medical school, which is celebrating 50 years of making a positive impact on patients and health care in Rhode Island. As a research university with the only schools of medicine and public health in the state, Brown contributes to world-class medical care, strong patient outcomes and innovative solutions for pressing health challenges facing communities across Rhode Island through its Warren Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health and affiliated programs. The Oct. 22 Waterfire helps to celebrate the enduring connection to the neighbors and families we serve.

Learn More about Brown and Providence

Weekend Celebrations

During the WaterFire weekend, Brown will welcome parents and family members of current students from across the globe to Providence for Family Weekend and Medical Family Weekend. Brown will also host an Advisory Council Fall Weekend for members of the president's councils who support the mission and priorities of the University, as well as other leaders in the Brown alumni volunteer community. 

Family Weekend is an important event in our community — a time when many students share their lives on campus with their families for the first time. We hope that your visit will give you a small taste of your student's experience in and out of the classroom.
In addition to welcoming parents and families for Medical Family Weekend, Brown is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Warren Alpert Medical School. Families as well as the entire Brown medical community are invited to mark this milestone with us.

Getting to WaterFire

WaterFire takes place in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, along Memorial Boulevard and the Providence and Woonasquatucket rivers. It is right at the heart of downtown and runs for just over one-half mile from Providence Place to the Crawford Street Bridge. It is best enjoyed by walking and strolling. Visit the interactive WaterFire event map.


Providence is a wonderfully walkable city, and we encourage you to start your adventure by enjoying the spectacular architecture of the city. 


WaterFire is one block from the Providence Amtrak/MBTA Station, which hosts Acela and regional Amtrak trains, as well as being served from Boston by the MBTA and commuter trains. The train ride from Boston is about 45 minutes. Check out the new MBTA Beginner’s Guide to the Commuter Rail. You can also take the train between Green Airport and Providence.


From Interstate 95 North or South, take exit 37B to downtown. The off-ramp brings you onto Memorial Boulevard, which runs along the river. WaterFire is on your left after the first set of lights, and the installation extends down past the Crawford Street Bridge. From Route 195, follow the signs for Route 95 North (toward Boston). Stay to the right, take exit 37B, and follow the directions above.

Parking Suggestions

In addition to more than 40 parking lots and garages, downtown Providence has over 1,100 on-street parking spaces. We recommend planning to park in a lot or garage, unless you arrive early to secure street parking. 

View More Directions


Reach out to us at [email protected].