Waterfire returns to Sharon

SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) — Lighting is the only thing that will stop Waterfire Sharon Saturday night.

This is the second year for the event, but getting Waterfire to the Shenango Valley took lots of planning and some international competition.

Saturday evening the fire will be glowing on the Shenango River. But keeping the wood dry all afternoon on the 55 braziers is a must.

“It’s nice and dry it’s been in a warehouse, it won’t be smoky and we won’t take the rain flies off until right before we light,” said Jennifer Barborak.

Waterfire can only be seen in six cities – Sharon is one. To get it here, the city had to sell itself to Waterfire directors and the artist.

“We wanted to highlight this great natural resource the Shenango River,” said Bob Wilson.

That was part of the pitch, bringing arts and culture, economic development and tourism were the other key factors.

“It just caught my ear. And it just seemed because these people were real people, they had a lot of enthusiasm, they had a lot of just energy that had to be spent somewhere,” said Allen Redfern of Waterfire International.

Big cities like Paris and Berlin have expressed interest in bringing the art show.

“Seeing Sharon kind of sealed the deal,” said Allen Redfern.

Waterfire has helped revitalize downtown Sharon. There are almost a dozen new businesses in town.

Then there’s the economic impact of Waterfire. The event is slated to bring in $1.3 million dollars this year, a $143,000 increase from last year.

“We draw from Cleveland, Pittsburgh. I got a call the other day a couple is coming up from North Carolina specifically to see Waterfire,” said Bob Wilson.

There are two more Waterfire shows in August and September.

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