Kansas City celebrated its 5th year of Waterfire on the Country Club Plaza in Brush Creek, with many politicians, artists, families and pets. Mayor Sly James was on hand to light the torches to start the floating motion of the boats, down the creek, to light the 55 braizer wood bundles. It took a village to carry this year and previous Waterfire events to fruition. The producer Brush Creek Community Partners (BCCP), and its Executive Director, Carol Grimaldi, were back in their offices Monday morning.They were going over data of the past weekend’s events, when knotmove.com called for a phone interview.”With such beautiful weather the day of the Waterfire event, the “free” public concert, with singers, dancers, performing artists and politicians, brought out a throng of Kansas Citians of over 25,000 plus,” stated Carol Grimaldi. “But we will be looking at other pictures and data to get a more accurate accounting, for our records,” she said. This was BCCP’s first year at the helm, spearheading this wonderful free annual event.
Mayor Sly James was in rare form as usual, kicking off this program at dusk, after enumerating all the wonderful talent, music and performances that were “on tap,” for public viewing and listening. His call to attention was his favorite phrase, he has given at many joyful events in his neophyte year as mayor, “lets paaarrrty!” Also, on stage with the Mayor and his political contingent for opening ceremonies, was the creator/founder/installation artist of Waterfire, R.I., and Waterfire Singapore International, Barnaby Evans. He had started “Waterfire” in 1994 in Rhode Island as a commission, and 10th anniversary celebration of First Night Providence. And more recently, his moving light installation was set afire in Singapore, China.
But, knotmove.com has the local inside scoop, from the Executive Director of Brush Creek Community Partners(BCCP), on the early beginnings of the Kansas City selection process, for this now, international and global event. According to Ms. Grimaldi, whose BCCP group accepted the challenge of producing the 2011 show for Kansas City, stated that ” Kansas City had heard about the success of the Providence, Rhode Island commission, and our Arts and community leaders brought Barnaby to Kansas City in March 2003, to have him look at Brush Creek and help this community replicate his successful arts venture here.” At that time, he said,” that Brush Creek lent itself to replication better than any other river, creek or stream he had seen in the nation.” Key members of the group were able to work with Barnaby in planning to bring Waterfire to Kansas City, which they were able to introduce to KC in the fall of 2007.
“The Kansas City Visitors’ and Convention Association through its Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation was the parent organization for Waterfire Kansas City for the first four years. The CVA was committed to the startup of Waterfire through its 501(C)3 (the foundation),but did not want to be the parent organization, forever. Brush Creek Community Partners were approached about becoming the Producers of Waterfire last fall, so this was our first go-around as producer for this event,” per Carol.
The multi-levels of Kansas Citians that were spread from JC Nichols Rd. East, and Ward Parkway West, where a sure sign of another successful Waterfire exhibition was enjoyed by the public.
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