CHICAGO — As if Mayor Rahm Emanuel hadn't already proved he likes to play with fire with school closings, he announced plans Friday to ignite a Great Chicago Fire Festival with the help of one of the city's most spectacular theater groups.
Although plans for the October 2014 Fire Fest are certain to evolve over the next 18 months, they include fiberglass fire sculptures floating on the Chicago River's main branch and "a fire spectacle," the mayor's office said.
The city will partner with Redmoon, the local theater group known for its outdoor spectaculars, to launch the event.
Following up on his Thursday vow to make the Chicago River "the next recreational frontier," Emanuel said the fire festival "will allow all Chicagoans and all of our guests to enjoy the wonderful Chicago River, one of the city’s greatest natural assets."
"We hope to create a unique event for Chicagoans that captures the world’s imagination,” said Jim Lasko, co-artistic director at Redmoon.
“Chicago is distinguished by the determination to innovate, to reinvent, to rise from the ashes. From the earliest prairie fires off Wolf Point to the city’s rebirth following the Great Chicago Fire, Chicago’s history is marked by episodes of destruction and renewal," Lasko said.
Redmoon also intends to work with local theater, arts and community groups across the city on various projects and events leading up to the festival.
"It’s thrilling to collaborate with Redmoon on the development of a new urban festival,” said Michelle T. Boone, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
“The Great Chicago Fire Festival will showcase and provide a creative platform for the amazing talents of Jim Lasko and the Redmoon creative team. It will engage Chicagoans of all ages, and advance many priorities of the Cultural Plan, such as fostering cultural innovation, strengthening Chicago as a global cultural destination, and making the arts accessible to all residents," Boone said.