Sat 9/26 @ 4PM
The first annual FireFish Festival will light up downtown Lorain this Sat 9/26, starting at 4PM. This free inaugrual event will heat up Broadway Avenue’s alleyways, fire escapes and rooftops as they will set the stage for blazing flashes of art, music, dance and fire performances.
A celebration of the city’s organic beauty, its majestic classic architecture, industrial heritage, rich history and support for the arts, the FireFish Festival will feature a variety of exciting performances by local artists and world musicians. There will also be inventive visual art installations, fire performers and more. Downtown Lorain’s urban landscape will be transformed into a fiery and dynamic artistic experience for all to enjoy.
“The goal is to produce events in downtown Lorain featuring art and music that inspires the community to rediscover the city and to serve as an economic engine for Lorain’s renaissance,” states James Levin (Cleveland Public Theatre, Ingenuity Festival, Cleveland World Festival), executive and artistic director of the FireFish Arts Festival. “We will be activating a dozen spaces, abandoned storefronts, courtyards, alleys and fire escapes, featuring a very wide variety of visual and performance arts, primarily from Lorain County. The exhibits and performances will take place in abandoned storefronts and outdoor areas not normally associated with performance. The juxtaposition of art and performance in newly discovered space allows the public to look at both the art and the space in a newly charged way…its a way for people to rediscover and re-envision Lorain.”
FireFish is the extension of Follow the Fish Art and Adventure Trail, Lorain County’s first countywide public arts project, launched in May 2013 with the sponsorship of 87 artists who created fish in nine municipalities. The support sparked the launch of a series of artshops organized by Follow the Fish across Lorain County in the summer of 2014. Artists, arts vendors, food trucks and arts activities enlivened parks and public spaces, urban streetscapes, storefronts and sidewalks, connecting locations and communities together.
“With the authentic pre-World War Two architecture, the very interesting nooks and crannies, alleys and courtyards, fire escapes and balconies, I felt that downtown Lorain had a trove of cool places that could be ‘activated’,” explains Levin. “It reminds me very much of the early days in the Gordon Square Arts District. There is distinctive architecture, abandoned spaces, et cetera. The theme evolved from ‘Follow the Fish’ to a celebration of transformation, focusing on fire and water. To me, fire symbolizes both the industrial heritage of Lorain and also transformation itself. We retained the fish motif because of ‘Follow the Fish’ but also because of the transformative symbolism of water.”
“There are many highlights to see and hear,” says James. “Absolutely everyone should come. Rick Smith Jr. the magician is loved by kids and adults. I think children would be into the art and certainly the fire artists as well. The music will be appealing to adults across the board — twentysomethings to older folks. We’ll be featuring electronic music, jazz, salsa, folk music, classical, taiko and tibetan bells. People that remember Lorain as an active city should come to enjoy a glimpse of what it could be again.
He concludes, “There’ll be plenty of food vendors as well as wine and beer. Plus there’s a lot to see and hear, so give yourself plenty of time.”
Plenty of parking is available west of Broadway, between 5th and 6th. There’s also hundreds of spaces at the Black River Landing lots, east of Broadway.