Creek Fire: Watch illuminated boat parades, live entertainment this summer
Update: The Creek Fire event planned for June 26 has been cancelled due to rain, according to Kelley Gibson, Director of Communications and Engagement at Cultural Alliance of York County.
As the sun began to set on a recent Saturday night, a crowd of about 150 watched as Codorus Creek in downtown York became illuminated in fire and lights.
At about 8:30 p.m., three floating fire pits were lit, and three kayaks and a sailboat covered in lights set sail for the first illuminated art boat parade.
Some might remember the fire pits from the Creek Fire events, which were held for the first time in 2012 at Foundry Park.
The event was originally organized as a way to bring attention to Codorus Creek and use an under-utilized space, the original organizer Jack Longstreet said.
"This is our wonderful urban water feature," Longstreet said. "People drive over it all the time, and they don't even think about it."
The second Creek Fire of the year will be held Saturday, June 27 at 7 p.m. Face painting and chalk art will begin at about 7:30 p.m., followed by the lighting of the fire pits at 8:30 p.m. and music from First Capital Brass from 9 to 10 p.m.
Creek Fire used to only include the floating fire pits. But on the fourth Saturday in May, local sculptor Clifton Santiago brought the event back to Foundry Park for the third year and added the illuminated art boat parade and live entertainment.
"Burning fire pits are nice, but it's not enough," Santiago said. "We want to bring people's attention to this part of York and get people to realize that this is a safe part of town."
The event in May kicked off at 7 p.m. with a performance from a Mark Twain impersonator.
Then, Santiago and other local artists prepared for the boat parade. He converted a kayak into a dragon boat, made out of packing material held together with zip ties. The parade also included a ghost ship, a colorful, whimsical creature, and a woman dressed in lights.
"The boats are so unique," Laura Church, of York City, said.
Church brought her three children to Creek Fire for the first time.
"The atmosphere is great," she said. "The kids keep saying, 'Another one, another one!"
After the boat parade, folk band Free Breakfast performed a set until 10 p.m.
Peter Boles, of York City, attended Creek Fire Saturday night and said the crowd was twice as big as last summer.
"It's turning into a really cool event, and it's going to be even better with time," Peter Boles, of York City, said.
Creek Fire will be held every fourth Saturday through September, with different entertainment each time, Santiago said. He hopes to book poets, dance troupes and fire performers for future events, but the summer lineup for the next few months has not yet been set.
Santiago also said he hopes to add more boats to the parade at each event leading up to the grand finale in September.
If you go
What: Creek Fire
When: 7 to 10 p.m. every Fourth Saturday through September
Where: Foundry Park, 200 block of West Philadelphia Street
Parking: Free parking is available across the street from the park behind the Susquehanna Commerce Center.
For more information: Visit downtownyorkpa.com.