Plans are in the works for a 'Great Chicago Fire Festival' that comes with a “working budget” of $1 million, according to Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Michelle Boone.
The event to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 would take place next fall and be free to the public. Live music
and other entertainment would be included, but the main attraction is a “procession of illuminated fiberglass sculptures” that would be set on fire on the Chicago River via a “floating mechanical crane.”
will be a pretty dynamic event ... It will begin with placing
artists-in-residence in a number of communities ... Communities will be
invited to nominate artists who will work with community members to
create art pieces that will be part of a major procession along the
river that will culminate with an event that brings some programming to
the riverfront,” Boone said at a budget hearing Wednesday.
Back in 2009,
former Mayor Richard Daley did away with the annual Venetian Night
parade, saying the costs of fireworks and security for the 52 year-old event, which together amounted to
$300,000, were too high.
In response to
questions from Budget Committee Chairman Ald. Carrie Austin (34th),
Boone said the event itself is not expected to produce much revenue because it is free to the public. But, she noted, the event
would generate economic activity via tourism, drumming up funds for hotels, restaurants and retailers.
$250,000 of the $1 million "working budget" would come from the city to
pay for "community engagement," with the rest of the tab being picked
up through private funds.
Redmoon Theater company is partnering with the city on the festival.