Fanning the Flames

This fire performer used hand fire fans as he danced and twirled at the seventh annual New Haven Fire Fest in 2014. The daylong event featured many fire-themed activities. In the evening, many fire dancers performed to a large crowd.  Missourian Photo.

The annual New Haven Fire Fest is set for this Saturday, Nov. 7, in New Haven.

There is no charge to attend or for parking at the family-friendly festival, noted Gary Rice, one of the organizers.

Fire Fest is sponsored by the Riverfront Arts District, and is expected to draw 3,000 to 4,000 people to New Haven throughout the day.

Cannon firing, food and beverage vendors and arts and crafts demonstrations will open at noon.

Festivities will officially kick off with a parade, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Rice said anyone who wants to participate in the parade is welcome.

Children and others are invited to wear their Halloween costume and take part in the parade. Those who want to be in the parade should meet at 11:30 a.m. at the riverfront caboose.

The American Legion, vintage cars and motorcycles and others also will be in the parade lineup.

“This is a wonderful family event, and our town is so proud and happy to bring this to everyone,” Rice said. “If people haven’t been, they don’t know what they’re missing.”

New this year will be a fire tornado, where a vortex will be created using box fans and fuel.

“It’s amazing. It looks like a spinning tornado with flames” Rice said, adding that the spectacle can get up to 20 feet tall. “The fire tornado is going to be a thrill.”

The event will begin about 7 p.m., near the boat ramp in the downtown area.

Each year, Rice said, people who attend offer ideas for new fire feats to show at the event.

Rice said organizers heard about the tornado, did research online and gave it a try.

“I think we have a really rockin’ new event for Fire Fest,” he said.

Also new this year will be Flux Inferno, a group from Beaufort that will dance at the event.

After dark, an icehouse will be burnt down, followed by a “burning man” demonstration and flaming pumpkin chunking.

The house of fire is an 8-foot by 8-foot by 8-foot house of clear ice blocks filled with firewood. As the wood is burnt, the ice will melt and collapse.

For pumpkin chunking, a catapult is used to fling chunks of pumpkin in the river. In the evening, the pumpkins will be filled with a flammable material before they’re launched.

The weather forecast looks good for Saturday, but the event is held rain or shine, Rice said.


Other events scheduled throughout the day are as follows:

1 p.m., veterans ceremony;

1:30 p.m., Babaloo concert;

2 p.m., firemen demo;

2:30 p.m., storyteller’s war stories;

3 p.m., trebuchet pumpkin chunking;

3:30 p.m., Babaloo concert;

5 p.m., trebuchet pumpkin chunking;

6 p.m., fire dancers performance;

6:30 p.m., house of fire and ice;

7 p.m., fire tornado;

7:30 p.m., trebuchet pumpkin chunking; and

8 p.m., burning man (if river levels allow).

All-Day Activities

War re-enactors also will be present and antique fire engines will be on display.

Artist demonstrations will include glassblowing, blacksmithing, pottery, candle making and woodcarving.

Music will be performed by Thom Palazolla, Greg Krone and Blue Gill Buddies, and Betty Crawford and Friends.

Guests also may visit a spirit garden by Pickney Bend and Second Shift Brewery.