About the FireFish Festival

During the FireFish Festival, downtown Lorain is transformed into a stage for a scorching array of art, dance, music, and FIRE orchestrated in unexpected places. 

Opera on a fire truck, art installations lighting up storefronts, fire dancing on rooftops, ballet in an alley, or cabaret in an abandoned building – anything is possible at FireFish!

The spark of possibility, transformation and imagination is the light of FireFish!

Local food and beverage vendors, regional artists and artisans, and interactive activities for all ages round out the festivities. The pulse of live music, dance, and a larger than life “FireFish” leads to the dusk performance where drums, fire dancers, and fire jugglers light the way to a blaze of art and performances that sizzle.  The FireFish Finale is the Firing of the FireFish, a giant burning sculpture build by professional artists and teen participants in the FireFish STEAM Academy.

With the talents of the Festival’s Executive and Artistic Director James Levin  leading the way (Ingenuity Festival, Cleveland World Festival, Wooster Jam Arts and Music Festival, Cleveland Public Theatre), FireFish creates a multi-layered mesmerizing experience for all the senses.  This provides a glimpse into what is possible when our artists and creatives are fully involved in the transformation of our downtown and region.


Our Mission chang-and-jackson-on-pavilion

FireFish Arts is a non-profit community-based art, civic and economic development initiative working in synergy with diverse community partners and sectors in the city of Lorain and throughout Lorain County.

We come together to create, celebrate, inspire, and be inspired, transforming the downtown Lorain and Black River Landing waterfront experience through the FireFish Festival.


The spark of possibility, transformation, and imagination is the light of FireFish.  

The fish speaks to our deep connection to the water – our Great Lake Erie, the Black River and all of the incredible natural resources in our region.

The fire connects us to our industrial heritage, the steel mills along that waterway, the fire within us all.

The FireFish lights the way to a new future and vision for our city and region — where the arts and artists join with the community to help  lead us into an new era of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Our History

Cited as the latest example of “art as a catalyst for civic rebirth” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board, the first Festival, held in September 2015, drew 10,000 attendees. The excitement of this unique event with its performances in unexpected places and percussion parade culminating in the burning of the ceremonial fish has been built upon each year.  Extended hours, additional venues, a wider array of exciting performances, inventive visual art installations, fire performers, and more transform Lorain’s downtown urban landscape into a fiery and dynamic artistic experience that engaged all of the senses.

According to Executive Director James Levin, “With FireFish Festival, we dare to reimagine what downtown Lorain could be, and now in its fourth year, the fruits of our labor are evident with stores, dance and yoga studios, recording studios and bars springing up along Broadway Avenue. Similar to what Cleveland Public Theatre brought to Gordon Square and what the Ingenuity Festival brought to East 4th Street, this festival is the impetus for the reinvention of Lorain as a dynamic, artistic mecca.   By bringing together local and regional visual, performing, and installation artists, some experimenting with the forms of fire in their art and presented in places that you may not expect, we have created an unforgettable one-of-a-kind arts festival.


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