June 25, 2018 Festival Press Release


For Immediate Release


Fourth Annual FireFish Festival Transforms Downtown Lorain on Friday, September 21 and Saturday September 22 From 4 to 11 p.m.

Free All-Encompassing Multi-cultural Arts Experience Will Dazzle with Music, Dance, Fire, and Art in Unexpected Places Culminating in The Spectacular Burning of the Fish

The fourth annual FireFish Festival www.firefishfestival.com will once again transform downtown Lorain into an exciting stage for sizzling fire, arts performances and installations set to the rhythms of local and world musicians on Friday,  September 21 and Saturday, September 22 from 4 to 11 p.m.. Bringing vibrancy and pride to downtown Lorain,  the FireFish Festival, which is free to the public, will shine a light on the city’s great beauty, with its miles of lake and river front and its classic architecture as well as its long history of pluck and overcoming challenges.

The excitement of the FireFish Festival with its performances in unexpected places and percussion parade culminating in the burning of the ceremonial fish will be built upon this year with even more diversity in art and performances and the most spectacular fiery finale yet with an interactive component and theme of “release.” Friday night will feature headliner Carlos Jones & the P.L.U.S. Band, Northeast Ohio’s number one reggae band along with an eclectic array of multi-cultural music groups.  Visitors can join the party, dancing to the music from around the world from a mainstage on Broadway,   enjoy the dramatic art installations that will transform Lorain’s store fronts and abandoned buildings and take in the make shift art galleries along Broadway.  They can return on Saturday for non-stop international music, dance, theatre, art and fire performers galore, both on stages and in the hidden alleys, empty storefronts, balconies and fire escapes on Broadway Avenue including the acrobatic dance group, Jasmine Dragons, Sammy De Leon and his fusion/salsa band, samba dance performance by Oberlin’s Alysia Ramos, the Exotic Fruit Club’s unique grunge dream sound, and the Great Lakes Light Opera, among many others.   All will lead up to the one-of-kind spectacle of the burning of the fish, a giant sculpture designed and choreographed by interdisciplinary theater and performance artist Daniel McNamara (alumni of the storied Bread and Puppet Theater.)

According to Executive Director James Levin, “We are delighted that FireFish has grown to be an annual destination for art, music and fun lovers throughout Northeastern Ohio. With the themes this year of “diversity” and “release,” FireFish will continue to create a celebration for the entire community offering outdoor pageantry that makes this festival unique and unforgettable. We are thrilled to be attracting high profile artists wanting to be a part of the creative FireFish experience and hope to continue to draw thousands of new visitors to this hidden gem on the water.”

This year, the percussion parade and burning of the fish will interact with the community with a theme of “release” or letting go of the stresses, conflicts, negative relationships or old habits that hold us back.   Attendees will be invited to bring flammable artifacts to a ceremonial bamboo altar which, when it burns along with the fish, will symbolize for them the release of the old and a fresh start.  According to featured artist Daniel McNamara, “The dazzling procession with percussion, fire performers and belly dancers leading to the burning of the fish has become a ritual and this year, we want to create an even more memorable spectacle. By inviting the community to release things, ideas and feelings that no longer serve us personally and societally, participants can gather around the fire to experience a cathartic and emotional rebirth which mirrors the emergence of Lorain from its decaying past to a new vibrant artistic mecca.”

Community members of all ages, students and teen arts apprentices from the LCCC Summer STEAM Teen Academy will all help in creating the centerpiece of the festival — the giant FireFish sculpture that comes to life spewing fire. This year, under the direction of McNamara, the fish will be created from upcycled paper and cardboard.

“We are proud to support the FireFish Festival and cultural events in the communities where we live and work,” said Dee Lowery, president of the FirstEnergy Foundation, the presenting sponsor of the festival for the fourth year.   “This is just another way FirstEnergy works to improve the quality of life for all our customers.”

The FireFish Festival is part of FireFish Arts, founded in 2013, which is creating a bold new vision and model of arts event-based civic engagement, commerce, and enterprise through which downtown Lorain, the community, and region can work toward building a renewed creative economy.


Randi Cone
Cone Media and Associates
216-342-4125 (o)
917-744-1528 (m)