The first Chicago Fire Festival may have fizzled this past weekend, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the event will likely return next year, albeit with changes.
The event, featuring a neighborhood bazaar, vendors, food and “a fire spectacle on the main branch of the Chicago River,” came to an anti-climatic end when the structures failed to ignite.
Emanuel defended the event Wednesday.
"When 30-40,000 folks show up in that environment or atmosphere, it's a clear sign that what the event was about touched a spirit in the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.
The mayor said the event was part of a summer learning program that incorporated nine different neighborhoods and thousands of students who helped work on the project.
"I don't want to lose that. I think that's an incredible education, a place where kids can come together from all parts of the city, participate in not only learning about the story of the history of Chicago and the resiliency that was shown," Emanuel said.
Emanuel said the event will be reviewed and no final decisions will be made until the report comes back.
"I do believe this is something we want to continue to do, and we'll look at different ways to do it, but not just throw in the towel, that's not how we're going to do things, but we'll make the changes necessary," Emanuel said.
Redmoon officials blamed the failure on an electrical issue with the ignition system caused by heavy rain.
The event drew several city politicians, including Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn, several city aldermen and actor Martin Sheen.
Ald. Ed Burke questioned the reported $2 million the city spent to stage the event and wondered why the contracts for the charges weren’t publicly posted.