Great Chicago Fire Festival Dampened by Rain

Having a fiery event in the rain isn’t easy, as organizers of the Great Chicago Fire Festival learned Saturday.

Despite much anticipation over the festival’s flame-focused “grand spectacle,” the fiery event was put out by the cold, rainy weather in the city, leaving the estimated 30,000 Chicagoans in attendance with little to see.

“After an electrical issue with the ignition system caused by recent heavy rains delayed the main fire effect, and several unsuccessful attempts at manual ignition, Redmoon and the operational team moved on to a spectacular fireworks finale,” a release from Redmoon said.

While the viewer experience was dampened by the lack of flames, officials touted the remaining successes of the fest, including a neighborhood bazaar, a fireworks finale, a parade of boats and a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir.

But many shivering on the Chicago shores in hopes of seeing the surprise behind the flames were less than pleased.

“Oh this show is great, they got like blow torches down there and everything,” said one spectator.

Others, understand that you can’t always mix fire with rain.

“Stuff happens so it’s just whatever,” one woman said following the festival.

The much-anticipated event drew several city politicans including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn, several city aldermen and even actor Martin Sheen, who is campaigning for Quinn's re-election bid. The event, organized to commemorate the rebuilding of the city following the fire of 1871, was promoted by Emanuel as “an event worthy of our world-class city.”

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