Emanuel Unveils Plans For New Chicago Festival

There's a new festival in town, Chicago, and it pulls from the city's fiery roots.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday a plan to create a new city fest with Redmoon Theater called The Great Chicago Fire Festival. It is scheduled to debut in October of 2014 and culminate in "a fire spectacle on the main branch of the Chicago River."

“The Great Chicago Fire Festival will be truly unique, an event worthy of our world-class city,” Emanuel said.

The mayor said the fest looks to the Chicago Cultural Plan's goals of creating a large-scale festival that highlights city heritage and attracts global attention.

"Additionally, it will allow all Chicagoans and all of our guests to enjoy the wonderful Chicago River, one of the city’s greatest natural assets,” he said.

Emanuel is particularly excited about the river this week. The city landed a $100 million federal loan funded by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act to overhaul six blocks of the Chicago Riverwalk, from State Street west to the three river branches.

Besides being a future haven of restaurants, recreation and public gathering, the river could be a celebration point as well. Emanuel says he envisions thousands of people gathering at the river for the Great Chicago Fire Festival and to watch the performance from Redmoon.

"Chicago is distinguished by the determination to innovate, to reinvent, to rise from the ashes," Jim Lasko, co-artistic director at Redmoon, said. "From the earliest prairie fires off Wolf Point to the City’s rebirth following the Great Chicago Fire, Chicago’s history is marked by episodes of destruction and renewal.”

Additional details about the festival will be announced later this year.

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