Rahm Emanuel

Great Chicago Fire Festival to Move to Northerly Island

Last year's event was considered a bust after several of the model houses floating down the river failed to ignite

After last year's "fiasco on the river," the Great Chicago Fire Festival will move to drier land this fall.

The new location for the Sept. 26 event is Northerly Island, located just south of the Loop, according to the Chicago Tribune. Last year's festival was held on the Chicago River, but the flame-focused "grand spectacle" was doused by the cold, rainy weather, leaving the estimated 30,000 Chicagoans in attendance with little to see.

This year, the logistical challenges will be simplified because the engineers will not have to light the model houses on fire while they float down the river on a moving boat. Instead, just one model house will be ignited on unmoving dry land, the Tribune reports.

Viewers of last year's spectacle were forced to skip ahead to the fireworks finale after the ignition system for the model houses failed due to heavy rain. Although they missed the main event, city officials planned several other activities around the festival, including a neighborhood bazaar and a performance by the Chicago Children's Choir.

The Great Chicago Fire Festival was organized to commemorate the rebuilding of the city following the fire of 1871 and was heavily promoted by the city of Chicago. Last year's event drew several city politicians, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Gov. Pat Quinn and several city aldermen. Actor Martin Sheen, who was campaigning for Quinn's re-election at the time, also attended. 

The festival is produced by the city of Chicago and Redmoon Theater. The cost of last year's event was estimated at $2 million.

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