Steel Supports Centerpiece of Great Chicago Fire Festival

One of the steel-framed replica houses that will be set ablaze during the Great Chicago Fire Festival on Saturday night. Photo: AISC

The inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival will light up the Loop tomorrow night with a spectacle of fire celebrating the city’s spirit of grit and renewal following the Great Fire of 1871.

The parade, which will take place at 8 p.m. on the Chicago River between the State Street and Columbus Drive bridges, will center around three floating Victorian houses (inspired by the homes destroyed during the 1871 fire) that will, at the end of the show, burn to reveal giant steel sculptures, according to a Crain’s Chicago Business article. There will be flaming buoys, smoking steamships, fireworks and fire cauldrons.

ABC 7 Chicago reports that 60,000 lbs. of steel was used to build the 1870-era house sculptures, which were floated from the shop down the Chicago River to the festival site.

About 200 architects, engineers and painters worked to build the sculptures.

The festival is being presented by the Redmoon Theater in partnership with the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District, and is planned to become an annual tradition.

Check out photos of the build process at