Call it a homecoming.
After the groundbreaking of the new borough hall effectively evicted the from its old Bridge Street home, and then the next location the event’s organizers tabbed fell through, the firebird folks finally settled on a new space for the ninth annual Burning of the Phoenix: the site of the first.
On December 8, the Firebird Festival will be held on Main Street, right across from Mill Street, the event’s organizers decided. Firebird co-director Charles Segal says the location will provide more space for the fast-growing festival.
“We’re expecting, and this is just an estimate, upwards of 16,000 people,” Segal told Patch, adding that last year the event drew somewhere between 11,000 and 13,000. In the Firebird’s inaugural burning, just 800 attended.
Segal explained the festival’s location musical chairs as a “combination of factors.” He acknowledged the cost of insurance was a prime mover in the groups’ decision not to stick with the original site it chose (wedged between Main Street and the Gay Street bridge, north of French Creek), but said a host of other logistic concerns were at play too; including a planned landfill on the site.
“The timing was wrong,” said Segal. “Not enough time to get all those ducks in a row.”
Starting September 8, construction efforts on the site will begin. Though the builders usually don’t begin until October, Segal said this year they wanted to get an early jump on the roughly five-week long project.
And though the Firebird organizers already have a core group of builders in place, Segal said any volunteers with a familiarity with basic construction are invited to come and help.