3rd Annual Telluride Fire Fest: Overview

3rd Annual Telluride Fire Fest: Overview

The New Year is off to a flaming start when 3rd annual Telluride Fire Festival, January 20 – January 22, ignites Thursday, January 19. The event opens with a reception featuring Burning Man photographer Scott London, free fire performances at Mountain Lodge, followed by three nights of free fire art installations and fire dancing in Telluride starting Friday, January 20. To volunteer for Fire Fest, go here. To purchase Fire Ball tickets, go here. Link here for all ticketed events and workshops and for further information. Link here to Fire Fest’s FAQ page. 

Preview the fun here with a video made at the 2016 event by Fire Fest board member Suzan Beraza, founder, Reel Things Productions.

The weekend of January 20th should be incendiary.

In our capital.

Around our divided country.

But especially in our little hamlet, where the notion of things (like the world as we know it) going up in flames – can you spell C-L-I-M-A-T-E  C-H-A-N-G-E?– takes on a whole other meaning.

Guaranteed, from Friday January 20 – Sunday, January 22, Telluride and Mountain Village will be the absolute best place on the planet to, yes, escape the headlines-in-the-making – but also to roast marshmallows. The weekend marks the 3rd annual Telluride Fire Festival,“a community celebration of excellence in interactive fire arts.”

The Telluride Fire Festival, a 501c3 event, features free interactive fire art experience on the pedestrian plazas of Mountain Village and Telluride’s Oak Street Gondola Plaza. Like Burning Man, Telluride Fire Fest features multi-storied, fire-emitting installations, with fire dancers on stages giving hot performances.



(With apologies to Jerry Lee Lewis): “Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire…”

We mean literally.

Add to the mix larger-than-life, animated blazing art installations such as:

“Dorothy,” a 24-foot tall fire tornado.

Fire-emitting art cars.

A couple of interactive steel sculptures.

Fire artists and dancers.

And more searing fun, including workshops – welding (January 7 and 8 in Placerville); glassblowing (January 15 or 16 in Telluride), fire-spinning, and aerial silks – in the Towns of Telluride and Mountain Village.

Check out some of the fun from the 2016 event in this video by filmmaker Ken Bailey:

The Telluride Fire Fest’s signature event is the “Fire Ball,” which takes place Saturday, January 21 at the top of the Gondola in what has to be North America’s highest night club.

Come prepared to shake your tail feathers while enjoying live entertainment: silk performers, fire spinners, Roger Clyne, LoveTrib, DJs Ryan Smith and Ryan Strangfellow. Scrumptious food is available for purchase; there is also a cash bar. Costumes are de rigueur for the carnival-like soirée. (Don’t have the right threads? Buy some on arrival from Lily Guilder Design or Parmour Velour.)

As part of their ticket price for the evening, guests of the Fire Ball will also be invited to Fire On The Mountain, the fire sculpture garden atop Chair 7  featuring three fire sculptures on the ski mountain. Two of these works are interactive; one involves audience participation to create the flames.

The grand finale of the outdoor fire art experience is the burning of the 40-foot-tall, Burning Man-style, wooden sculpture.

Tickets for the Fire Ball can be purchased are available here for $35 in advance; $45 at the door.

To continue to appeal to a growing national audience for this specialized artistry, Telluride Fire Fest brings local, regional, and nationally recognized fire artists to Telluride to celebrate their medium.

Participating artists include:

Fire performers who will be doing their thing nightly in Mountain Village, 30 in all, including locals and the following:



Dance of the Sacred Fire from Carbondale

Dream Team Spinners from Chicago

Flow Her Visual Art from Denver


Fire sculptors:

Shane Shane

Justin Gray

Jamie Vaida

Ryon Gesink

Joshua Birkmaier and Caitlin Morris of Gammaspace

Keith D”Angelo

Brent Cain

Anton Viditz-Ward

Anton Ward at Fire Fest

Anton’s Fire Spinner will be at the Sculpture Garden.

Sparky Anderson

Sparky Anderson at Fire Fest

Kenny Browning

Neil Ringstad

Niel Ringstad, Fire Fest

Niel Ringstad,’s Spruce Bomb 2016. He is creating another powerful sculpture for 2017’s Fire on the Mountain.


Musical entertainment:

Roger Clyne


Beatrice Kiddo

Lexie Torelli

Ryan Strangfellow

Ryan Smith


For more info about workshop instructors, fire dancers, musical entertainment, and sculptural fire artists, go here.


In the beginning: How Telluride Fire Fest began:

The monster Sixties rock group known as The Doors put out that provocative invitation in 1966 (in their ‘mongo hit “Light My Fire”): Come on baby, light my fire..”

Twenty years later, in 1986, Burning Man RSVP-ed.

Burning Man was born when Larry Harvey, Jerry James, and a few friends met on Baker Beach in San Francisco and burned a 9-foot (2.7-meter) wooden man and a smaller wooden dog. Burning Man evolved into an annual art event and temporary community based on radical and unedited self-expression and self-reliance that takes place annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

“The Telluride Fire Festival was born out of yearly sojourns at Burning Man in Black Rock City, NV, where spectacular moving and stationary art is on display everywhere. Telluride has a thriving arts community and we want to offer up our region as a new platform to help amplify this dynamic, singularly spectacular fire art form,”explains Telluride Fire Fest co-founder Erin Ries.

Check out this final video from the 2016. This one was made by Brandon Segelke for the Telluride Ski Resort:

More about the Telluride Fire Festival:

Co-founders Ries & Myers:

Erin & Chris – she’s the one in the flaming pink wig –one hot couple, founders of Telluride Fire Festival.

Erin Ries and Chris Myers – she’s the one in the flaming pink wig – are one hot couple and the co- founders of Telluride Fire Festival.

Erin Ries is a 26-year resident of Telluride with a proven track record in running complex and large-scale events such as the Telluride Wine Festival and the Telluride Ski Resort’s Prospect Bowl Grand Opening. When it comes to transforming a vision into reality, she knows how to make it happen. Erin is Fire Fest’s event director. She is also a partner in Diana Ries Designs with her twin sister, Diana.

Chris Myers is a former Town Councilman for Telluride, wholly committed and connected to the community. And as an entrepreneur/founder of his own lighting business—enLIGHTen—13 years ago, he understands the power of light. Chris plans to utilize his skills as a lighting designer to transform the venue for the Fire Ball into a luxurious and lavish space— for one night only, North America’s highest nightclub.


Telluride Fire Festival: Board

“The Telluride Festival relies on input from the seven-person Board of Directors, each of whom is steeped in the world of art and business, a rare combination,” said Ries. “They range from a chef/owner of a five-star restaurant to an award-winning filmmaker, and Owner of a Nutrition & Wellness company. These talented individuals participate in frequent meeting, and temper the Festival’s vision with reality.”

Chris Myers, Board President, Owner/enLIGHTenSuzan Beraza, Founder/Reel Thing Films

Chad Scothorn, Restaurateur

Audrey Marnoy, Marketing Strategist and Philanthropist

Jacqui Power, Teacher

Jerry  LaBonté, LaBonté Nutrition & Wellness, Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor

Lawry de Bivort, Ph.D, Visionary, Strategist


The Telluride Fire Festival, a 501c3 organization, is an interactive fire art experience offering fee-based workshops and  free outdoor displays of fire artistry free to attendees to enable all to immerse themselves in fire arts. Scholarships are available for workshops. If interested, email erin@telluridefirefestival.org for details.

For more about the Festival, to become a sponsor, volunteer, or submit a fire installation for consideration, or subscribe to their enews, visit www.telluridefirefestival.org or email erin@telluridefirefestival.org.



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