Fire Festival Flails, Fails, and Flames Out on Chicago River

The Great Chicago Fire Festival 2014

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.

—Daniel Burnham

You don’t need this blog to tell you that the inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival didn’t go off exactly as planned.  30,000 of you saw it in person, and a couple of million more watched it flame out on the news over the weekend.

Let us not heap scorn on the people who spent $2 million putting the less-than-spectacular spectacle together.  They tried.  What did you do this weekend?

One of the best bosses I ever had was at a television station in Ohio.  He would let his employees try anything once.  If it worked out, great!  Everyone benefits.  If it didn’t work out, he would call it an “error of enthusiasm” and move on, making sure the lesson was learned by everyone.  This kind of creative freedom was the reason the local programming was far and away number one in their time slots, even though the network affiliation sucked.

There were some great moments at the Fire Festival here and there, even if not everyone could see them.  Chicago Architecture Blog photographer Milosh Kosanovich took these pictures that make the event look pretty darned good.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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