ArtAFlame, an event that raised $1,200 for Pine-Strawberry Fuel Reduction, was held last Friday in Strawberry and the spectacle surprised most locals who attended.

Brought to us by Kim Brennan of the PIEbar, she saw the unique event as a fun and dramatic way to raise money and awareness to the wildfire dangers our community faces.

Using fire performers to raise money for wildfire protection and prevention is a very interesting idea, Brennan admitted. She was looking for fun and different, and she definitely found it.

“Burners” as the performers and artists were called, make it a hobby to create metal sculptures that can be lit on fire — awe-inspiring and jarring all at the same time. The event also attracted an eclectic group of spectators, many of which dressed in attire not typically seen in the woods.

The event had a “Mad Max” vibe with burners, performers and dancers oddly dressed for a day in the woods. Once the event got going, the random bits of armor, combined with exaggerated makeup, top hats, capes and fishnet stockings looked quite normal.

There was live music from the Hardways and a DJ.

As dusk arrived, “burners” took to their stations and lit a large metal strawberry, created just for this event. Flames leapt from all kinds of odd shaped items.

There was a neon lighted clock tower spewing flames out its top, several sculptures aflame, and the “Eastie Beastie,” a rat rod art car by Nick Rice used in filming in the next “Mad Max” film.

As it got darker, dancers took to the stage with flaming batons. The crowd was full of ohs and ahs.

More than one local was heard saying, “this is not what I expected.” But most stayed and enjoyed. The large blasts of flames coming from the different art installations shocked many.

But with the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department watching over the event, most relaxed.

Most of the spectators I spoke to said they would be back next year, and some even plan to have an “outfit” to wear.

The event appears to have been a success, one more bit of different in the little hamlet of Pine-Strawberry.

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