2016 was my first year attending the finale to Phoenixville’s Firebird Festival, the burning of the Phoenix.
The Phoenix is a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. It is said that a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. This symbolc ritual is accurate of Phoenixville’s rejuvenation over the past several years.
2016 marked the 13th anniversary of the iconic event. Every December, a bonfire has ignited the 24-foot Firebird, referred to as ‘Sylvia’, up in flames. Days before the festival, I went to view the structure and it was as impressive as I had imagined it would be. It was both massive and majestic, as it towered over the neighboring homes.
For what must have taken countless hours to make, the Phoenix took less than an hour to be reduced to ashes. The crowd, though, was the most notable part of the experience. Marching along with us up the Gay Street Bridge were hundreds upon hundreds of fellow spectators who were there to observe the annual ritual. From where we stood on the curb of Filmore Street, you could feel the heat of the blaze, which was welcomed on a night that was not quite above freezing temperatures. I can only imagine the heat emitted by the flaming structure from merely 100 feet away, where many people stood. It was a real celebration of the revival of this community. I will definitely be back to enjoy more of what the festival has to offer for 2017.
For more information on Phoenixville’s Firebird Festival, be sure to check out their website below.