Pyro Circus lights up First Friday outside Gallery5

Fire performers at Pyro Circus on Friday night. (PHOTO: Taylor Patzman)

RICHMOND, Va. — The Carnival of 5 Fires, hosted by Gallery5 every October, celebrated its 12th year with the Pyro Circus on Friday, October 5. The event, organized by the Party Liberation Foundation, shut down the 200 block of W. Marshall St. for its exhibition of fire performances and live music.

Gallery5 is a music and art venue housed in Richmond’s oldest firehouse and police station.

The non-profit opened on April 15, 2005 at what was formerly known as Steamer Company No. 5, a National Historic Landmark. Since then, Gallery5 has been home to galleries, concerts, and its iconic fire performances.

The Carnival of 5 Fires included acts such as fire dancing, burlesque shows, belly dancing, live music, and much more “wicked goodness,” according to Gallery5.

Parker Galore, the lead organizer of the event since it began in 2006, invites local and East Coast performers to take part in the event. He said the Carnival takes months of planning.

They go through the process of getting the correct permits, insurance forms, hiring off-duty officers, and attracting supporters to the area.

“There’s so many wonderful pieces of this puzzle to put together,” Galore said. “We appreciate the city of Richmond allowing us to do this event.”

Fire performance has been a part of Gallery5 since its grand opening, according to Galore.

Originally, Gallery5 hosted performances on the street corner every First Friday, but the community support for fire performance grew so large that they had to start closing a section of the street.

“Due to costs of closing down the street and all details involved, we have to only keep it to April and October (for now),” Galore said.

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Hundreds gathered on the side street next to former fire station this past First Friday. From 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., fire performers danced to DJs Maestro, Will Miles and Akasha, with a special group performance by Circular Expressions and Pyroxotic. Afterwards, for the first time ever, the party moved inside to Gallery5’s main stage.

DJs Alicia Roxx, Reinhold and Beatkitty performed along with a variety show that ended around 2 a.m.

People outside of the fire community have also been longtime supporters of the performers at Gallery5.

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“I’ve gone every year,” said Richard Follin, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University. “It’s super cool. I mean I can’t juggle fire, and at the end of it once all the people juggling fire leave, they take all the barricades down and it just turns into a big block party.”

The Gallery5 Halloween celebration will also feature other indoor burlesque shows, a silent film, circus arts acts and more on Oct. 19, 20, 27 and 28, as well as a dance party following the All Saints Theater Halloween Parade on Oct. 31.

For more information about each of these dates, check the Carnival of 5 Fires Facebook page.

For details about other events this month at Gallery5, check the event page on their website.