Come on City, Light My Fire!

expect Haymarket Plaza flames to be ready by December 6

Rae Poynter, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

FLAME ON! (December 6)
FLAME ON ... December 6.

The Haymarket Plaza outside the Pablo Center and Haymarket Landing proved to be a popular gathering place over the summer. With interactive fountains, colorful lights, and plenty of places to sit and enjoy warm evenings, the plaza was a hit with both UW-Eau Claire students and community members alike. Though winter usually means heading indoors rather than lingering outside, the City of Eau Claire plans to keep Haymarket Plaza a desirable hangout spot over the chilly months. The city is working on the finishing touches of a fire feature which will provide light and warmth to the plaza during the darkest and coldest months of the year. 

Dave Solberg, the city’s engineering director, said the fires at Haymarket Plaza were tested a few weeks ago. While everything seemed to be working, there was some concern over the safety of the fire feature. The fires burn in semicircular rings installed around the plaza, low enough where they could easily be touched. To mitigate the potential safety risks, the city is installing safety glass around the flames so that families can enjoy the plaza over the winter without the fear of an accident. 

The safety glass installation is on track to be completed by Dec. 6, just in time for the fires to be lit for the Clearwater Winter Parade. At this point the operation schedule for the fires is uncertain; Solberg said they are still trying to work out whether they will be lit every night or only during special events. 

Once the glass is installed, the city hopes that the Haymarket Plaza will be just as beautiful and inviting in the winter as it is over the summer months. The fire rings encircle several seating areas, providing visitors with the opportunity to get cozy and enjoy spending time in downtown Eau Claire.