One of tonight’s acts at the Delaware County Fair likes to play with fire — literally.
Rhythmic Illusions Fire Tribe, or RIFT for short, is making a return trip to the fair after dazzling an audience last year.
“The whole show is going to be a fire arts performance,” said Keith Cannon, a member who lives in Sunbury. “We’re a professionally choreographed fire and flow arts performance.”
For an hour, the members of RIFT will perform from a set that includes dancing, juggling, poi spinning, hula hoops, rope darts, fire breathing and fire eating. They will be accompanied by live music.
The group members, many of whom live in Delaware County, have long been friends, but became interested in performance art after seeing a circus sideshow act at a music festival four years ago.
“Once we all saw that we got the itch, started doing practice sessions together,” Cannon said. “Someone hired us to do a show, and once that happened, we decided we needed a name for ourselves. It’s all progressively gone uphill since then. We’ve done everything from small private parties to corporate parties, club shows and big-time music festivals. We have a following, and we’ve been busy all summer.”
Cannon said being a fire performer is dangerous and not for the faint of heart.
“We’ve all trained together for a long time,” he said. “There’s a lot to know, like your surroundings and how fire acts when it’s windy or humid. When we spin fire, we have to wear all-natural fiber clothing like cotton – never synthetic, because synthetic can melt. The most dangerous act that we do is fire-breathing, because you have to learn how to aspirate your fuel in the right way. Otherwise, bad things can happen. We are all insured.”
Despite the danger, the group loves what they do, Cannon said.
“The way we all feel is fire is one of the four natural elements. Being so close to that natural element makes you feel closer to the earth, more connected.”
The Fire Tribe will perform at 9 p.m. in front of the Coliseum.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.