Canandaigua Lake Ring of Fire held the Saturday before Labor Day

The Ring of Fire is held on Canandaigua Lake the Saturday before Labor Day each year.

  • When: Saturday, September 3, 2011
  • Time: 9:00 p.m.
  • Where: Bonfire on Bare Hill; flares lit around the lake

The Ring of Fire is a summer activity for shoreline residents that’s easy to participate in. Each residence lights a fire or flare along the shore, creating a speckled ring around the lake. This tradition stems from a Seneca Indian harvest festival where the Seneca would burn tobacco around the shore of the lake to give thanks for bountiful harvests. Many residents also choose to have private fireworks displays during that time.

History of the Ring of Fire and Genundowa Day

Genundowa (Festival of Lights) is a Seneca Indian custom where lake fires were lit to express gratitude for being saved from the Great Snake and for good hunting and fishing. Nowadays flares are used for Ring of Fire, but originally, the lake was lit with cattails soaked in kerosene and strategically stationed around the lake.

Directions to Bare Hill:

Take Route 364 (East Lake Road) south and turn right toward Canandaigua Lake on North Vine Valley Road (Yates County Road 10) by the Overackers Corners School House. Go about a mile, then turn right onto Bare Hill Road and go a short way before turning left onto Van Epps Road. Travel west to the parking lot; parking is limited.

If you would like to watch the bonfire lighting on Bare Hill, plan to arrive at the Van Epps Road (off Bare Hill Road) parking circle before 8:00 p.m. because you’ll need to walk a mile before reaching the top of the hill, the summit of which is 865 feet above the lake. Transportation to the top of the hill will be provided for the elderly and disabled.

Where to Purchase Flares

Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, Inc. makes flares available for purchase at various retailers throughout the Canandaigua area.

  • Cases Convenient Mart (County Rd. 28)
  • Beacon Farm Market (Routes 5 & 20 East)
  • The Company Store (Cheshire)
  • German Brothers Marina (West Lake Rd.)
  • Margaret’s Market (Middlesex Hamlet)
  • Naples Pharmacy
  • Pelican Point Marina (East Lake Rd.)
  • Rank’s IGA (West Ave.)
  • Robesons East of Eden (Vine Valley)
  • St. George’s Grocery & Deli (Crystal Beach)
  • Seager Marine (City Pier & Parrish St.)
  • Smith Boys Jansen Marina of Cdga. (Woodville)
  • Sun-up Food Store (Lakeshore Dr. @ Rte 364)
  • Wegmans