“Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, catches fire Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

“Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, catches fire Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Burning Basket makes ‘a brilliant, fiery exit’

Drenching rains on Sunday afternoon didn’t stop several hundred people from attending the 16th annual Burning Basket, “Radiate,” as the impermanent art was set on fire at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit.

“We have come to radiate together, to radiate happiness on a rainy day,” said Burning Basket facilitator Mavis Muller. “… We are here to radiate, but also to let go of that which keeps us from radiating.”

Adults and children in colorful rain gear added bursts of color to the overcast, gloomy evening. Devil’s club leaves and peony flowers floated in puddles as children splashed through them in rubber boots. As the light faded, visitors placed notes of remembrance or sayings on the basket. A container of feathers and a sign invited people to place feathers on “Radiate” to honor animals lost in Alaska’s summer wildfires.

“Radiate who you are, not what/who people want you to be,” one note read.

“Radiate deep joy,” said another.

The rain let up in time for Muller to make a brief speech before she and other basket makers lit the structure of alders, fireweed, grass and other natural materials.

“Building art is the most radical act a community can do,” she said. “The Burning Basket is made to have a short life — I think you know that — and a brilliant, fiery exit.”

Firefighters and medics from the Homer Volunteer Fire Department and a fire truck and ambulance stood by to keep the event safe. Muller thanked the department for its support and then made a joke about the people who built the basket over the past week — “the Homer Volunteer Art Department,” she called them.

“We’re like the Homer Volunteer Fire Department, but we don’t put out fires,” she said. “We spark them with creativity and imagination, the greatest fire there is.”

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

“Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, catches fire Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

“Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, catches fire Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Torch bearers prepare to ignite”Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Torch bearers prepare to ignite”Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Visitors interact with “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Visitors interact with “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Drummers play at “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
                                Drummers play at “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Drummers play at “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News) Drummers play at “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

One of the signs on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

One of the signs on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

One of the signs on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

One of the signs on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

One of the signs on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

One of the signs on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Some of the messages on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Some of the messages on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Some of the messages on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Some of the messages on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Some of the messages on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Some of the messages on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A sign on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, asks participants to place a feather in the basket to honor wild animals lost in the summer 2019 wildlfires. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A sign on “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, asks participants to place a feather in the basket to honor wild animals lost in the summer 2019 wildlfires. The basket was burned on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Drummers play at “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Drummers play at “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

“Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, catches fire Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

“Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, catches fire Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Aaron Stillwell spins fire at “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, as it burns down on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Aaron Stillwell spins fire at “Radiate,” the 16th annual Burning Basket, as it burns down on Sunday night, Sept. 15, 2019, at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

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