COCHISE COUNTY — Cochise College welcomes back its beloved Pit Fire event Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. on the Douglas campus after postponing the annual event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ashley Dahlke, art instructor at Cochise College, said the event has been running for longer than a decade.
“Tate Rich, who is the ceramics instructor here, started this 16 years ago.” said Dahlke.” This is our 15th Pit Fire — we couldn’t have it last year for obvious reasons.”
Dahlke said this year’s theme for the event will be “Ignite the Magic.”
“We started thinking of ‘what does it mean to come together again?’ and one of those things being that it just felt magical to be in the same space together,” said Dahlke. “We started thinking about magic and an intimate moment with folks that we haven’t been able to do in over a year, and so that’s where the magic theme came from.”
She said that the band Juniper Djinn and hypnotist Derek Ostovani will provide entertainment throughout the event.
At the event, attendees can purchase handmade bowls made by ceramic artist and studio technician Dale Miller.
In preparation for the event, Miller made more than 1,000 ceramic bowls to sell. He said each bowl will cost $10 dollars and all proceeds will go toward the college’s art department.
“It’s kind of a running tradition now that somebody from the community comes and makes 1,000 bowls for the event, and I wanted my name somewhere in there,” said Miller. “The art department puts this on, they supply all the clay and the firing equipment. So, it’s really not me donating much, except the time making each bowl.”
“So if you buy the bowl, you get soup and then you get that wonderful ceramic piece to take with you,” said Dahlke. There will be vegan, vegetarian and meat options, she added.
Barbara Jo Borch, sculpture artist from Tucson, is designing a wood dragon sculpture that will burn over the pitfire during the event. She said that fire was the inspiration for the design.
“The idea of fire really inspired me, and I began thinking of dragons and ‘what could we make?’ said Borch. “Students don’t want to make just some abstract thing, so I began thinking of dragons because they’re really popular right now. I was thinking of fire breathing dragons, and I kind of stayed with that.”
“I really love the idea of art supporting art,” said Miller. “So, being able to raise money for the art program is something I really admire.”
While admission to the event is free, organizers ask that attendees bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Cochise Cupboard Food Pantry.