Downtown will be bustling with visitors soon in thanks in large part to Winterfest Hartford.
Presented by the iQuilt partnership and the City of Hartford, Winterfest is a free, public ice-skating rink under the canopy of historic Bushnell Park. The festival will officially open on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, with a festive procession starting at the Memorial Arch at 5:15 p.m. and will end at the skating rink site.
Schedule for Opening Night Festivities
- 4:45 p.m.: Lift Every Voice Gospel Choir will warm up crowd with a public carol sing and will perform holiday music at the rink as the procession arrives.
- 5:15 p.m.: Festive procession from Soldier’s and Sailor’s Memorial Arch to Ice Skating Rink will feature Mayor Segarra and Santa Claus in horse and carriage, Hartford youth groups, Ebony Horsewomen, Hall High School Choraliers, Anne Cubberly’s giant Solstice puppet and head lanterns and Hartford children.
- 5:30 p.m.: Speaking Program featuring Mayor Segarra, iQuilt Vice Chair, David Fay and Winterfest Rink Director, Bob Crawford.
- 5:45 p.m.: Skating Show
- 6 p.m.: Rink officially opens to the public
- 6 p.m.: Holiday Caroling by Lift Every Voice and Hall High School Choraliers. Songbooks will be provided.
- 8 to 10 p.m.: HYPE Skate Party featuring D.J Cajar and Derek from Shag Frenzy
The rink will run daily through Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.
Last year 50,000 people from throughout the region enjoyed free skating and winter festivities.
This year there is a bigger rink and once again, ice time will be in 45-minute intervals and the wristband system will be used.
Public skating hours are from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and noon to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. On Christmas Eve and Christmas the rink will be open from noon to 4 p.m. On New Year's Eve/First Night Hartford the rink will be open from noon to 1 a.m.
The Bushnell Park Carousel will operate on opening night from 4 to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays, from Nov. 24 through Dec. 30 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ($1 per ride).
Every Saturday night at 6 p.m. there will be a free ice skating performance featuring figure skaters from throughout the region.
The Pump House Gallery in Bushnell Park will host free pictures and a visit with Santa Claus on opening night from 5:45 to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 23 from noon to 3 p.m.
New to Winterfest this year, Channel 3 Kids Camp Candy Cane Café will be open daily to provide hot food and drink. Also on site will be a Christmas Tree Lot featuring fresh cut trees and wreaths with proceeds benefiting the Channel 3 Kids Camp.
On weekends, staff from the Open Hearth will sell bundles of firewood to benefit their programs for homeless men.
On Saturdays throughout the season horse and carriage rides will be available in the park for the public.
Generous sponsors to date include: The City of Hartford, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Greater Hartford Arts Council, MetroHartford Alliance, Travelers, Prudential, United Technologies, USA Recycling/All Waste, Mohegan Sun, LAZ Parking The Hartford Financial Services, United Healthcare, Phoenix, Bank of America, Webster Bank, University of St. Joseph, Reid and Riege, Robinson and Cole, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Neue Studios.
Winterfest Community Partners include the Hartford Business Improvement District, Champions Skating, Hartford Hospital/ERN, Riverfront Recapture Trantolo & Trantolo, New England Carousel Museum and Bushnell Park Foundation.
Winterfest Wish List:
Please remember that gently-used figure and hockey skates are still needed and can be dropped off at the rink in Bushnell Park Rink, the XL Center or in the Atrium at City Hall. Suburban drop-off sites are at the Champions Skating Rinks in Simsbury, Cromwell and Bolton, Simsbury Town Hall and West Hartford Veteran’s Memorial Ice Skating Rink.
Volunteers are needed to staff the rink. If you are interested in volunteering please email Blair@daltonrigging.com.
Winterfest also features performances for choral groups every Friday and Saturday night. If your group is interested in performing please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Log on to www.hartford.com for full a calendar of events.
Submitted by Winterfest Hartford