City officials prepare for First Night celebration in Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

City officials prepare for First Night celebration in Hartford

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© People ice skate Friday afternoon at Bushnell Park in Hartford. © People ice skate Friday afternoon at Bushnell Park in Hartford.
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The 24th Annual First Night event will be held in Hartford on New Year's Eve, and participants will be able to park for free in the city.

First Night is an "alcohol free, public celebration that marks the passage from the old year to the new with art, ritual and festivity," according to a statement from the mayor's office.

The festivities start around 2 p.m. and will feature musicians, acts, fireworks display and exhibits. The fireworks show will be at 6 p.m. and midnight to signal the new year. The ice skating rink at Bushnell Park, which is open until the middle of January, will be up until 1 a.m. on New Year's Eve with free rentals.

"We have to search out for sponsors throughout the year to help make it an affordable event," said event organizer Nicole Glander.

With tickets $10 for adults and $2 for children, the crowds are expected to be large.

"We're expecting anywhere between 20,000 to 30,000," Glander said.

The event will be held at Bushnell Park, Hartford Public Library, City Hall, The Old State House, State House Square, Wadsworth Atheneum, Center Church, Charter Oak Cultural Center and The Bushnell Carousel as well as other venues.

"New Year's Eve is a time for renewal and new beginnings. It is an opportunity for the community to look ahead collectively with hope and optimism and appreciate its common bonds," said Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. "The name 'First Night' symbolizes this forward look, over the technically correct 'Last Night.'"

Besides Hartford, more than 100 communities around the United States celebrate First Night along with Canada and New Zealand. It's a way to bring families and friends together in a safe environment and that's what attracts many families.

"Yeah it's a great option, it's free activities, the carousel is always open and it's wonderful stuff and now that they have ice skating," said Kristin Harris. "It's great."

On Friday, people enjoying the ice rink at Bushnell Park were thinking about attending First Night.

"I think it's a great idea for families especially, it's such a good thing and a good way to spend your night," said Dina Grimaldi.

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