Winterfest Kicks Off in Hartford | NBC Connecticut

Winterfest Kicks Off in Hartford

Winterfest began Saturday evening in Hartford. Free ice skating and concerts are just some of the highlights you can experience this year. Last year, 100,000 people attended Winterfest and the city hopes this year that number is greater. (Published Friday, Nov. 28, 2014)

The holiday season is in full swing, winter festivities are kicking off in Hartford.

Connecticut’s capital is once again hosting Winterfest, an outdoor experience that brings thousands together for the holiday season at Bushnell Park.

“Every year Winterfest Hartford gets bigger and better,” Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said in a statement. “Last year over 100,000 families enjoyed Winterfest and this year we expect even more."

Community members donned their ice skates and took to the rink after Monday evening's opening ceremony in Bushnell Park.

Guests can take pictures with Santa at the park's Pump House Gallery, admire ice sculptures, enjoy hot chocolate and peruse garlands for sale.

Free skating, skate rentals, and a learn-to-skate program held every Saturday are available throughout the festivities until Feb. 1.

Free parking will begin at noon on opening day, according to Eric Boone, CEO of the Hartford Parking Authority.

If you haven’t taken your child’s Christmas card picture yet, don’t fret! Free pictures with Santa will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. through Dec. 21.

The Bushnell Park Carousel will be closed during Winterfest 2014, as it is currently undergoing restoration.

The public is encouraged to donate new or gently used hats, gloves and scarfs and bring them to the skate shack at the Bushnell Park skating rink anytime throughout the Winterfest season.

In addition, monetary contributions can be made online.

Skating Rink Schedule

Black Friday: 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Daily: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
New Year’s Day: 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m

For a full schedule of events visit

Parking Information

Free parking is available on Elm Street from Trinity Street to Hudson Street, or on Trinity Street from Elm Street to Jewell Street.

Parking is free on Nov. 28 starting at 12 p.m. and on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 31 through Jan. 30.

Additional free off street parking is available after 5 p.m. at the state parking lots located on West Street and along Capital Avenue, which gives the visitors easy access to the ice rink.

As always, legal on-street parking in the city of Hartford is free after 6 p.m. on weeknights and all day on weekends.

Parking restrictions from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Trinity Street will be lifted from Nov. 28 through Jan. 31. Restrictions will remain in effect on Elm Street and no parking will be available on Jewel Street.

Additional paid off street parking is available at the ProPark surface lots located near Pulaski Circle.

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