With the help of corporate and individual donors Hartford’s WInterfest will live on for its sixth year.
Lana Bleuge has not been ice skating since she was little. But she remembers the joy of carving out few hours on the rink.
“It’s always fun when you go out and it’s a nice family event,” said Branford Resident Lana Bleuge.
Luckily for her and 50,000 other expected skaters, Hartford’s Winterfest will be open this year. Budget cuts nearly melted the event where visitors can ice-skate, meet Santa Claus, or enjoy photos at the decorated Bushnell Park.
“At a time where we as a city are facing, as everybody know severe fiscal pressure, and have had to make very very tough choices the fact that the community came together... Is a wonderful thing," said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
Staff said Winterfest’s budget this year is $220,000, while last year it was close to $300,000. Since the city could no longer cut the nearly 50 percent check, organizers hoped organizations and individuals would help with funding. They did and 200 individuals with 18 corporations raised the money for the event that’s free to the public and open seven days a week.
“Looking forward to it,” said East Hartford resident,Clover Marsh.
Staff said the event costs nearly $10,000 a week to operate. So Winterfest will end Jan. 8 instead of late January like years before.
But for those looking to glide down memory lane, any rink is better than none. “if it’s free, sure,” said Bleuge.
The rink is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.