Skaters Rejoice with the Return of Hartford's Winterfest

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NBC and Telemundo Connecticut are connecting you to joy this holiday season.

So bundle up.

Because Winterfest at Bushnell Park is back with a full calendar of holiday activities in Hartford, including free ice skating!

Lots of people lacing up Wednesday say they so missed this event last year when it was closed because of the pandemic.

With the support of sponsors like NBC CT, you won’t have to take out your wallet to participate.

Skating is free fun for folks of all ages. That includes rentals too.

Plus, there’s free skating lessons on many Saturdays.

“I used to come over every day from middle school, high school,” said Luis Angel Rodriguez, a Hartford teen who learned how to skate at Bushnell Park.

Now he works there.

He says time on the ice kept him out of trouble.

“It helped me out a lot. Any time I felt like I was in a bad depression or anything, I would just come to ice skating, and everything would just, relief.”

“It brings people into the city. It gives us that Hallmark look,” said James Cosgrove owner of Salute.  

Cosgrove is thrilled to see skaters again, not necessarily for the day-of business it brings, but for the long term impact to the Capitol City.

“If you get people to come into the city and they have a good time, no matter what they do afterwards, they’re going to want to come back and support the city.”

Meanwhile, organizers hope they’ll be more skating success stories like rodriquez, who says he’s benefited from this winter tradition both on and off the ice.

“It was a wonderful experience and it just made my life a little bit better.”

The rink is open daily from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. through Sunday, January 9, except on the following dates: 

  • December 24, 25, and January 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • December 31, from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. 

Free skating lessons held by Champions Skating Center instructors will be held on December 4, 11, and on January 8, 15, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m

The rink may be closed for inclement weather. For more information, and a schedule of appearances by Santa, visit to

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