December 31, 2005
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer
Hartford's 17th-annual alcohol-free New Year's celebration takes over downtown today.
First Night Hartford - with major sponsorship from ADVO, the city of Hartford and the Greater Hartford Arts Council - actually began Thursday afternoon, as six local artists started 48 Hours of Art. Together, they are creating an installation to fill retail space at 942 Main St.
Today's events begin at 2 p.m. and continue through the fireworks in Bushnell Park at midnight. There will be a Main Street Procession at 5:30 p.m., and an early fireworks show at 6 p.m.
Throughout the day there will be carousel rides, campfires, and music around downtown, from Bushnell Park and the Old State House to the Wadsworth Atheneum.
Those who want to participate in First Night must buy a button that serves as a ticket to all of the events.
Buttons - $15 for adults, and $1 for children under 15 - can be bought online at www.firstnighthartford.org or at several locations today, including city hall, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Capital Community College, and the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and Hartford Stage box offices.
Parking rates at some downtown garages will be discounted for much of the day. The garages include the Church Street garage at 200 Church St., the Morgan Street garage at 155 Morgan St., the Goodwin Square garage at 116 Ann St., the 100 Pearl garage, the CityPlace garage at Pearl and Trumbull streets, and the Constitution Plaza south garage at State and Kinsley streets.
The Bushnell's Belding Theater will host three separate comedy shows - 6:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. - featuring comedians Brad Zimmerman and Dan Wilson. Admission is available with a button on a first-come, first-served basis. Guaranteed tickets can be bought ahead of time for $10 each at the theater's box office.
Also, the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park will be open for tours much of the day.
"It's a happy event," said, Becky Vortherms, the event's board president. "Everybody that comes is smiling, and it's a celebration of the New Year in the arts."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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