One of Currier and Ives' lithographs, reproduced on many a Christmas card and calendar and now 150 years old, depicts winter merrymakers skating on a pond in New York's Central Park. A big reason for its continued popularity is that it shows urban recreation at its best: skating on a pond in the middle of the city with dozens of other happy people.
Again this year, Hartford-area residents may experience that at Winterfest, a two-month-long festival in the capital's Bushnell Park. Among its chief features is a skating rink that's more than 35 percent bigger than last year's; skating is free, and skates may also be "rented" at no cost. For families especially, it's a great way to experience a crisp winter afternoon.
The festival is a plus for both the city and the region. It adds another square to the iQuilt Plan, which promotes and connects the rich patchwork of Hartford's cultural, historical and recreational attractions focused around the park; brings many more people downtown; and is yet another reason to consider urban living.
Last winter — one not particularly favorable for cold-weather events — some 50,000 people skated in Bushnell Park; with more room to skate and the prospect of frostier weather, that number is expected to increase this season. Non-skaters may opt for holiday caroling, visits with Santa Claus or buying Christmas trees and wreaths. There are also tours of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, rides on the Carousel and more.
Winterfest starts Friday. Come. Skate. Enjoy downtown Hartford at its best.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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