Festival of Light Expanding traditional holiday fest makes great sense
The Hartford Courant
November 24, 2010
The Hartford Festival of Light, which traditionally begins the region's holiday season on the day after Thanksgiving, is not moving to Bushnell Park, it is expanding to the park. That's the word from Kate Bolduc of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, and it makes good sense.
The festival began in 1963 on sparkling new Constitutional Plaza. The plaza then had many more stores and businesses as well as offices. Over the years the festival has had some wonderful touches, such as Santa arriving in the Channel 3 helicopter or coming down the side of a building in a window washer's gondola.
But those days are gone, and the event has been losing attendance in recent years. Plus, there isn't much to do on the plaza, so many people would drive in for Santa's arrival and the carol sing and then leave.
The park is a different story. People now live across the street. From Dec. 10 to Jan. 6, there will be a skating rink. People who come to skate or just see the lights can easily go to theaters and restaurants as well. That will give visitors an inkling of what the new iQuilt plan, an arts-based revival focused on the park and nearby arts and cultural institutions, will feel like.
The Plaza will still be lit with holiday lights, but the park is the better bet for drawing more people to do more things in downtown Hartford.
For details, see http://www.letsgoarts.org/hfol.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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