It’ll be 2018 before you know it, but first, of course, 2017 needs to go out with a bang! Choose the Goodwin for your New Year’s Eve accommodations here in downtown Hartford, and you’ll have no end of options for celebrating to the fullest.
Hartford is among more than 100 cities across the country that throws a “First Night” party on December 31st, and that means a fabulous lineup of activities and events right at your fingertips: from mid-afternoon all the way to midnight and beyond!
The 29th Annual First Night Hartford
First Night got its start in 1976 in Boston, but the idea for a New Year’s Eve party focused on art, performance, community togetherness, and family-friendly fun soon spread. Hartford has been running its own citywide First Night program for 29 years.
Things get underway at 2:00 PM and encompass many different venues throughout Hartford, with First Night goings-on at City Hall, the Public Library, the Old State House, the Wadsworth Atheneum, and many other landmarks.
First Night is an alcohol-free way to send off the old year and welcome in the new one, and to make sure both are done right the proceedings include not one but two fireworks displays: at 6:00 PM and again at midnight. The pyrotechnics launch in Bushnell Park and are viewable from all around town. Dance parties on Trinity Street precede both fireworks shows, and you’re heartily invited to participate!
Fueling the festivities are loads of musicians and other performers; this year’s lineup includes mandolin player Bill Walach (at Bushnell Park’s Pump House Gallery Courtyard from 6:45 to 11:45 PM), the jazzy Mark Templeton Trio (at 68 Pratt Street from 6:30 to 7:30 PM), and a pipe-organ concert (and informative presentation) at the Christ Church Cathedral (from 2:00 to 2:30 PM and from 3:00 to 3:30 PM).
Watch hilarity conjured up in the spur of the moment, meantime, with Sea Tea Improv Comedy Company’s sets at the Central Baptish Church: The troupe will perform its uproarious skits and games from 5:45 to 7:30 PM and from 8:00 to 8:45 PM.
You can also dig into city history with the hourlong “Architectural Treasures of Hartford” walking tour, setting off from the Old State House at 2 PM and 3 PM. History of a different sort will be the subject of the “UFO Stories” presentation at the Elks Lodge at 4 PM, helmed by Dyke Spear of the Connecticut Chapter of the Mutual UFO Network.
From face-painting and horse-drawn wagon rides to stints aboard the 1914-era Bushnell Park Carousel, First Night has plenty to appeal to the littler crowd.
Take a gander at the other First Night entertainment offerings right here. And meanwhile make your reservations at the Goodwin for New Year’s Eve, so you’re conveniently positioned right in the heart of Hartford for all the fun and festivities!