You can purchase your First Night wristband in advance at a number of Hartford-area locations including Highland Park Markets, Whole Foods Markets, AAA branches, Harvey & Lewis Opticians outlets, Connecticut Bank & Trust bank branches, the Ramada Plaza Hartford, the CT Transit Information Booth, Hartford Stage, the Old State House and the Greater Hartford Welcome Center at 100 Pearl Street. At the event on December 31, wristband sales and information booths will be located at several downtown locations. Cash and checks are accepted for ticket purchases.
First Night Hartford wristbands and commemorative buttons may also be purchased online in advance through December 27. There is a $2 per order fee for shipping.
This is the 24th year that Hartford has marked the dawn of a new year with a public, non-alcoholic celebration of the arts, and this year's roster of performances and events is packed with family-oriented fun. First Night 2013 events include:
Magic for Grown-ups - Brian Miller's stage show combines comedy, magic and mind reading: You'll be astounded and thoroughly entertained.
Ultra Violet Puppets - Enormous, glowing puppets enthrall indoors and outdoors at Center Church.
Improv Comedy - Sea Tea Improv's performers will engage the audience in this laugh-generating show.
Mask Making – The Wadsworth Atheneum hosts this hands-on craft workshop.
1950s American Bandstand Dance Party – This lively event at State House Square features the Stardust Dancers & Company, who will get everyone on their feet dancing to classic rock 'n' roll.
Alpine Safari Rides – Head to the XL Center atrium, and ride robotic animals including Mr. Moose and Sno-Cat the Siberian Snow Tiger. Each animal carries two adults or up to three children.
Live Music – Musical acts performing at First Night include Bill Walach (Pump House Gallery), Les Julian (South Congregational Church), Connecticut State Troubadour Chuck E. Costa (Pump House Gallery), Don Sinetti & Steve Roys (Pump House Gallery), Doug Jones Jazz Group (Center Church), The Jolly Beggars (Center Church) and Orquesta Afinke (Charter Oak Cultural Center).
Fortune Tellers - Find out what's in store for you in 2013. A $10 fee applies for a 10-minute Tarot or psychic reading.
A complete schedule of events and performers is available online at the First Night Hartford Web site. The Family Fireworks take place at 6 p.m. at Bushnell Park, and the Midnight Finale at Bushnell Park will also feature fireworks as Connecticut says "hello" to 2013.
Staying overnight? Several Hartford area hotels are offering special First Night Hartford packages.
Happy New Year!