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First Night Hartford

Ring in the New Year in Connecticut's Capital City


First Night Hartford Photo

At the annual Hartford First Night, a family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration, a colorful Procession takes place before the Kids' Fireworks at 6 p.m.

© 2006 Kim Knox Beckius
Updated December 12, 2013
First Night Hartford 2014, Hartford's official New Year's Eve celebration, boasts dozens of performances and events and not one but two fireworks displays. It all begins at 2 p.m. on December 31, 2013, and lasts past the stroke of midnight. From live music to horse-drawn wagon and historic carousel rides, from an action-packed demo by one of the nation's top mountain bike stunt riders to an improv comedy show, First Night events will be held at nearly 20 venues and sites in downtown Hartford, and revelers can partake of it all for just the cost of a First Night wristband and button: $12 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 to 15.

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 26. There is a $2 per order fee for shipping.

This is the 25th 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 2014 events include:

Traditions of China - This one-woman acrobatic show features audience participation: You'll be astounded, and you'll learn about Chinese New Year traditions, too.

Stunt Rider Mike Steidley - The 10-time National Champion has entertained audiences worldwide with his thrilling mountain bike maneuvers.

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 Dance Party – The Nifty Fifties Band plays classic rock 'n' roll for a night of dancing at the Elks Lodge.

The Big Game – Head to Hartford City Hall, and roll the biggest dice you've ever seen in your life. Artists David Borawski, Anne Cubberly and LB Munoz will transform City Hall's atrium into the largest game in the state made completely from cardboard.

Live Music – Musical acts performing at First Night include Bill Walach (Pump House Gallery Courtyard), Don Sineti & Steve Roys (Pump House Gallery Courtyard), Daniel Maltz (Center Church) and Balkun Brothers (Central Baptist Church).

Fortune Tellers - Find out what's in store for you in 2014. A $10 fee applies for a 10-minute Tarot or psychic reading.

Jeff Dunham - See comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham at the XL Center on First Night. Tickets must be purchased separately via Ticketmaster.

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 2014.

If you are going... A directory of First Night Hartford venues is available online. The event will be held regardless of weather conditions.

Staying overnight? Several Hartford area hotels are offering special First Night Hartford packages.

For further details, call 860-727-0050 or email Hartford First Night 2014 at info@firstnighthartford.org. To become a First Night volunteer, sign up online.

Happy New Year!

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