HARTFORD — The Hartford Festival of Light has a new look this year.
The 47-year-old tradition will be held in a new, more centrally located venue— Bushnell Park— but certain traditions will continue and new memories will begin, organizers say.
A procession will kick-off at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26 (the day after Thanksgiving) and will include the XL Center where Santa will be riding an ice maintenance machine down Trumbull Street. Santa will then park this vehicle in his reserved parking space at Bushnell Park, where the formal entertainment and lighting ceremony will begin at approximately 5:45 p.m.
Details of the Nov. 26 show and the exact procession route will be announced as the festivities get closer. One thing to look forward to on that date at the park is a demonstration by professional skaters on synthetic ice to help create the image and paint the picture of what we can expect to see at Bushnell Park starting Dec. 10 when a real— and much larger— ice skating rink will be open to the public until Jan. 6, 2011, which is Three Kings Day.
Mayor Pedro Segarra says, “By moving the lighting ceremony to Bushnell Park, we better connect all the festivities to all the wonderful things that are happening in our Downtown this holiday season at our shops, theatres and restaurants.”
The U.S. Marines will continue the Toys for Tots toy drive, hot chocolate will be served at the park courtesy of Mohegan Sun , and the Pump House Gallery will be open that evening.
In addition, the Hartford Parking Authority kicks off its first Freebie Night on Nov. 26 after 5 p.m. as part of its Park n’ Dine special in conjunction with the Morgan Street, MAT, and Church Street garages. Please log on to www.hartfordparking.com for more details.
Also, the Star Shuttle will be running that evening and there is parking at the state lot near the Bushnell. Additional handicapped street parking spaces will be reserved around Bushnell Park.