Enough money raised through crowdsourcing to fund Hartford Winterfest

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HARTFORD–The Capital City can look forward to its next festival after a major summer showing had to be canceled last minute.

Overnight, Bear’s Smokehouse donated the final $510 to help fund this year’s Winterfest, Hartford’s annual free skating rink at Bushnell Park that opens for eight weeks.

Due to budget cuts, the iQuilt Plan and its partners were short $200,000 for the event, and needed to raise the final funds by midnight Wednesday, which they did!

iQuilt holds the free skating rink open each year with help from MetroHartford Alliance, HBID, Businesses for Downtown Hartford, the Bushnell Park Foundation and the city of Hartford, which together plan Winterfest.

Winterfest is normally half paid for by the city and half paid for by corporate sponsors, but due to the reduced budget the goal was to be completely funded by donations. This season will be shorter than normal in an effort to reduce costs by $80,000, but the $200,000 was still needed to run the rink.

When the fundraising campaign launched, the goal was to fund one more winter and then “carefully research and plan new funding for this incredible resource.”

Earlier this summer, Hartford and East Hartford announced the cancelation of many aspects of Riverfest 2016, including the fireworks, less than two weeks before the event because of budget restraints.