First Night Hartford ready for crowds despite bitter cold forecast

HARTFORD --  Roughly 10,000 people are expected to roll into the capital city throughout the day Sunday for the 29th annual First Night Hartford.

First Night events will range from live music, to museum tours, to horse drawn carriages, to carousel rides, to two separate fireworks display.

“We have a countdown at 6 o’clock for the kids and another big countdown at midnight,” said Nicole Glander, Event Manager for First Night Hartford.

Event goers can purchase wristbands to attend First Night at any of the locations here or buy them at any of the event locations on Sunday.

“Once you put your wristband on you can come and go all day long as you please,” Glander said.

Hartford police plan to have roughly 35 police officers throughout downtown Sunday to monitor the events to make sure they go on safely.

“It’s going to be a big night in the city, during the day we have the UConn women’s basketball game and that’s going to shift over at 2 p.m., to First Night in the city of Hartford,” Hartford Police Department’s Deputy Chief Brian Foley said.

He went on to say, “Some are for traffic, we’re also going to have, there will be officers out there in undercover capacity that you won’t see again to keep things safe.”

Deputy Chief Foley also said a major part of their security plan involves their Capital City Command Center where officers can monitor dozens of city surveillance cameras at once.

“This gives us eyes and ears over the entire event in the city to keep everybody safe.  This doesn’t replace officers but it certainly assists them in covering a more wide range area,” Deputy Chief Foley said.

Hartford police are urging everyone attending the outdoor events at First Night to be sure to bundle up as temperatures are expected to remain frigid into the start of the New Year.

“The fire department and their EMT’s will all do their preparations for cold weather and that’s extra preparations they have to make specifically for cold weather events and they’re well prepared to do that,” Deputy Chief Foley said.

First night organizers said the events will go on despite the bitter cold.

“It is New England so we know to expect something and this year it happens to be the cold, so just dress in layers,” Glander said.  She added there are several indoor activities planned throughout the day for those looking to stay out of the cold.

All of First Night’s events are alcohol-free, but police are still reminding everyone going out New Year’s even to stay safe.

“Plan ahead and don’t drink and drive.  Take public transportation there’s a free dash shuttle around the city all day until well after midnight on Sunday for people to use Uber, Lyft, or a cab are all great options for people,” Deputy Chief Foley said.

This year’s First Night Hartford will cost more than $100,000, according to organizers.  The entire event will be paid for through private donations and local business sponsorship.  None of the funds will come from the city itself.

Street parking is free on Sunday in Hartford and some parking garages will have discounted rates available.

For more event details click here.