First Night Hartford 2018, Hartford, Connecticut's official New Year's Eve celebration, boasts dozens of performances and events and not one but two fireworks displays. It all begins at 3 p.m. on December 31, 2017, and lasts past the stroke of midnight. From live music to horse-drawn carriage rides, from improv comedy to fun surprises, First Night events will be held at more than a dozen venues and sites in downtown Hartford, and revelers can partake of it all for just the cost of a First Night wristband.
You can purchase your First Night wristband in advance at a number of Hartford-area locations, typically including Highland Park Markets, Whole Foods Markets, AAA branches, CBT/Berkshire Bank branches, the Radisson Hotel Hartford, the CT Transit Information Booth and the Old State House. 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 up until a few days before the event. There is a per order fee for shipping.
This is the 29th 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 will be packed, as usual, with family-oriented fun. Activities and performances planned to ring in 2018 will be announced closer to New Year's Eve.
The complete schedule of events and performers will be 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 2018.
If you are going... A map of First Night Hartford venues is available online. The event will be held regardless of weather conditions.
Staying overnight? Several Hartford area hotels usually offer special First Night Hartford packages.
To give you a sense of what awaits, last year's First Night 2017 event highlights included:
Mad Science HOLIDAZE Science Show - An educational spectacle! Choose from two afternoon shows at Central Baptist Church.
Ice Skating - The Winterfest ice rink is open for extended First Night hours. Skating and skate rentals are both free.
Improv Comedy - Sea Tea Improv's performers will engage the audience in this laugh-generating show.
Mask Making – The Butler-McCook House hosts this hands-on craft workshop.
Live Music – Musical acts performing at First Night include Bill Walach (Pump House Gallery Courtyard), Don Sineti & Steve Roys (Pump House), and The Boys of Wexford (Pump House Gallery).
Fortune Tellers - Find out what's in store for you in 2017. A $10 fee applies for a 10-minute Tarot or psychic reading.
Bushnell Park Carousel Rides - Visit the renovated Bushnell Park Carousel pavilion, where food will be sold and rides are free with a First Night wristband.