Friday, December 10, 2010
THE EXCITEMENT METER IS RISING
The "Festival-of-non-Lights" took a step forward tonight in the positive side. After the bashing that opening night took for the non-event, tonight was a little bit better. Unfortunately there weren't many people there to take part in the opening of the skating rink, but those that were there seemed to enjoy it. The crowd probably numbered around 100 people, and those there didn't seem to mind braving the bitter cold.
Mayor Segarra skating and Deputy Corporation Counsel Carl Nasto in his spandex skating outfit was well worth the price of admission. Oh wait, it was free,
A bon fire might have livened the event a little bit, but at least this time Santa was there as scheduled and was greeting those at the rink. Additional lights had been strung on trees near the carousel and more trees were illuminated on the edge of the park.
It would have been nice to have seen it all pulled together on the opening night. Even Mayor Segarra shared his disappointment with me last night as to the event he had envisioned and what actually happened. Apparently his original thoughts were more of a "Winter Festival" type theme with snow-making and sledding, skating combined with lights and other winter events.
Now the challenge will be to lure back those who felt disappointed with the original event and be willing to give Hartford a second chance. I would hope some leadership will evolve at City Hall and with others involved and challenge the planners for next year to "think outside the box".
This could be a great event for next year combined with expansion to the Riverfront and revitalize the festival on Constitution Plaza. The announcement this week that Channel 3 and the Channel 3 "Kid'sCamp" will be resurrecting the former "Holiday Fantasia" in Goodwin Park could be the glue that brings the whole plan together. Hartford could potentially be known as the place to head to for Christmas holiday displays .
Throw in some horse drawn carriages for a few weeks and maybe some hayrides from downtown, running a route past restaurants and businesses and the plaza and the riverfront. And don't wait until a week before next Thanksgiving to start planning it, and maybe it would be a good idea to keep an arms length from some of the planners from this years event who thought the first opening was sufficient.
And while we are at it, lets set a date to shut down Main Street and bring the Taste of Hartford back to the streets of Hartford for a weekend and start showing off all we have to offer. Jamaican patties, barbecue, seafood, italian food, the best grinders you will find anywhere, spanish food, I'd keep going but I am getting hungry now. And top the weekend off with a street concert and a block party.