HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — After two years of toned-down festivities, First Night Hartford is back to full strength to ring in the new year.

“After everything we’ve been through, it’s important to get together and see other families,” Emilia Otfinoski said.

The New Year’s Eve celebration is expected to bring thousands to Bushnell Park for ice skating, vendors, and two firework shows — one at 6 p.m., and the second when the clock hits midnight.

Among those celebrating will be Molly Tsipouras, who is passing on the First Night tradition to her three young children.

“We’re going to show them what it’s like in Hartford on New Year’s Eve, and they’re going to see all of the fireworks and have a good time,” she said.

Event director Jeff Devereux said it’s a big boom for downtown — and not only in the air. It also helps local entertainers.

“It was always necessary to find as many ways to collaborate with people as we can, and a huge part of this is to come out and celebrate local artists and celebrate local talent,” he said.

Buttons are $12 each to access venues and support performing artists.