HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Winterfest Hartford is back!

Community leaders in Hartford officially kicked off the 13th Winterfest season on Monday, announcing fun, family friendly activities happening at Bushnell Park starting this Friday.

“[This is] one of the great Connecticut holiday traditions,” Mayor Luke Bronin said. “I have a deep affection for this ice rink because this is where my kids learned to skate.”

Located right near the Pump House, the Winterfest ice rink provides free ice skating, free skate rentals and free lessons at Bushnell Park.

More than $300,000 was raised to make free skating possible. M&T Bank is one of the main sponsors, along with several other local businesses and organizations.

“At this skating rink, we have tens of thousands of people who come an enjoy free skating in Bushnell Park, but they can also wander down and ride the carousel,” Bronin said. “They can go up the street and visit the great coffee shops and restaurants afterwards.”

Winterfest also includes visits with Santa and Santa’s workshop. The event is organized by the iQuilt partnership.

“There’s so much magic in Hartford and this is just one small piece of it,” said Jackie Mandyck, the executive director of iQuilt.

Winterfest brought in more than 42,000 people to Bushnell Park last year. Organizers are expecting big numbers once again this year.

“It’s where so many kids, from Hartford and beyond Hartford, around the state can come,” Bronin said. “The beautiful thing is they can skate for free. This is their chance to learn to skate and do it in one of the most beautiful settings you can imagine.”

Winterfest runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Nov. 24 to Jan. 7.