Hartford rings in the New Year with annual ‘First Night’ celebration

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Fireworks and audience (Getty)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A rainbow of colors lit up the sky in Hartford Friday night, allowing residents to see a glimmer of hope as we say goodbye to 2021 and hello to the New Year.

What’s been a difficult year ended in celebration as young and old came to Bushnell Park for the 33rd annual First Night in Hartford. The event took place in-person after going virtual in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Africka Hinds, a resident of Hartford, said that the event was “one way to recap our old year and bring in the new.” It was a tradition for Hinds and her family to attend the event every year, but like many others, she stayed home in 2020.

“This year it’s just good to support and get out and try to get back to our new normal,” Hinds told WTNH.

Throughout the night, eventgoers had the chance to grab some food and view live music and dance performances. There was an array of activities for all to enjoy, including crafts and ice skating. Even those at home this year had the chance to view in on the fun as the event was broadcasted online.

“We’re doing the best we can and hoping that the community works together to sort of make this as safe as possible,” First Night Hartford Creative Producer Taneisha Duggan said.

It’s hard to forget the pandemic is still raging on. One attendee, Daniel Santiago of Southington, said that “everything’s not ever going to be the same.”

“I think as we inch closer to regular life, you know, doing the things that we used to do, feels a lot better,” Santiago said.

Another eventgoer, Jaya Rios of Manchester, hopes that “COVID slows down and that we can start to get normal again, well, as normal as we can.”

“I think things are going to get better for us,” Rios said. “I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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