I was informed that the real Santa would indeed be making an appearance or two in November. On November 26th. The City of Hartford says that “Santa will be riding an ice maintenance machine down Trumbull Street. Santa will then park this vehicle in his reserved parking space at Bushnell Park.” I imagine that “ice maintenance machine” is the generic term for Zamboni, but it could be his sleigh. His trip down Trumbull Street is being called a procession. That sounds much fancier than how I typically stumble, amble, or on rare days, strut, down the very same street. He will begin his journey at 5 that evening and the formal entertainment will begin in the park at 5:45.
“Formal entertainment” also sounds fancy. One of City Hall’s elves writes that there will be a “demonstration by professional skaters on synthetic ice to help create the image and paint the picture of what we can expect to see at Bushnell Park starting December 10th when a real— and much larger— ice skating rink will be open to the public until January 6, 2011, which is Three Kings Day.” There will be hot chocolate served in the park that night so that you can stay warm while waiting for Santa Claus and the lights. The Pump House Gallery will also be open, so if you decide it’s too cold, you can wander inside to look at art on the walls.
Some people are skeptical or cynical about the move of festivities from Constitution Plaza to a location merely ten minutes away. They fear a break from tradition and worry about parking. It is the Land of Steady Habits, after all, and our steadiest of habits seem to be worrying about parking spots and maintaining traditions. Mayor Segarra says “The Hartford 375 Anniversary edition of this beloved event incorporates the past, present, and future of Hartford. By moving the lighting ceremony to Bushnell Park, we better connect all the festivities to all the wonderful things that are happening in our Downtown this holiday season at our shops, theatres and restaurants.” Personally, I like to equate the holiday season with trees, rolling hills, and a pond. These are the ingredients of New England’s charm.
Though Santa will have a special parking space at Bushnell Park, it will be possible to find parking for automobiles and bicycles. The Star Shuttle will be running that evening and there are bus stops directly in front of Bushnell Park.
If you can not wait until the Festival of Lights, you can catch Santa in just four days. On Sunday November 14th, from 10:30-5, Santa Claus with be at the Bushnell Park Carousel.