On Constitution Plaza, some of the decorative lights have already been turned on, and in less than a week, more will be added in downtown, including at the carousel.
“Winterfest” — formerly called “Festival of Lights” 2011-2012 — begins on Friday, November 25th. The carousel will be operating from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. on weekends through December 31st. Children will be able to visit with Santa from 12-3 p.m. on weekends in December at the carousel.
The major draw to Bushnell Park, however, will be the skating rink.
Last year there were at least two marriage proposals on the rink, which had been set up temporarily in the middle of the lawn.
This year, it seems more thought was put into aesthetics. So far, no generators — creating noise and air pollution — have been brought into the park. The rink will be nestled between the swing sets and the Pump House Gallery, which is also where there is a power supply in the park, creating less need to run lines in every direction.
Workers have been especially busy this past week, stringing lights and putting together the rink. All lights appear to be of the small, traditional, and non-garish variety.
On opening night, there will be a short procession from the carousel to the rink at 4pm. As Mayor Segarra, Pucky (the mascot of the Whale) and Santa arrive at the skating rink, a quartet from CONCORA will be performing holiday music. After some opening words and a ribbon cutting, the rink will be opened to the public until 6pm, at which time the rink will be cleared for a skating performance. Public skating will resume in about an hour.
The rink, which was 90′ x 40′ last season, will be 90′ x 80′ this year. This doubles the number of people able to be on the ice at the same time.
The skating season has also been extended: the rink will be open through February 20, 2012.
After the opening day, the rink will be open from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. every day, except for holidays. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it will be open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and for First Night, it will be open from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m.
The Pump House Gallery will be open from 5-8pm on November 25th for the “Frozen in Time” art exhibit, which I have been told encourages audience interaction.
It costs $1 to ride on the carousel. Skate rentals and admission to rink: free.