June 13, 2017

Riverfront Fireworks, arts festivities get private funding boosts

Riverfront Fireworks will return this summer on July 8 after being snuffed out last year, thanks to private funding support.

Mike Zaleski, CEO of Riverfront Recapture, said "numerous" unnamed companies and corporations "stepped up" to help fund the riverfront fireworks. The event website also says the newly branded "Summer in the City" program is providing support, though it didn't specify how.

The event last year would have cost approximately $100,000, which the city and Riverfront Recapture typically shared.

In addition, this year, Farmington-based United Technologies Corp. is providing an undisclosed amount of funding to help the Capital City brand and promote arts festivities as a "Summer in the City" program.

The partnership between the city, UTC and the Greater Hartford Arts Council, which will manage the series, will pay for costs associated with hosting a series of existing regional events. It will promote events through an online event calendar, community engagement campaign and neighborhood events, said Mayor Luke Bronin.

"Hartford has a great lineup of concerts and festivals every summer, but the city has never had the resources to promote and support these events as part of a coordinated summer series," said Bronin.

As Hartford strives to avoid bankruptcy, the city has had to cut back on subsidizing these events, which are largely run by volunteers, Bronin said.

"We asked private funders to help us do what we really aspired to do, which is not just to help keep particular events going, but to bring them together into one, well-branded 'Summer in the City' series," he said.

Events kick off with the Black-Eyed and Blues Festival on June 17 and end with the Capital City PrideFest on Sept. 9.

Bronin secured the private funding from UTC but declined to disclose the amount.

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