HARTFORD, Conn. — It's what the mayor calls "one of the best weekends of the year in the city of Hartford."
The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is making a return to the capital city from Thursday to Sunday. It has been going on for 31 years.
The jazz musical event kicks off Hartford's Summer in the City series, festivals taking place in Hartford this summer into early fall.
"This is our giveback to the community we live and work in," said Charles Christie, with the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz.
There are two venues for the festivities: Bushnell Park and the Riverfront.
While the stage was being set up Wednesday morning, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin took time to thank the "countless" number of volunteers who work hard to make festivals like the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz happen.
"The heart and soul of the Summer in the city series are the countless volunteers who put sweat and tears and heart and soul into that work all year round," Bronin said. "Literally hundreds of volunteers who together make that possible."
Considered one of the biggest events in the city, more than 50,000 people are expected to attend, and it's free admission.
Raytheon Technologies has financially contributed to supporting the annual event to help make Hartford "a rich and vibrant place to live and work," year after year.
"Wherever we have employees working, wherever we have operations, we're committed to the vitality of the communities where we live and work," said a spokesperson for Raytheon Technologies.
Also, American Rescue Plan dollars are used to help grow the festival for this year and into the future.
The festival kicks off Thursday evening with Hall High School students getting experience being on stage while working with Chris Crenshaw.
The festival will continue through Sunday with a major lineup. Click here for a full performance schedule.
"All we ask is the people to come out and enjoy themselves," Christie said. "It is a family thing."
"This is the largest free jazz event in all of New England, this is what makes a claim for the city of Hartford," said Dr. Shelley Best, CEO of the Greater Hartford Arts Council.
Festival hours are Friday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 2:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com
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