Hartford’s Pratt Street was the place to be Thursday and Friday afternoon before, during, and after the Men's Division I Basketball game. The street drew people to Hartford for festivities including a pop-up pub featuring local breweries and distilleries, live music, and interactive games.
The MetroHartford Alliance team was on site taking part in the fun—meeting visitors from out of state, talking to local business owners, high-fiving Yard Goats mascots Chompers and Chew Chew, toasting the excitement, and finding out what people enjoyed most about their visit to Hartford.
Jane Yon, whose parents own Sunberry Café on Pratt Street, was excited about the activity happening on the street—and the potential economic impact it will have on local business. “The men’s basketball tournament playing in Hartford gives people a reason to come and experience everything the city has to offer,” she said. “There is a downtown culture here—it’s a Hartford culture and it’s awesome.
A couple from Upstate New York whose son attends the University of New Haven was enjoying the street party. They said they were in town until Sunday. Their plans? “We’re going to see a lot of basketball and we plan to be in Hartford all day.” They praised Hartford, saying “The XL Center has all kinds of information—all the restaurants and places to check out.” The family had been going to tournament games for 13 years and said this was the first time they’d seen a city so organized with information. “We applaud Hartford for that. It’s really handy for out-of-towners.”
About the ongoing activities, the city vibe, and Hartford overall, a woman from Cape Cod said, “The cities that get it right are smaller towns like Hartford. We want to feel like we’re at the best thing in town—and if we don’t, we’re not coming back.”
An enthusiastic group of guys from Vermont came to see the games and said they were loving the Pratt Street experience. One noted: “I love it! All the people and all the of energy.”
Out of towners weren’t the only ones enjoying the city’s energy. A man from Avon admitted Hartford’s vibrancy was on par with larger cities. “When cities host events like this, people will come,” he said.
One East Hartford native was pumped about the activity on the street. “It’s amazing! I feel like I’m in a different city!”
Hartford Flavor Company Co-Founder Tom Dubay was on site and told us, “It’s good to see the vibe on the street. It’s a throwback to the Whalers games in the 80s.” As a local business owner, Tom said, “It’s great for us to be able to get out into the streets at an indoor/outdoor festival type of event and make fans from Connecticut—and all over the country.”
Representatives from other Hartford sports were glad to part of the experience. “It’s so exciting to be a part of it all. We’re happy to be here at a well-attended event on Pratt Street where we can get our name out,” said Lily Donatelli from Hartford Athletic.
“Hartford is a draw for people. It’s exciting to see so many people flocking to this one street right now. I look forward to seeing what it’s going to do for the rest of the businesses around the city,” said Amanda Roy, Community Programs Manager, Greater Hartford Arts Council. She noted that, beyond local sporting events, “There are a lot of things we’re doing in the city and there’s a lot more we can do. Our city’s music, dance, theater, museums, and events are what’s going to keep people here and keep them excited about Hartford.”
Party on Pratt will continue Friday and Saturday. Learn more about activities.