Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.

The Ultimate List of Summer Festivals in Connecticut

Alive @ 5, Columbus Park, Main St. & W. Park Place, Stamford. (203) 348-5285, June 21: Los Lonely Boys. June 28: G. Love & Special Sauce. July 5: Creedence Clearwater Revisited. July 19: Matisyahu. July 19: Hot Chelle Rae. July 26: Javier Colon. Aug. 2: Foreigner.

Artzfest, 242 East Main St. through Main St., Thomaston, July 13-15. The event follows from the Railroad Museum of New England up through Main Street, ending at the Seth Thomas Clock Tower. Enjoy indoor and outdoor vendors and various activities. Free.

Annual Milford Oyster Festival, Town Green and Fowler Field, Milford, (203) 878-5363, Aug. 17-18. Food, music, history, harbor activities, stuff for kids and more.

Antique and Classic Boat Rendezvous, Mystic Seaport, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, (888) 973-2767, July 28-29. Gathering of pre-1965 wooden sail and motorboats, with a three-mile boat parade.

Barnum Festival, Various Locations in Bridgeport. (203) 367-8495, Thru July 4. A series of parades, kids activities, fireworks, concerts and more, all celebrating the city of Bridgeport and its legacy.

Black Rock Day, The Streets of Black Rock and Ellsworth Field. June 10. A road race, a bed race, a parade and a festival with live music, arts and crafts and food from local restaurants.

Branford Festival, Branford Green, 1019 Main St., Branford, June 15-17. 28th annual festival featuring music, crafts, kids' activities, a road race and more. No dogs.

Branford Jazz on the Green, Branford Green, 1019 Main St., Branford, June 28: B.D. Lenz. July 5: Nicole Zuraitis. July 12: Jazz in the Air. July 19: Arthur Lipner. July 26: Steve D'Agostino. Aug. 2: Gene Bertoncini, Donn Trenner and Dave Daddario. Aug. 9: KJ Denhert. Aug. 16: Chris Coulter. Aug. 23: Marion Meadows.

Cajun Zydeco Festival: Blast From the Bayou, Strawberry Park, 42 Pierce Road, Preston, (888) 794-7944, June 7-10. Annual festival featuring cajun/zydeco music, food and dancing from the bayous and cities of Louisiana. Camping available.

Canaan Railroad Days Craft Fair, Corner of Route 7 and Route 44 Green, Canaan, July 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., July 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Watch as the works of 50 craftspeople are selected on a juried, categorical basis.

Capital Classics Shakespeare Festival — Twelfth Night or What You Will, Saint Joseph College, 1678 Asylum Ave., West Hartford, (860) 231-5555, July 26-29, Aug. 2-5 & 9-12. Performances Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

Celebrate West Hartford, West Hartford Town Hall, 50 South Main Street, West Hartford, (860) 561-7512, June 9, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., June 10, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. To educate the public of their work, Celebrate presents recreation groups, charitable foundations as well as service, business and civic organizations. Enjoy food, entertainment, art shows, games, rides and a certified 5k road race.

Connecticut Folk Festival and Green Expo, Edgerton Park and other venues, Sept. 8. Live folk music and eco-friendly educational programs and activities.

Riverwood Poetry Festival — Speaking for Others: Poetry on Social Justice, The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford, (860) 522-9258, June 24, 2-4 p.m. Performances will be led by poets Antoinette Brim, Doug Anderson, Randal Horton and Ralph Nazareth as part of the Riverwood Poetry Festival. Free.

Connecticut Irish Festivals Feis and Agricultural Fair, North Haven Fairgrounds, Washington Ave. (Rte. 5), North Haven, (203) 469-3080, June 23-24. Irish step-dancing, live music, Irish sports for kids, petting zoo and more.

Connecticut Wine Festival, Route 53, Goshen Fairgrounds, (860) 677-5467,, July 28 and 29. Vintners, specialty foods and crafts, plus musical entertainment.

Discovery Day Festival, University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, (860) 768-4862, June 2. Celebrate the younger artists with The Discovery Ballet and Tiny Tap students as they perform three times. Both groups will be able to dance with special guests from the Classical Ballet Repertoire after the show.

Downtown Thursdays, McLevy Green, Downtown Bridgeport. (203) 576-3972, Thursdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 7: The Stepkids, Echo & Drake. June 14: I Anbassa. June 21: Pocket Full of Soul. June 28: Ken Coulson. June 28: Mike Cusato Band. July 5: Jazz Guild of Fairfield County. July 12: Rick Reyes Band. July 19: Girls on Bikes, Hard Water. July 19: CFS presents Romeo & Juliet. Aug. 2: Val Ramos Flamenco Ensemble. Aug. 9: Yippee Coyote, Tracey Delucia. Aug. 16: Forever Motown. Aug. 21: The Suit & Tyree & Thurrsty. Aug. 23: Dan Stevens. Aug. 30: Mikata.

Durham Fair, Durham Fairgrounds, 24 Town House Road, Durham, (860) 349-9495, Sept. 27-30. Live music, food, carnival rides, animal exhibits, art shows and more. Concerts by Kenny Rogers and Kellie Pickler.

The Enfield Renaissance Faire, Enfield Town Green, 840 Enfield St. July 28, 10 a.m. Go back in time and be entertained by musicians, storytelling, jousting, games, theatre, enjoy food and visit the Medieval Marketplace.

Fairfield County Irish Festival, Fairfield University, 1073 N. Benson Road, Fairfield, June 15-17. All things Irish, including music, step dancing, food, Gaelic football, vendors, crafts and more.

Festival! Stratford, grounds of American Festival Theatre, 1850 Elm Street, Stratford. Aug. 2012, exact dates TBA. A celebration of theater, arts and music with workshops, vendors, a theater camp and more.

Gathering of the Vibes, Seaside Park, Bridgeport. (203) 908-3030, July 19-22. Seaside Park, Bridgeport. Huge, annual weekend-long summer music and arts festival celebrating the Grateful Dead in particular, but all kinds of music are represented. Phil Lesh & Friends, Bob Weir & Bruce Hornsby w/ Wynton Marsalis, Primus, Avett Brothers, STS9, Zappa Plays Zappa, Yonder Mountain String Band and much, much more.

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, Bushnell Park, Hartford, (860) 727-0500, July 20-22. Hartford's popular downtown jazz festival returns with live music by local, national and international jazz musicians playing crowd-pleasing jazz favorites and original compositions. Free.

Greenfest 2012, CityCenter Green, Danbury. June 22-24. Three days, green vendors, charity poker. A celebration of all things sustainable and green. Music by Belle The Mighty Plough Boys, Mystic Bowie, Nami & The Crew, Dave King, Phoenix Band, Canyon, Baby Snakes, Grimm Generation, True Apothecary, Dave Hogan, Gatsby's Greenlight, Waking Elliot, AsmarA, Maybe Welders, Graylight Campfire, Sunrise Skyline, Lisa Bianco, Ports Of Spain, Live, Love, Die and many more.

Guilford Art Center Craft Expo 2011, Guilford Green, Rte. 1, Guilford, (203) 453-5947, July 19-22. Juried works by diverse craft artists, eats and more.

Haddam Neck Fair, Haddam Neck Fairgrounds, 26 Quarry Hill Road, Haddam Neck, (860) 267-5922, Aug. 31-Sept. 3. Food, carnival rides and games, live entertainment and more.

Hamden Arts Commission's 2012 Free Summer Concert Series, Town Center Park at Meadowbrook, 2761 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, (203) 287-2546, June 29:U.S. Coast Guard Masters of Swing. July 6: Doo Wop Show (Duprees, Belmonts, Shirley Alston Reeves formerly of the Shirelles). July 13: NRBQ. July 20: Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. July 27: Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night.

Hot Steamed Jazz Fest, Essex Steam Train, 1 Railroad Ave., Essex, (800) 348-0003, June 22-24. Three days of jazz, including performances by Galvanized Jazz Band, Sugarfoot Youth Jazz Band, and more.

Ideat Village, Downtown New Haven, June 16-July 1. DIY celebration of local art, music, film and counterculture in general, including music showcases, art exhibits and more.

Harriet Beecher Stowe's 201st Birthday, The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford, (860) 522-9258, June 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A community open house befitting a 201st birthday celebration — house tours, an interactive community art project, horse and carriage rides, readings from Uncle Tom's Cabin in multiple languages, re-enactments, the Wintergreen Trio performing Civil War and Underground Railroad songs and a birthday cake. Free.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra's Talcott Mountain Festival, Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows, Iron Horse Blvd, Simsbury, (860) 244-2999, June 22, 7:30 p.m.: Four Seasons — Vivaldi & Piazzolla. Hear the sounds of the four seasons from two great composers. Celebrate America! June 29, 7:30 p.m.: The Annual Red, White & Blue Tradition. Gerald Steichen leads the orchestra in a program of American classics, thundering marches and a fantastic display of fireworks to celebrate our nation's independence. July 6, 7:30 p.m.: Dancing Under The Stars. Grab a partner and dance under the stars as The Hartford Symphony Orchestra plays songs from Glenn Miller to Johann Strauss. July 13, 7:30 p.m.: Rocket Man — The Music of Elton John. Enjoy all of Sir Elton's greatest hits with vocalist Jean Meilleur and John Regan on piano. July 20, 7:30 p.m.: Big Country — Nashville Meets Simsbury. Hear the Hartford Symphony Orchestra perform hits from the hottest country stars, including the works of Faith Hill, Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood.

International Festival of Arts & Ideas, downtown New Haven, (888) ART-IDEA, June 16-30: A world-class event of art, music, theater and a celebration of culture.

Ives Concert Park, Western Connecticut State University Westside Campus, 43 Lake Avenue Extension, Danbury, (866) 558-4253, June 12: Counting Crows. June 29: Fiona Apple. Aug. 25: Straight No Chaser.

Jazz Up July, Columbus Park, Main St. & W. Park Place, Stamford. (203) 348-5285, Presented by the Stamford Downtown Special Services District. July 11: John Pizzarelli. July 18: Preservation Hall Jazz Band. July 25: Spyro Gyra. Aug. 1: Al Jarreau.

Juneteenth Family Day, The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 600 Main St., Hartford, (860) 838-4122, June 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Featuring face painting, exhibition tours, costume and dance workshops and more. Free.

Lift Every Voice and Sing Gospel Festival and Fair, Bushnell Park, Hartford, (860) 243-8734, June 30, 1-4 p.m., July 15, 2-4 p.m., July 21, 1-4 p.m., July 25, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Aug. 25, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. & Sept. 15, 7-9 p.m. This year's 17th installment will be held at various locations, featuring choir, dancing and modeling performances. Free.

Litchfield Bug-In VW Car Show, Harwinton Fairgrounds, 150 Locust Road, Harwinton, (860) 485-0464, June 17, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. In addition to the car show, 125 vendors will be selling VW products. Enjoy food and refreshments for purchase. All proceeds will go towards the Community Fund. $7.

Litchfield Jazz Festival, Goshen Fair Grounds, 116 Old Middle St., Goshen, (860) 361-6285, Aug. 10-12. The Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet, Salute to George Coleman and Gary Smulyan and Eric Alexander, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Four Freshmen and others. $35-$500.

Moby Dick Marathon, Mystic Seaport on the Charles W. Morgan, (860) 572-5302, July 31-Aug. 1. 24-hour reading of Melville's massive work, in honor of his birthday.

Monroe Strawberry Festival, Monroe Congregational Church, 34 Church St., Monroe. June 16-17. Art exhibits, kids games, and anything and everything strawberry-themed.

Music Under the Stars, North Haven Town Green, Church St., North Haven, (203) 239-5321, June 26: Rich DiPalma. July 3: Flashback. July 10: Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot. July 17: Vinnie Carr & the Party Band. July 24: The Sixties Show. July 31: Silverado. Aug. 7: The Classics. Aug. 14: B. Willie Smith. Aug. 21: Eight to the Bar. Aug. 28: Primetime.

Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival, Mystic Seaport, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, 860-572-5315, June 7-10. New this year: a Sea Music Storytelling Stage and Sea Music Contra Dance, in addition to a host of live performances.

New Horizons Strawberry Festival, New Horizons Village, 37 Bliss Road, Unionville, (860) 673-8893. June 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy strawberry shortcake, games, classic cars, free pony rides, magicians, music from the Bristol Fiddlers and the Sponge Pummels Band, Rocky from the New Britain Rock Cats and other special guest artists. Free.

Night Out On Main Street, Main Street, Watertown, (860) 945-5255, June 29, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Stroll down Main Street and see farmers' markets, food, entertainment, retailers and more. Free.

Norfolk Choral Festival, The Music Shed, 18 Litchfield Road, Norfolk, (860) 542-3000, Aug. 18 at 4 p.m. Featuring The Norfolk Festival Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Simon Carrington. The program includes music from the Renaissance to the 21st Century. $25.

North Haven Fair, North Haven Fairgrounds, Washington Ave. (Rte. 5), North Haven, (203) 239-3700, Sept. 6-9. Rides, food, live entertainment and more.

North Stonington Agricultural Fair, Wyassup Road (off Rte. 2), North Stonington, (860) 535-3956, July 12-15. Food, fun and live music for the whole family.

Norwalk Oyster Fest, Veteran's Park, Seaview Ave., Norwalk, (203) 838-9444, Sept. 7-9. Featuring live music, food booths, BBQ vendors, demos, crafts and competitions and a whole lot of delicious oysters.

Pipes in the Valley Celtic Festival, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Blvd, Hartford, (860) 713-3131, Sept. 29, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. This culturally rich festival in collaboration with Olde Burnside Brewing Company includes Highland games, bagpipers, traditional dancing, birds of prey, Highland cows and delicious Celtic food. Fun for the whole family. Free.

Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival, Dodd Stadium, 14 Scott Avenue, Norwich, (860) 887-7962, Aug. 2-5. Enjoy a world-class festival in Norwich, featuring the Roys, Kathy Matte, Travers Chandler, Avery County and the Spinney Brothers.

Ray Gonzalez Latin Jazz & Salsa Festival, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Blvd., Hartford, (860) 713-3131, July 28, 5-10 p.m. In partnership with Guakía, this festival features Hartford's own Ray Gonzalez and his orchestra with other local Latin jazz favorites. Viva la música. Free.

Riverfest, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, Hartford & Great River Park and Founders Plaza, East Hartford, (860) 713-3131, July 7, no time yet. Celebrate the area's oldest fireworks tradition with a community-wide celebration, live entertainment and family activities. Free.

Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Blvd., Hartford, (860) 713-3131, Aug. 18-19, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. All-day entertainment includes colorful and competitive dragon boat races, Asian-inspired live music, dancing and food. Free.

Rockin' on the River, 1010 Washington Blvd. overlooking Mill River Park. (203) 248-5285, Sun., July 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Bowzer's Rock 'n' Roll Party (guy from Sha Na Na) to benefit Stamford Downtown and Mill River Park.

Shakespeare on the Sound, (203) 299-1300, June 26-July 8: Romeo & Juliet, at Baldwin Park, Greenwich. July 18-29: Romeo & Juliet, at Pinkney Park, Rowayton.

Riverton Music Festival, June 30, 12-7:30 p.m., Riverton Green, Robertsville Road, Riverton, Performances by the Valley Swing Shift, the Girls of Mad River Crossing, the Al Fenton Big Band, The Rivertones, and Vinyl Vortex.

SoNo Arts Celebration, Various locations based around Washington St. in South Norwalk. Aug. 4-5. Musical acts, dance and theater troupes, children's entertainers, artists food and a puppet-filled street parade.

Spring Festival, University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford, (860) 768-4862, June 16-17. Celebrate the art of dancing with this end-of-the-year dance performance. Enjoy a showcase and two sessions featuring Vivaldi's Four Seasons with special guest artists. $20.

SS&C SummerWind Performing Arts Center Concerts, 40 Griffin Road North, Windsor, (800) 317-7140, The Hartford Pops Band, July 1 & 22, 7 p.m. Connecticut Ballet's Summer Dance Caravan, July 8, 7 p.m. Howard Fishman & His Band, July 15, 7 p.m. Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra, July 29, 7 p.m. The Shinolas & Friends, Aug. 5, 7 p.m. The Pousette-Dart Band, Aug. 12, 7 p.m. Viva Quetzal & The Val Ramos Ensemble, Aug. 19, 7 p.m. $15-$25.

Strawberry Fest and Golf Center Grand Opening, Lyman Orchards, Junction of routes 147 & 157, Middletown, (860) 349-1793, June 16. Strawberry Fest's activities include free samples of strawberry treats, pie-eating contests, horse-drawn wagon rides and music presented by the Monthei Brothers Band. Across the street, enjoy the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Golf Center with a performance by a trick-shot golf artist.

Strawberry Festival, North Canton Community United Methodist Church, 3 Case St., Canton. (860) 693-4589. June 16, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tag sales, vendors, burgers and dogs. The kids enjoy Kid's Korner while you bid on silent auction items donated by local merchants. Free.

Summer Nights By Harbor Lights, Rotary Pavilion at Fowler Field, New Haven Ave. (behind the library), Milford, (203) 878-0681. June 22: The John Whelan Band. June 29: American Festival Band. July 6: Steve D'Agostino. July 13: RPMs. July 20: The Rumrunners. July 27: Gunsmoke. Aug. 3: The Bernadettes. Aug. 10: Flashback.

Summer Wine and Food Festival, Stonington Vineyards, 523 Taugwonk Road, Stonington, (860) 535-1222, July 21-22. Gourmet vendors, wine tastings, live music, cellar tours.

Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Road, Farmington, (860) 677-4787, June 13, June 27, July 11 & 25, Aug. 1. This year, Hill-Stead will celebrate the festival's 20th year by taking on a different theme each day. Enjoy world-class poetry and live music against the tranquil background of Hill-Stead's historic Sunken Garden. Bring your own picnic supper or purchase one on-site. Free.

Taste of the Caribbean & Jerk Festival, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Blvd., Hartford, (860) 713-3131, Aug. 4, 1-11 p.m. This year's 7th installment will transform Mortensen Riverfront Plaza's upper and lower areas into Caribbean villages. As always, enjoy dance and musical performances, food and other activities.

Tom Sawyer Day — Take Me Out To The Ball Game, The Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford, (860) 247-3131, June 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A day of family fun with a baseball theme. Enjoy treasure hunts, dunk tanks, a poetry performance of "Casey at the Bat", visits from mascots including Rocky from the New Britain Rock Cats along with many other activities. Free.

WILI Boom Box Parade, Willimantic, (860) 456-1111, July 4. A people's parade that has been covered by the Washington Post and CBS Evening News. Participants and spectators bring portable radios tuned to marching band music broadcast by the local station, WILI-AM 1400. Begins at 11 a.m. at Jackson and Main Street.

Wolcott Country Fair, Frisbie School Fairgrounds, 24 Todd Road, Wolcott, Aug. 17-19. Animals, arts and crafts, food, rides, entertainment and more.

Woodbury Reggaefest, 785 Woodbury Road, Woodbury, (203) 263-2203, June 23-24. Great reggae acts including King Yellowman With The Sagittarius Band. $55-$110.

Women and Their Music Festival — A Musical Tribute to Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford, (860) 522-9258, July 14, 1-4 p.m. Enjoy a family-friendly outdoor concert celebrating one of Hartford's most famous writers. Free.

Post Your Comment Below

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content