If you’re a fan of tractor pulls, midways, and carnival rides, your time to shine will be here sooner than you realize.
The 2018 fair season kicks off Aug. 10 with the Lebanon Country Fair, and around the state you can find at least one place to get your deep-fried food fix every weekend through mid-October.
No matter what pulls you to the fair, you’re sure to find new and exciting options this year. If you’re big on contests, for instance, you can take part in a sugar-free baking competition at the Goshen Fair or watch racing dachshunds at the Wapping Fair. Does food draw you in? The Big E always has some new crazy food offerings, like last year’s deep-fried cannoli and Flatliner burger (stay tuned), and the food truck festival at the Hartford County 4H Fair is sure to have something exciting for you.
Music fans should prepare themselves for a big season: In addition to the traditional tribute bands and local musical acts, major performers will head to Connecticut to treat fans of all musical preferences. Melissa Etheridge headlines the Durham Fair, while the lineup for the Big E’s Court of Honor includes Max Creek, Grandmaster Flash and Noah Cyrus.
Following is a list of the fairs by weekend, with a few details and a taste of what they have to offer:
Aug. 10 to 12
The Lebanon Country Fair: The fair kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. with an opening ceremony, a pony pull and more. The weekend will include performances from musical and dance groups, and barns full of animals. Other fun things to do include watching the monster truck shows Friday and Saturday, getting a balloon hat from Bella the Clown and meeting a dinosaur during the Dinosaur Walk-Abouts.
Admission is $10 on Friday and $11 Saturday and Sunday; 60-plus get in for $9 each day. Children under 12 and active, retired and disabled members of the military get in free. Parking: $2. The fair is held at the county fairgrounds and runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. lebanoncountryfair.org.
Aug. 17 to 19
The Wolcott Country Fair: Glastonbury guitarist Jake Kulak and his band the Lowdown play at 7:30 on opening night, and the rest of the weekend includes other musical acts, a beer garden, racing pigs, equestrian events and more. There will be a firework show at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission varies by the time and day, but a three-day pass is $19, and children under 10 free with a parent. Carnival-ride wristbands are $20. The fair is held at the Wolcott Country fairgrounds and runs from 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. wolcottfair.com.
The Hartford County 4H Fair: Friday is food truck festival day and on Sunday there’s a kid’s pedal tractor pull. Participants show off livestock, poultry, even dogs and pocket pets. The fair is held at the 56 Egypt Road in Somers. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and those 7 to 12 years old; free for children under 6 and active military members and veterans with an ID. hartfordcounty4hfair.org.
The Bridgewater Country Fair: Traditional fair food such as hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as barbecue, tacos, fried dough, beer and more. Raffle tickets will be sold for $10 apiece, and the top prize is a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Willys with a tow package. Dark Knights will joust and attendees can participate in a cake lotto. There will be a pie-eating content both Saturday and Sunday. The fair is at the Bridgewater Fairgrounds and runs 4 to 11 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. $8. 60-plus $6; under 12 free. Three-day passes are $16. Parking is free. bridgewaterfair.com.
Aug. 23 to 26
The Brooklyn Fair: Huge musical acts take the main stage each night, beginning with soul group Souls On Fire on Thursday. Country music star Canaan Smith will perform Friday, followed Saturday by country band Diamond Rio. On Sunday, the Great Garage Band Reunion, a 14-piece group that features music from the ‘60s and ‘70s will take the stage. Other highlights include the women’s skillet toss, a doughnut on a string contest and the chance to build and race a vegetable racecar.
Admission is $10; $8 for seniors 65 and older and members of the military; free for children 12 and under. A family pack with four single-day admission tickets can be bought online for $30. Parking is $5. Held at the fairgrounds, the Brooklyn Fair runs 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. brooklynfair.org.
The Chester Fair: Music, concessions, giant bubble ponds, a program about neighborhood bats and lots of children’s events, including a BYOF frog-jumping contest. $8; $6 seniors; children 12 and under are free. Three-day passes are $21, and parking is free. The fair, on the Chester fairgrounds, is open 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. chesterfair.org.
The Terryville Lions Country Fair: There’s so much going on that organizers put together a 72-page book about it. Fairgoers can partake in bingo, listen to music from bands Gunsmoke and Jeff Pitchell’s Legends, enter a drawing for a free children’s bicycle, see demonstrations from local police dogs and more.
At the Terryville Fairgrounds, cost is $8 on Friday; $9 Saturday and Sunday; children 10 and under free with a guardian. Seniors 62 years or older, members of the military and veterans $6 Friday and $7 Saturday and Sunday. Three-day passes $20 online through Aug. 3; $22 at the gate. Ride wristbands are $25 per day. Parking is free. Hours are 4 to 11 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. terryvillefair.org.
Aug. 31 to Sept. 3
(Labor Day Weekend)
The Haddam Neck Fair: The fair features truck and tractor pulls, a 5K on Sunday, a “multiple birth contest” for those with a twin, triplet or quadruplet, a sunflower contest with a cash prize and more.
$10 admission; $25 for a weekend pass; $9 and $25 for military and seniors. Single-ride tickets $2; $25 one-day ride wristbands. Gates at the Haddam Neck Fairgrounds open at 4 p.m. Friday and 7:30 a.m. Saturday through Monday. They close at 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and at 5 p.m. Monday. haddamneckfair.com.
The Woodstock Fair: Visit a barnyard babies birthing center starring baby animals. Other options for fun include living statues, a teen technology tent and sand sculptures. The fair, at the town fairgrounds, runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. In advance tickets are $10 and $8 for seniors; $12 at the fair, with $8 seniors and military. Children under 10 free. Ten midway ride tickets are $24. woodstockfair.com.
The Goshen Fair: This is the 106th anniversary of the fair, but it still brings in fresh sights. The professional truck pulls and fireworks people love will return, but new events such as a sugar-free baking contest will be sure to dazzle, as well as music, monster trucks, comedy, contests and a parade. Admission is $10; free for children under 12. Senior citizens can get in for $5 on Saturday only. The fair, held at Goshen fairgrounds, opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 6 p.m. Monday. goshenfair.org.
Sept. 6 to 9
The Hebron Harvest Fair: There’s something for everyone, from musical acts to competitions and exhibits. It includes a chick hatchery and petting zoo, carnival rides, numerous food and craft vendors and a beer and wine garden.
Fair opens Thursday at Hebron fairgrounds with “Dollar Night,” where tickets are $1 each. General admission is $13, but children 12 and under and active military members are free. Seniors get in free Friday before 4 p.m. Parking is $5 (except for on Thursday’s Dollar Night, when it is $1.) The fair is open 4 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday; noon to midnight Friday; 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday. hebronharvestfair.org.
The Wapping Fair: Interact with animals of all kinds — racing pigs, the Winslow Horse Stunt Show, a children’s zoo with animals such as lemurs and kangaroos, camel rides and more. Magicians and dance teams will perform. Dachshunds, which in the past have been dressed as hotdogs, will race.
Thursday admission is free. Tickets are $8; $4 for those 65 and older or with a valid military ID. Children shorter than 57” (4-feet-9-inches) can get in free. A family four-pack is $25 and a couples two-pack is $13. Parking is free. The fair, at South Windsor fairgrounds, is open 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. wappingfair.org.
The Bethlehem Fair: Livestock exhibits, Dimples the Clown, a handbell choirs, a woodchopping contest, amusement rides, a vintage museum and more. Presley & Taylor take to the stage at 5:30 p.m. Saturday night, followed by tributes to Garth Brooks and Keith Urban at 8:30 on the main stage.
Adults $9; seniors $7 Saturday and Sunday; children under 12 are free. Three-day passes are $18, and books of 10 tickets are $70. Friday night ride bracelets are $25; parking is free. Gates at the Bethlehem fairgrounds are open from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. bethlehemfair.com.
Sept. 13 to 16
The Four Town Fair: Country/rockabilly act Truck Stop Troubadours will perform Thursday night, and LA’s BackStage Pass, an ‘80s classic rock group will perform Friday. On Saturday, both Studio Two, a Beatles tribute band, and ‘80s tribute band Aquanett will perform on the main stage. Blues, swing and rock act Carl Ricci & 706 Union Ave will perform early Sunday afternoon, and The Whiskey Rebels, a rockabilly group, will close the fair Sunday evening. Beyond music, the fair will also have an antique and classic car show Thursday, a pumpkin contest Friday, a fair parade Saturday and both pie- and corn-eating contests Sunday. There are also drawing contests and oxen shows.
Tickets are $6 Thursday and $10 Friday through Sunday. A weekend pass is $25. Senior citizens can get in for $5 Thursday and Friday, and children 12 and under get in free. Parking is also free. The fair, on the Somers fairgrounds, is open 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday; 4 to 11 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday. fourtownfair.com.
The Berlin Fair: Fairgoers may not expect clam chowder or salad shakes at a fair, but the Berlin Fair has both — plus deep-fried Oreos, roast beef sandwiches, barbecue chicken dinners and more.
There’s also a rodeo, a variety show and plenty of rides and games. The only thing happening Thursday at the Berlin Fair, 430 Beckley Road, is the demolition derby, but the full fair is open Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Gate tickets $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and free for those under 12. Early tickets can be bought online for $10; ride wristbands can be purchased for $20. There is limited free parking on-site, but a free shuttle bus running from satellite parking areas to the fair. Premium reserved parking passes can also be bought for $50 for three days. ctberlinfair.com.
The Orange Country Fair: On Friday, the truck pull (that day’s only event) starts 6 p.m. (free admission that day.) On Saturday and Sunday, check out the craft tents, the food pavilions, the exhibition hall, Chip’s famous pancake breakfast, a toddler driving contest, birds of prey, pig races, a hay-bale toss and hand-sawing contest, and more.
The fair, at 525 Orange Center Road, is open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and active military members and free for those 14 and under. Parking is free every day. orangectfair.com.
Sept. 14 to 30
The Big E: The 17-day spectacular at the Eastern States Exposition, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield, returns with all the usual and more: music from acts from around the country; traditional, new and extreme fair foods; the Circus Spectacular; midway rides, car shows, butter sculpture, street performers and daily parades; and, of course, food and livestock competitions.
Main stage performers the Marshall Tucker Band (Sept. 14) and Old Dominion (Sept. 15) perform at the Xfinity Arena, while Blessid Union of Souls (Sept. 14-16), Morris Day & the Time (Sept. 16), Max Creek (Sept. 21), Grandmaster Flash (Sept. 22), NRBQ (Sept. 23) and Jefferson Starship (Sept. 28-30) all grace the Court of Honor Stage.
If you’re interested in celebrating Connecticut, the Connecticut building on the Avenue of States, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Connecticut’s state day is Sept. 19, a Wednesday.
There will be several new foods and vendors this year (more on that later). A peek: A Belgian waffle sandwich — Neopolitan ice cream between hot, fresh thin waffles from Amy's Sweet Treats on Commonwealth Avenue; the burger bomb, a five-ounce burger with cheese, bacon, onions and sauerkraut, wrapped in pastry dough, deep fried and served in a soft corn tortilla shell, will be available from Hofbrau Joe’s in the food court.
Tickets at the gate are $15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 6 to 12 and free for those 5 and under. The 17-day value pass is $40 for adults and $20 for kids age 6 to 12.
Gate discounts include the “be a kid for a day” special on opening day, where anyone can get in for $10. Sept. 14 is also Military Appreciation Day, meaning admission is free for active duty and retired military personnel, dependents of active duty personnel and veterans. Monday through Thursday, discounted tickets are available to those 60 and older for $12. After 5 p.m., anyone can get in for the discounted rate of $6.
The gates open at 8 a.m. each day, but several attractions, including the Avenue of States, Midway and Craft Common don’t open until a bit later. Midway and other attractions close between 9 and 11 p.m. depending on the day. Check back for updates, and learn specifics at thebige.com.
Sept. 21 to 23
The Guilford Fair: A spelling bee, midway, children’s zoo and family circus, and music ranging from an AC/DC tribute band to country singer Morgan Wallen. The fair, held on the Guilford Fairgrounds, is open 1 to 11 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. $10 for adults. Those 62 and up can enter for $8, while children ages 6 to 11 can get in for $5. Those 5 and younger can get in for free. A three-day discount pass is $25, and on-site parking is $5. Those looking for free parking will be able to park in the satellite lot and ride the shuttle in, but the shuttles are not handicap-accessible. More information on ride wristbands is expected to be available in September. guilfordfair.org.
Sept. 27 to 30
Durham Fair: Billed as Connecticut’s largest fair, the Durham Fairgrounds draws the big names: This year, rock icon Melissa Etheridge will take to the main stage Friday night, and country star Scotty McCreery will perform Saturday (main stage events are included in fair admission.) A USO Show Troupe will take to the stage Sunday afternoon — Military Appreciation day — to sing a variety of pieces ranging from Broadway songs to big band, as well as some patriotic pieces. Meanwhile, on center stage each day, bands will perform everything from Bruce Springsteen tributes to reggae and honky tonk.
This year’s highlights also include a Connecticut craft beer and cider tasting, a talent show, a monster truck rally, and all the usual fair attractions.
$9 Thursday; $14 Friday through Sunday. Free for 11 and under, active military members with an ID and those in wheelchairs free. 62 and older $10 Friday through Sunday. Those who buy tickets online will get a free parking pass, but passes are otherwise $5 for a day or $10 for a weekend. There are also packages available for those interested in ride tickets and bracelets. Shuttles available. The fair is open 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. durhamfair.com.
Oct. 5 to 7
Harwinton Fair: A new equestrian ring, a mini pony pull, local bands take place at 80 Locust Road. Tickets are $6 Friday and $8 Saturday and Sunday. Children under 12 are free. The fair is open 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. harwintonfair.com.
Portland Fair: Dirty ditch mud runs, tractor and truck pulls, chainsaw-carving demos, a petting zoo and pony rides, a midway, Bwana Jim's Wildlife Show, and fireworks. The fair, on the Exchange Club Grounds, is open 5 to 11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Parking is free off-site. Tickets for adults are $10, $8 for those 65 and older and free for those under 10. Active and reserve members of the military get in free with a valid ID. portlandfair.com.
Oct. 12 to 14
Riverton Fair: Bands include the Johnny Larsen Band and Sidekick, and attractions include wood chopping and a women’s skillet toss, a midway, garden tractor pulls and judgings for dairy and oxen. The fair, at 12 Riverton Road, runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 per person, but those 12 and under can get in free. Free parking is available. rivertonfair.org