Let CT's Fairs Begin: Where Are Menageries, Music And Midways?

Courant Staff Writers

From truck pulls to lumberjack shows, pig races to rodeos, Connecticut's fair season — with all its country lore and exhibition — is about to take off. There will be imaginative food combinations, midways, livestock presentations, and, of course, a slew of country music concerts.

The musical headliner of the fair season will feature Pat Benatar, of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "Love Is A Battlefield" fame, who will perform alongside her husband and longtime collaborator, Neil Giraldo, at the Durham Fair, which runs Sept. 21 to 24. They'll take the main stage at 7 p.m. on Sept. 23. Other headliners across the state include Dylan Scott, a rising country star performing Sept. 16 in Guilford; and Presley & Taylor, a sister-sister duo that will perform at the Bethlehem Fair, the Hebron Harvest Fair and the Four Town Fair.

There is also an impressive array of contests for competitive fair-goers. This year's slate of festivals has competitions in just about everything: There's the hay-bale toss and toddler driving contests in Orange, and free laser tag at the Hartford County 4-H Fair. It's not just humans, either: Border collies will chase Frisbees and dachshunds will race from the gates at the Wapping Fair in South Windsor, and pig racing every day of the Wolcott Fair, which runs Aug. 18 to 20.

The Big E introduces a new crop of indulgences to the fairgrounds: a Belgian waffle sandwich by Amy's Sweet Treats; a "burger bomb" by Hofbrau Joe's and a "flatliner burger" by the West Springfield Lions Club; pumpkin pie funnel cake by Pop n'Fresh; a barbecue brisket sundae by Porky's and waffle chicken bites by Deep South Food Company. This season's wacky fried item? Deep-fried cannoli.

New England's largest fair will also have a Michelangelo exhibit, complete with a photographed reproduction of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, and feature musical performances by such artists as Smash Mouth, Village People and Connecticut's own "American Idol" winner Nick Fradiani.

Connecticut's Fairs

Below is a list of the state's country fairs through October:

THE LEBANON COUNTRY FAIR opens Aug. 11, at 6 p.m., at 122 Mack Road, and highlights include a "Redneck" truck pull, a Miss Lebanon Fair contest and a performance by country recording artist and Rhode Island native Tim Charron.

Saturday features a performance by magician David Lawrence at 3 p.m. and a concert by Beatles tribute band Ticket to Ride at 8:30 p.m. Also taking place that day are a horseshoe tournament, a monster truck show and other events. Visit lebanoncountryfair.org for more information.

WOLCOTT FAIR, Aug. 18 to 20: 221 Nichols Road. Friday 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. $8, $6 before 4 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday), seniors $6, kids under 10 free, 3-day pass $19, free parking. wolcottfair.com.

HARTFORD COUNTY 4-H FAIR, Aug. 18 to 20: Four Town Fairgrounds, 56 Egypt Road, Somers. Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. $5; $3 for children ages 7 to 12; children 6 and under free; active military and veterans free with ID; $3 seniors 65 and over. Parking free. hartfordcounty4hfair.org.

BRIDGEWATER FAIR, Aug. 18 to 20: 100 Main St. South. Friday 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. $8 general; $6 seniors; children 12 and under are free; three day pass is $16. Parking is free. 860-354-4730, bridgewaterfair.com.

BROOKLYN FAIR, Aug. 24 to 27: 15 Fairgrounds Road. Thursday 4 to 11 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and military with ID and free for children under 12. Parking $5. brooklynfair.org.

CHESTER FAIR, Aug. 25 to 27: Kirtland Terrace, off Route 154, in Chester. Friday 6 to 11 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. $8; children 12 and under free; seniors $6; 3-day pass $21. Parking free. chesterfair.org.

TERRYVILLE LIONS FAIR, Aug. 25 to 27: Terryville Fairgrounds, Town Hill Road. Friday 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday $8; seniors $6; Saturday and Sunday $9; seniors $7; kids under 10 free; 3-day pass $22, 2-day pass (Saturday and Sunday) $15. Parking free. terryvillefair.org.

HADDAM NECK FAIR, Sept. 1 to 4: 26 Quarry Hill Road. Friday 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Monday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. $8; seniors (ages 65 and over) $7; kids under 12 are free; weekend pass $20; senior/military weekend pass $18; free parking. haddamneckfair.com.

WOODSTOCK FAIR, Sept. 1 to 4: Woodstock Fairgrounds, 281 Route 169. Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Monday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. $12; seniors (65 and over) and military with ID $8; kids under 10 free. Parking $5. woodstockfair.com.

GOSHEN FAIR, Sept. 2 to 4: 116 Old Middle St. Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. $10, seniors $5 (Saturday only), kids under 12 free; free parking. goshenfair.org.

HEBRON HARVEST FAIR, Sept. 7 to 10: Hebron Lions Fairgrounds, Route 85, 347 Gilead Road. Thursday 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday noon to midnight.; Saturday 9 a.m. to midnight.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; $6.50 on Thursday, $13 Friday through Sunday; seniors (65 and over) free before 4 p.m. on Friday; kids under 12 are free. Parking $5 (free before 5 p.m. Thursday and before 4 p.m. Friday). hebronharvestfair.org.

WAPPING FAIR, Sept. 7 to 10: 75 Brookfield St., South Windsor. Thursday 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free Thursday; adults and kids over 57 inches $8; seniors (65+) and military with ID $4; kids under 57 inches free; $1 off with donation of non-perishable food item Sunday. wappingfair.org.

NORTH HAVEN FAIR, Sept. 7 to 10: North Haven Fairgrounds, 290 Washington Avenue. Thursday 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday 3 to 11 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; $5 Thursday, $10 Friday through Sunday, seniors $5 (Sunday only), kids under 12 are free. Parking is free. northhaven-fair.com.

BETHLEHEM FAIR, Sept. 8 to 10: 384 Main St. North. Friday 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. $9 adults; $7 seniors (65 and older) Saturday and Sunday only; free for children under 12; three-day pass is $18. bethlehemfair.com.

FOUR TOWN FAIR, Sept. 14 to 17: Somers Fairgrounds, 56 Egypt Road. Thursday 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, $6; Friday, Saturday, Sunday, $10; weekend pass $25; children 12 and under free. Seniors $5 Thursday and Friday. Parking is free. fourtownfair.com.

THE BIG E: Sept. 15 to Oct. 1: Eastern States Exposition, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. Gates open at 8 a.m.; most exhibits and buildings are open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. $15; $10 children 6 to 12; 5 and under free. Advance discounts available online. Parking $10. thebige.com.

GUILFORD FAIR, Sept. 15 to 17: Guilford Fairgrounds, 111 Lovers Lane. Friday 1 to 11 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.: $10; seniors $8; kids 6 to 11 $5; kids under 5 free; 3-day pass $25; parking $5. guilfordfair.org.

ORANGE COUNTRY FAIR, Sept. 16 to 18: 525 Orange Center Road. Friday, 6 p.m. to end of truck pull; Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: $7, seniors $5, kids under 15 are free, Friday is free. Parking is free. orangectfair.com.

DURHAM FAIR, Sept. 21 to 24: 24 Town House Road, Durham. Thursday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. $9 on Thursday, $14 Friday through Sunday. Children 11 and under are free. Parking is $5 each day, $10 for the weekend. durhamfair.com.

BERLIN FAIR, Sept. 15 to 17: 430 Beckley Road, East Berlin. Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. $12, $8 for seniors and free for children under 11. ctberlinfair.com.

HARWINTON FAIR, Oct. 6 to 8: Harwinton Agricultural Society, Locust Road. Friday 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. $8, kids under 12 are free; free parking. harwintonfair.com.

PORTLAND FAIR, Oct. 6 to 8: The Exchange Club Fairgrounds, Route 17A. Friday 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adults $10; seniors $8; children under 10 free; military with ID free. Parking free. portlandfair.com.

RIVERTON FAIR, Oct. 13 through 15: Route 20, Riverton. Friday, 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. $6 per person; children 12 and under are free. Free parking. rivertonfair.org

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