Summer's Outdoor Festivals: Where's The Music, Arts, Food, Beer And Wine?

The summer may be too short in Connecticut, but it's jammed with festivals celebrating culture and the arts, beer, blues and barbecue, Shakespeare, strawberries and sailing — anything to get us outdoors. Check back for updates and additions.


Black-eyed & Bluesfest: June 17 at Bushnell Park, Hartford. Performances by Grayson Hugh & the Moon Hawks, the N. E. Blues Harmonica Showcase, the Danny Draher Band, Jeff Pitchell & Texas Flood, Funky Dawgz Brass Band, the Alchemystics and 7 Below, plus food and craft beers. 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Free.

Strawberry Festival: June 17, Lyman Orchards, Middlefield. A day of outdoor family fun and food, celebrating Lyman's fresh-grown strawberries and treats from the Apple Barrel. Activities include strawberry picking, music on the Apple Barrel deck, pie-eating contests, pony rides, face painting and more. Plus breakfast on the deck, hotdogs and burgers at the outdoor grill. Starts at 8 a.m.

Summer Arts Festival: June 17 and 18, Essex Town Green Presented by Arts Center Killingworth and Spectrum Gallery in Centerbrook. Discover the work of many artists and artisans from Connecticut, New England and the tri-state region. Representational and abstract painters will be working in oil, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media collage as well as photographers, potters, glass, fabric artisans and jewelry designers using sterling and silver, copper and semi-precious stones. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Connecticut Irish Festival: June 24 and 25, North Haven Fairgrounds, 290 Washington Ave. (Route 5). Road race, dart tournament, music including a performance by Nick Fradiani, dancing, feis, ceili, cultural activities, food, baking contest, Mass. Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. $15 until 5 p.m., $20 after 5 p.m., ages 12 and younger free.

Hartford Latino Fest: June 24 (Rain date June 25) in Noon to 9 p.m. at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Blvd. Music, dancing, games, food, vendors, family activities. Free admission.

River Jam: June 23 and 24 at Mystic Shipyard, 100 Essex St., Mystic. A two-day music festival showcasing music from rock to reggae, blues to country. Bands slated to play include Chris MacKay and the Toneshifters, Wooly Mammoth, Sunday Gravy, Chris Barnes and the Brethren of Blues, The Troublemakers, and Green Tea. Beverages and food will be available for purchase on site from Brick & Basil, Ocean Blue Catering and Levine Distributors. (No outside food or beverage allowed.) Parking on-site. Friday 6 to 10 p.m.; Saturday 3 to 10 p.m. $10, $15.

Barnumpalooza at Seaside Park: June 24 at Seaside Park, 1 Barnum Dyke, Bridgeport. Food trucks, live entertainment and carnival rides for kids. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Bridgeport Symphony at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m. Free.

Still River Music Festival: June 24 at the Riverton Fair Grounds, 16 Riverton Road, Riverton. Music by Flipper Dave, the Joey Sexton Band, Soul Tsunami, the Plural of Ruckus, the Kazoo Crew, Murderess Chanteuse, Scarlet and more, plus a beer garden, karaoke barn, arts and crafts tent and food. 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. $12.

Two Roads Road Jam Music Festival: June 24 at Two Roads Brewing Company, 1700 Stratford Ave., Stratford. Musical lineup of seven bands and food for purchase from local food trucks. $35 admission includes one free pint; $22 for designated drivers. 21+ event. 2 to 9:30 p.m.,

Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire: Weekends through July 2, Warsaw Park, 119 Pulaski Highway in Ansonia. Costumed characters, comedy, games, stage shows, magic, food. Admission is $16 (15+), $12 veterans, seniors, Peace Corps and disabled, $11 ages 10 to 14, $6 children ages 5 to 9, free for 5 and younger.

Sunken Garden Poetry Festival: June 21 to Aug. 16 at Hill-Stead Musem, 35 Mountain Road in Farmington. Poetry readings by Billy Collins (June 21), Jamaal May and Tarfia Faizullah (July 9), Cornelius Eady (July 19), Mark Doty and Eileen Myles (Aug. 6) and Ocean Vuong (Aug. 16).

Eugene O'Neill Theater Center Summer Season:June 16 through Aug. 12 on the grounds of 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford. Public performances of works in progress in several different theater disciplines. Performance dates: Puppetry Conference 16 and 17, National Music Theater Conference June 24 through July 14, National Playwrights Conference July 5-29 and Cabaret Conference Aug. 2 to 12.

Talcott Mountain Festival: June 30 to July 28 at the Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows, Simsbury. Music director Carolyn Kuan leads the Hartford Symphony Orchestra through celebrations of American music (June 30) and film composer John Williams and Looney Tunes (July 21). Pops! takes on the Beatles (July 7), Bowie (July 14) and Broadway (July 28). Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. $25-$40 per event.


Shakespeare in the Arboretum: Flock Theatre presents two Shakespeare plays — "The Tempest" (in July) and "Richard II" (in August) — outdoors in the Connecticut College Arboretum, 270 Mohegan Ave., New London. Exact dates yet to be announced. $15, $12 students, seniors and military. 860-443-3119,

Rose Arts Festival: July 1, Chelsea Parade green, Norwich, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., then moving downtown from 6 to 11 p.m. at Billy Wilson's, Strange Brew and Harp & Dragon. During the day, art displays, entertainment, kid zone, food trucks, 5K run, 10K run. At night, live music by Frank Viele, Seth Adam, Daphne Lee Martin, Matt Hamilton, Kala Farnham, Glenn Kendzie, Trevor Giles, Melaena Band, Jeremiah Hazed, Evolfo, Easy on the Mayo, Fleet Music, Jamais Vu.

Riverfront Food Truck Festival: July 6 to 8 at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Blvd., Hartford. Live entertainment, family activities, food trucks. Food vendors include Bear's Smokehouse BBQ, Ben & Jerry's, Bricins Festival Foods, Chompers, Ice Cream Time, Jay R Thai & Chinese, Joe's Yellow Sub Machine, Maui Wowie, Mike's Concessions, New Haven Pizza Truck, Poutine Gourmet, The Rolling Dish, Request A Chef, Quick Bites. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free.

New England Balloon Festival: July 7 to 9, Goshen Fairgrounds, 116 Old Middle St. Five balloon launches over three days; two balloon glows Friday and Saturday at sunset; tethered rides; live music, a made-in-New-England shopping festival; food trucks and craft beer; an auto and power spots swap meet; and kids activities including carnival rides, bounce houses and more. Hours: 2 to 10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Camping passes available. Tickets start at $5. More information:

Sailfest: July 7 to 9 on the New London waterfront. Tall ships, music, rides, vendors, children's entertainment. Fireworks display on Saturday night. Friday noon to 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Norwalk International Cultural Exchange Festival: July 8 at Oyster Shell Park, North Water St., Norwalk. Multicultural music on two stages by American Roots, D-Tay Musical Band, River City Slim and the Zydeco Hogs, Orquesta Afinke, Funky Dawgz Brass Band, the Steel Wheels and others, plus dance, arts and crafts and kite-flying. 12 to 8 p.m. Free.

Connecticut Ballet Dance Caravan: July 9 to 29. Classical and modern dance performances. July 9, 7:30 p.m. at Ives Concert Park, Danbury; $10, $5 children; July 22, 6:30 p.m. at Elizabeth Park Conservancy's Rose Garden Lawn, 1561 Asylum Ave., West Hartford; free; July 25, 8 p.m. at Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, 40 Jesup Road, Westport; free; July 29, 7:30 p.m. at Middlesex Community College's Chapman Hall, 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown; free;

Monday Night Jazz In Bushnell Park: July 10 to Aug. 14 at Bushnell Park, Hartford. Performances by the Paul Brown Big Band (July 10), Little Johnny Rivero (July 17), Joanne Bracken Trio (July 24), Silvia Cuenca Organ Quintet (July 31), Clifton Anderson (Aug. 7), and Darius Jones (Aug. 14), plus opening acts. 6 p.m. Free.

Shakespeare in the Grove: July 12 to 23. Shakespeare's "Hamlet," presented by ArtFarm in the Cedar Grove on the Middlesex Community College campus, 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown. Wednesday through Sunday at 8 p.m. Free. 860-346-4390,

Greater Hartford Shakespeare Festival: July 13 to 30. A production of Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost," with special pre-show events. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p,m. Pre-show entertainment includes entertainment from Youth in Community Arts on Thursdays, The Elizabethan Consort and Ben & Jerry's ice cream on Fridays, local music groups and "Prize Night" on Saturdays and the "Professor Series" of lectures on Sundays. Picnicking allowed; there ares also foods and beverages available for purchase. $15, $10 students and seniors.

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz: July 14 to 16, Bushnell Park in Hartford. Artists scheduled to perform include Nelson Garcia, Aziza Miller, Dexter Pettaway Sr., Sez Zion Jazz Band, Fo/Mo/Deep, Groove Project, Side Street, Decades By Dezyne, The Funky Dawgz Brass Band, Toscha Comeaux featuring Rene Toledo, Donald Harrison and Jazz & Strings. Free admission.

Soupstock Music and Arts Fest: July 10 to 11 at Veterans Memorial Park, Shelton. Live music by the Skatalites, Particle, Bella's Bartok, Elise Testone, Yes Darling and more, plus art, food and shopping. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. $15 admission per day.

Willimantic 3rd Thursday Street Fest: Every third Thursday through September (June 15, July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 21), Main Street, Willimantic. Five stages simultaneously host a wide variety of music and entertainment while over 100 vendors showcase a variety of handcrafted goods and services. Locally produced artwork, beer, music and soda. Street performers and free children's activities. 6 to 9 p.m. Free parking, free admission.

Guilford Art Center Annual Craft Expo: July 14 to 16, on the Guilford green. Friday noon to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Wide selection of handmade crafts by 180 artists, as well as craft demos, a silent auction, live music, a family art tent, and food, beer and wine. $9, $7 seniors, $15 for multiday ticket, free for members, active military and children younger than 12.

Blueberry Fest: July 15, Lyman Orchards, Middlefield. Come blueberry picking (we'll also have raspberries and jostaberries), plus family-oriented activities at the Apple Barrel including pony rides and face painting. Music on the Apple Barrel deck and sweet berry treats including fresh-made ice cream and hot food from the outdoor grill.

Celebrate East Lyme: July 15, Niantic's Main Street. A celebration by the sea, filled with food, fun and activities for the whole family. More than 200 unique creative, community & business vendors, live music and performance stages and so much more. 3 to 9 p.m. Free.

Green River Festival: July 14 through 16, Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, Mass. Music, local food, beer and wine, handmade craft fair, family games and activities. Musical lineup includes The Mavericks, Big Al Anderson, The Sweetback Sisters, Lake Street Drive, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Funky Meters, Madam Uncle and Sweet Crude. Friday, 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Three day pass: $119.99. Two-day pass: $109.99. one-day-pass: $34.99 (Friday), $64.99 (Saturday or Sunday). Weekend camping pass: $169.99.

Westport Fine Arts Festival: July 15 and 16, Main Street in Westport. Scores of artists working in painting, watercolor, photography, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, mixed media, glass, ceramics, jewelry, wood and digital art. The festival takes place rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to Saturday and Sunday. Free admission and parking.

Connecticut Wine Festival: July 22 and 23 at the Goshen Fairgrounds, 116 Old Middle St. (Route 63), Goshen. Tastings of Connecticut wines from 16 local wineries, samples of locally produced specialty foods, live music and craft displays. Food available for purchase. Live Grape Stomp happens Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m. The festival runs from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $27 before July 15, then $35 after. 860-216-6439,

Powder Ridge Beer Fest: July 29 at Powder Ridge Park, 99 Powder Hill Road, Middlefield. Beer sampling from more than 20 breweries, home brew contest, lift rides, keg toss, live music, craft and vendor village and food for purchase. 3:30 to 9 p.m. $24 in advance and $29 day of event; $15 designated drivers. 866-860-0208,

New England Food Truck Festival: July 29 and 30, Eastern States Fairgrounds, 1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield. 50-plus food trucks, live music and family fun. Noon to 9 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. $5 general admission, free for children under 6.

Old Lyme Midsummer Festival: July 29 at Florence Griswold Museum, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts & Lyme Art Association, all on Lyme Street. Open air market, artisan fair, outdoor concerts, author talks, sidewalk sales. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Shakespeare Academy at Stratford: July 29 through Aug. 6. Outdoor performances of two Shakespeare plays, "Measure for Measure" and "The Tempest," on the grounds of the American Shakespeare Theater, 1850 Elm St., Stratford. Free.

Milford Arts Council's 39th Annual Sand Sculpture Competition: July 30, Walnut Beach, Milford. Bring a picnic, your beach blanket, pails and shovels, and create anything from huge lobsters to mermaids. Awards, trophies and ribbons to be awarded in various categories. All ages. Registration is free. Parking for nonresidents is $15. Registration, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; sand sculpting, noon to 4:30 p.m.; judging at 4:30. 878-6647,


North Branford Potato and Corn Festival: Aug. 4 to 6, Auger Field, Route 22, North Branford. Midway with rides, food vendors, craft vendors, potato sack races, corn shucking contests, tractor pulls and a classic car show. Music, fireworks and more. Friday, 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free admission. Free off-site parking with shuttles; $10 or $15 for limited on-site parking.

Taste of the Caribbean & Jerk Festival: Aug. 5 at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Blvd., Hartford. Caribbean cuisine and beverages, costumes and dance, island rhythms and entertainment and children's activities. Hours are 1 to 11 p.m. Rain date Aug. 6.

Litchfield Jazz Festival: Aug. 5 to 6, Goshen Fairgrounds, 116 Old Middle St. Lineup includes Ada Rovatti Quartet, Michael Mayo Quintet, Julian Shore Quintet, Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet, Ken Peplowski's Benny Goodman Tribute, LJO Plays Carly Simon And Carole King with guest Brandon Goldberg, Joe Alterman Trio, Rudresh Mahanthappa Indo-Pak Coalition, and John Pizzarelli Quartet Plays Sinatra And Jobim. Saturday noon to midnight, Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets range from $37 (single-day lawn) to $500 (backstage pass).

Podunk Bluegrass Festival: Aug. 10 to 13 at the Hebron Lions Agricultural Fairground, 347 Gilead St., Hebron. Music on two stages by Rhonda Vincent, the Gibson Brothers, Boxcars, Surly Gentlemen, Chasing Blue, Cardinal Tradition, Barefoot Movement, Mile Twelve, Becky Buller and more, plus a band competition. Camping available. $8-$500.

Shoreline Wine Festival: Aug. 12 and 13, Bishop's Orchards Farm Market & Winery, 1355 Boston Post Road. Connecticut wines, fine foods and music. Tours and wine seminars available. $30 to $35; VIP, $60 to $70; designated driver, $10. Additional charge for food. Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Mystic Outdoor Art Festival: Aug. 12 and 13, downtown Mystic. More than 250 artists working in all media, children's art park, food. Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Elm Shakespeare Company: Aug. 17 through Sept. 3. Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" outdoors in Edgerton Park, 75 Cliff St., New Haven. Free. 203-392-8882,

Milford Oyster Festival: Aug. 19, downtown Milford. Shellfish festival in its 43rd year features 35,000 oysters and clams from the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association. Food for purchase, craft beer garden, oyster shucking and eating competitions, children's entertainment, schooner cruises and live music by Blackberry Smoke, Artimus Pyle Band and DizzyFish. Free admission. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Riverfront Dragon Boat & Asian Festival: Aug. 19 at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Blvd., Hartford. Dragon boat races and Asian festival with cultural performances, kids' activities and Asian food vendors. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Peach Fest: Aug. 19, Lyman Orchards, Middlefield. A day picking peaches in the country with music, food and bushels of outdoor activities for all ages. Enjoy delicious peach treats at the Apple Barrel; go peach and blueberry picking in the orchards; visit the Apple Barrel for cider doughnuts, treats at the outdoor grill and lots of fresh-baked pies. Pony rides, fun family activities, face-painting for children and more.

Plainville Hot Air Festival: Aug. 25, 26 and 27, Norton Park, 72 Norton Trail, Plainville. The festival opens Friday at 5 p.m. with live music from 6 to 9:45 p.m. and fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Balloon glows from dusk to just before the fireworks. On Saturday the festival opens at 6 a.m. with a balloon launch, followed by a craft fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; a classic car show from noon to 5 p.m.; a balloon launch at 6 p.m. and live entertainment from noon until 10 p.m. Sunday opens with the final balloon launch at 6 a.m. and closes at 9 a.m. Except during balloon launches, there is no public parking, at the park. (Handicapped and motorcycle parking is permitted.) Parking is at Robertson Airport, Carling Switch and Plainville High School. Buses run from all three locations throughout the festival.

Renascence Arts Festival: Aug. 26 and 27 at Wild Bill's, 1003 Newfield Ave. in Middletown. Artists, poets, dancers, musicians and performers.


St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church's Annual Odyssey Greek Festival: Sept. 1 to 4, 480 Racebrook Road, Orange. Friday through Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. and Monday, noon to 7 p.m. Free admission.

CT Hops For Hope: Sept. 2, Falcon Field, 721 Farmington Ave., New Britain. Intimate brewfest with 100 percent of proceeds to benefit the Smith-Magenis Syndrome Research Foundation. Food for purchase from food trucks. $79 for VIP, $55 for general admission, $50 per person for groups of 8 or more, $15 for designated drivers. Ticket sales dates to be announced. 21+ event; ID is required. The festival runs from 1 to 5 p.m.

Blues, Views & BBQ Festival: Sept. 2 and 3 at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts and Westport Library, 40 Jesup Road, Westport. Live music by 20 bands including Galactic, Deep Banana Blackout, Bonerama, Paul Barrere & Fred Tackett, the New Orleans Suspects, Taz and Friends and Anders Osborne, plus food vendors, a barbecue competition, bacon hoedown, a bounce park and more. Gates open at 10 a.m. $5-$70.

Norwalk Oyster Festival: Sept. 8 to 10 at Veterans Park, 42 Seaview Ave., Norwalk. Live music, food booths, barbecue vendors, demos, crafts and competitions. And oysters, lots and lots of oysters. 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. $5-$12 daily.

Connecticut Folk Festival and Green Expo: Sept. 9 at Edgerton Park, 75 Cliff St., New Haven. Music by Livingston Taylor, the Ballroom Thieves, Kate Callahan, Greg Cornell and the Cornell Brothers, the End of America, Forlorn Strangers, Ladybird, Steven Pelland, the Promise is Hope, Amy Soucy and Roger Sprung, plus food and family-friendly activities. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free.

Brass City Brew Fest: Sept. 9, Library Park, Waterbury. Tastings of more than 250 domestic and international beers, food, live music, seminars, prizes. General admission 1 to 5 p.m.; tickets $35 in advance. VIP noon to 5 p.m.; tickets $45 in advance. Belgian, international, rare beers tent $10 extra.

Newtown Arts Festival: Sept. 15 to 17, Fairfield Hills Campus, 3 Primrose St. in Newtown. Friday 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with theater, improv, dance, art, music, food vendors. $5, $3 children ages 6 to 12, free for children younger than 5. On Sept. 15, Sawyer Fredericks, winner of Season 8 of "The Voice," will perform. Tickets $20 to $35.

Small State Great Beer: Sept. 16, Constitution Plaza, Hartford. Highlighting Connecticut breweries, with live bands and food trucks. 5 p.m. Ticketing information available July 1.

Greenwich Wine and Food Festival: Sept. 22 and 23, Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, Greenwich. Fine dining and musical performances to benefit The Friends of James Beard Benefits and the Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation. Events, including a Master Chef Wine Dinner Friday night and a Grand Tasting Saturday, feature celebrity chefs and culinary personalities Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli and Adam Richman. Big Head Todd and the Monsters headline the musical lineup. Tickets start at $150 for Saturday day pass. Saturday's events run from noon to 10 p.m.

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