Looking for weekend fun this summer? Connecticut is home to so many fairs, festivals and events. I’ve scoured all that’s happening this summer to come up with 10 not-to-miss Connecticut fairs, festivals and events. All of these feature free admission, and some also have free activities, entertainment and food samplings. Be sure to check the “more information” links to learn more about each event, and what’s offered for free.
Also, be sure to bring some cash so that you can enjoy the fee-based fun like sails, amusement rides and amazing fair food. Ready to get out for some unforgettable fun?
July 12-14, 2013 | More information
This New London sailing festival has it all: Amusement rides, entertainment, fireworks, tall ships … and a lot more. You can check out free live music, set sail on one of the boats (fee) and chow down on a lobster buffet dinner (fee). There’s also arts and crafts. This popular event draws a huge crowd.
Craft Expo 2013
July 18-21, 2013 | More information
In its 56th year, this annual arts and crafts celebration in Guilford is held on the Guilford Green. Head there to check out the many talented exhibitors and purchase some beautiful art items, jewelry and more. There’s also craft activities for kids, a food court and a silent auction benefiting the non-profit Guilford Art Center.
Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz
July 19-21, 2013 | More information
Love jazz music? Then this is an event not to miss. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy free music and a good time at this great event. You can buy food from vendors, play frisbee (bring your own!) and more while having a relaxed time at this music festival held in Bushnell Park in Hartford.
Annual Ice Cream, Blueberry & Bluegrass Bash at Fort Hill Farms
July 21, 2013 | More information
This free event has everything it says it does: bluegrass music, fresh blueberries and ice cream. It’s an afternoon shindig celebrating all of these things held at this Thompson, Connecticut, farm.
Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival
July 26-27, 2013 | More information
Looking for something a little more low-key? This Connecticut festival celebrates the artistic heritage of Old Lyme. There’s art open houses, music, a fresh market, book signings, hands-on activities for the kids and more.
SoNo Arts Celebration
August 2-4, 2013 | More information
Puppets! A children’s art playground! Music! Food! This festival in South Norwalk is a great weekend excursion for families. Enjoy amazing art, fun puppetry and more.
Mystic Outdoor Art Festival
August 10-11, 2013 | More information
In its 56th year, the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival brings together more than 270 fine artists for a professionally juried art show in the streets of downtown Mystic. The show features oils, watercolors, photos, pastels, sculptures and acrylics. Additionally, more than 60 fine crafters display their work. For children, there are art activities as well. While you are there, you can also visit historic Mystic and the Seaport.
Milford Oyster Festival
August 17, 2013 | More information
Love oysters? In it’s 39th year, the Milford Oyster Festival has grown from a small festival to a massive event that draws big crowds — and features well known bands on the main stage. This year’s event is being headlined by Blues Traveler. The entertainment is free, but you’ll want to bring cash for the fabulous seafood and fair food sold here. There’s also arts and crafts, activities and more.
Riverfront Dragon Boat & Asian Festival
August 17-18, 2013 | More information
Colorful dragon boats race on the river. There are martial arts demonstrations. Amazing food is available. This two-day event held at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza in Hartford is a bright cultural celebration.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.