August Fairs and Festivals in Connecticut

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This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of Connecticut Magazine.
As we head into summer’s home stretch, here are outdoor festivals around the state to take you through the dog days and into the Labor Day weekend.
All information is subject to change. Check with event coordinators for more details, rain dates and other up-to-date information. If you have additions or corrections for this directory, please email gmoody@connecticutmag.com

 

Aug. 9-11


Festa 2018 Italian Festival, Holy Rosary Church, Ansonia, holyrosaryansonia.org/festa — If a generous selection of some of the best Italian food and desserts around isn’t enough for you, there will also be rides, a cash raffle and live entertainment. Thu.-Sat. 5-10 p.m.; free admission


Aug. 9-12


Podunk Bluegrass Festival, Hebron Fairgrounds, Hebron, podunkbluegrass.com — More than four days of bluegrass competitions, workshops and some of the best regional and national bands on the festival’s two stages. Kids’ activities and hotel and camping options will be available. Gates open at 1 p.m. Wed. for early-bird campers; tickets range from one-day general admission to premium camping packages


Aug. 10-12


Lebanon Country Fair, Lebanon Fairgrounds, Lebanon, lebanoncountryfair.org — Back for its 58th year with agricultural events, musical entertainment (popular swing and R&B band Eight to the Bar performs Sunday afternoon), monster trucks and, of course, visits from fair favorite Bella the Clown. Fri. 6-10 p.m., Sat. 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; daily admission: $10-$11, seniors $9, under 12 and military free


Aug. 11


Blues and BBQ Festival, Waterfront Park, New London, downtownnewlondonassociation.com — Enjoy some rockin’ live blues while sampling the menus of multiple barbecue food trucks. 6-10 p.m.; free admission

Woofstock, Town Green, Branford, woofstockonthebranfordgreen.org — This festival fundraiser for the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter will include live music, a raffle and a “hippie dog” costume contest, and will be preceded by a “woofwalk” for people and pets at 11 a.m. Noon-6 p.m.; $5 suggested donation at admission


Aug. 11-12


Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, Downtown Mystic, mysticchamber.org — The work of hundreds of artists will be featured during this two-day festival, which bills itself as the oldest and one of the largest in the Northeast region. Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; free admission

Shoreline Wine Festival, Bishop’s Orchards, Guilford, shorelinewinefestival.com — Taste various vintages from Connecticut’s wineries against a backdrop of live music and entertainment, with expert-led wine seminars, local vendors, and food available for purchase. Noon-7 p.m.; tickets $35-$70 per day, or $10 for designated drivers


Aug. 12


Sunflower Stroll Main Street Block Party, Main Street, Groton, griswoldyfs.com — The borough of Jewett City hosts a day of music, food trucks and family fun, with Sinatra impersonator The Sounds of Frank and a water slide on Main Street. 2-8 p.m.; free admission


Aug. 17-19


Bridgewater Country Fair, Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department, bridgewaterfair.com — All food is prepared by the Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department, which hosts the annual ag fair as its main fundraising event. Opening ceremonies and the annual parade start Friday at 6:30 p.m. Fri. 4-11 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; admission: $8, seniors $6, 12 and under free. 3-day pass $16. Free parking

Hamburg Fair, Lyme Grange Fairgrounds, Lyme, hamburgfair.org — Features contests from quilting to baking to horse and oxen pulls, plus live music “from country to pop, fiddlers to funk.” Fri. 5-10:30 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; general admission $7, senior and military discount, under 12 free

Wolcott Country Fair, Lions Club grounds, Wolcott, wolcottfair.com — This year’s festival will introduce a new section called the Arena, with barrel racing, tug-of-war competitions and more. Each day will have musical entertainment from popular local bands: Friday is Fun Night, Saturday is blues, and Sunday is ’70s music. Fri. 4-10 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; free admission


Aug. 18


Bristol Summer Festival, Rockwell Park, Bristol, westendbristol.org — Bristol’s West End Association, a nonprofit group of residents and businesses, hosts this annual celebration. Past events have included a car show, skateboard tournament, live music and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free admission

Milford Oyster Festival, Milford Harbor, Milford, milfordoysterfestival.org — Eddie Money and John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band headline this year’s festival, which also will feature a canoe and kayak race, classic car show — and more than 20 varieties of oysters from eight states. Free shuttle services will be available at Jonathan Law High School and the Connecticut Post Mall. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free admission

The Paddle Faster Bluegrass Festival, Hilltop Farm, Suffield, paddlefastermusic.com — Back for a second year, this is a small event jam-packed with top-notch bluegrass acts such as Bend in the River and Mamma’s Marmalade. 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; tickets $30 in advance

Riverfront Dragon Boat & Asian Festival, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, Hartford riverfront.org — This celebration of Asian culture, food, dance and more bills itself as “one of the top 10 Dragon Boat festivals in the United States,” and will also include an Asian beer garden and a martial arts expo. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; free admission for spectators


Aug. 18-19


Naugatuck Police Food Truck Festival, Naugatuck Event Center, Naugatuck, On Facebook — The Naugatuck Police Union will host about a dozen food trucks to benefit the Naugatuck Youth Services “Back to School Block Party,” which provides school supplies to underprivileged kids. Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; free admission

Aug. 19


Taste of the Shoreline, Town Green, Guilford, shorelinechamberct.com — Bring a picnic blanket and sample foods from more than 20 local restaurants and bakeries. Noon-5 p.m.; free admission


Aug. 23-26


Brooklyn Fair, Brooklyn Fairgrounds, Brooklyn, brooklynfair.org — One of Connecticut’s smallest towns is the host to one of its biggest annual agricultural fairs. For four days, from Aug. 23-26, the grounds at the Brooklyn Fair will be packed with livestock and educational exhibits, contests and carnival rides (including a playland with a full schedule of free events for the kiddos). Country acts Canaan Smith and Diamond Rio are among the headliners on the concert stage. Admission hours are Thu. 4-11 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; $10 regular admission, seniors and military $8 and under 12 free ($5 parking fee).


Aug. 24-26


Chester Fair, Chester Fairgrounds, Chester, chesterfair.org — A traditional New England ag fair with plenty of contests and exhibits (this year’s educational theme is the friendly neighborhood bat). Musical acts include the Cole Morson Band, Plywood Cowboys, Coyote River Band and more. Fri. 6-11 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; general admission $8, seniors $6, 3-day pass $21, 12 & under free; free parking

Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival, Norton Park, Plainville, plainvillefireco.com — One of the largest remaining festivals of its kind for balloon enthusiasts and spectators, capped off by a spectacular fireworks display and hosted by the Plainville Fire Department. Fri. 6-10 p.m., Sat. 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 6-9 a.m.; free admission

Terryville Lions Country Fair, Terryville Fairgrounds, Plymouth, terryvillefair.org — The Terryville Lions are hosting the 70th annual fair, which will include a demolition derby, truck and tractor pulls, magic acts, “Legends” celebrity musical impersonators and more. Fireworks shows Friday and Saturday nights start around 9:45 p.m. Fri. 4-11 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; general admission: $8-$9, senior discounts and multi-day passes available, children 10 and under free. Free parking.


Aug. 25


New London Pride Festival, Ocean Beach Park, New London, newlondonpride.com — Festival-goers can play volleyball, get a makeover at the Diva Center and enjoy performances by the Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus and the Boston Circus Guild. Pre- and post-festival events will take place around town Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Begins at noon; free admission

New London Food Truck Festival, Waterfront Park, New London, downtownnewlondonassociation.com — Grab an order and enjoy the live music at either City or Custom House pier. Free face painting and balloon animals for the kids. 6-9 p.m.; free admission

Summerfest & Fireworks, Pierson School & Town Beach, Clinton, clintonct.com — Enjoy a beer garden, dancing to live music and family fun and games at the Pierson School; then it’s more music at the beach at 7 p.m. and fireworks shortly after 9. 4-10 p.m.; free admission


Aug. 26


Open Air Market, Wadsworth Mansion, Middletown, wadsworthmansion.com — The grounds of the Wadsworth Mansion become an enormous marketplace for Connecticut food and craft vendors. Have a picnic lunch while enjoying live music from the patio. Tours of the mansion and estate will be conducted all day. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free admission

Stratford Downtown Market, Main Street & Colonial Square Plaza, Stratford, downtownmarket-ct.com — Explore downtown Stratford as you peruse the dozens of artists and crafters who will take part in this year’s juried show. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free admission


Aug. 31-Sept. 3


Haddam Neck Fair, Haddam Fairgrounds, Haddam, haddamneckfair.com — Highlights of this year’s fair include a 5K road race, beard contest, skillet-throwing contest and an extreme Jeep rock-climbing show. Gates open Fri. 4 p.m. and Sat.-Mon. 7:30 a.m.; general admission: $10, weekend pass $25, military and senior discounts, under 12 free. Free parking

Woodstock Fair, Woodstock Fairgrounds, Woodstock, woodstockfair.com — Tons of rides, contests and agricultural exhibits, plus a lineup of nationally known performers including Wilson Phillips, Billy Gilman, Scotty McCreery and former Journey frontman Steve Augeri. Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Mon. 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; admission: $12, senior & military discounts, under 10 free; parking fee: $5
This article appeared in the August 2018 issue of Connecticut Magazine. Did you like what you read? You can subscribe here.