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It's That Time of Year: New England's Summer Festivals -- Connecticut

Discovery New

Every Summer New England states host some of the best festivals. Many are kid-friendly or are just for families. Some of these events are for charities, town support, or sponsored by various local business. Some this year are even free to attend!


Gardens by the Sea
June 1, 2014
Madison, Connecticut

Begins at 12 noon at the visitor information center on the Madison Town Green and wanders through 7 delightful gardens located at private homes along the shoreline until 4 p.m. (rain or shine). Tickets can be purchased in advance during the month of May at R.J. Julia’s Booksellers in Downtown Madison, Conn. Tickets can be purchased the day of the tour at the visitor information center on the Madison Town Green.

Florence Griswold Museum GardenFest
May 30 through June 13, 2014
Old Lyme, Connecticut

This annual GardenFest is a ten-day celebration of the site’s historic gardens, featuring special events, garden tours, demonstrations and family activities. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities for all ages and interest levels. Most events are free with museum admission. Visitors stand at the site of Childe Hassam’s favorite spot, stroll Miss Florence’s lovingly restored old-fashioned garden, and rest where William Chadwick posed his model for the now famous painting “On the Piazza.”

Sea Music Festival at Mystic Seaport
June 12-15, 2014
Mystic Seaport — Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic Seaport is proud to host its annual Sea Music Festival, one of the world’s premier sea music events. Thousands of people gather each year to hear Mystic Seaport’s Chantey Staff along with performers from around the globe carry on the classic musical traditions of the Golden Age of Sail. Enjoy featured music from maritime cultures around the world, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Australia, Iceland, Poland, Netherlands, France, Canada and Africa, as well as native peoples within the United States. Some performances require a ticket in lieu of museum admission.

Harwinton Antiques & Design Weekend
June 7-8, 2014
Harwinton Fairgrounds - Harwinton, Connecticut

The largest antique event in Connecticut with approximately 400 quality dealers offering an array of antiques and vintage collectibles under tents, with fine food concessions. Formerly the Farmington Antiques Weekend, this new location features more than 100 indoor vendors as well as plenty of room for outdoor vendors. This event repeats August 30-31, 2014.

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas
June 14-28, 2014
New Haven, Connecticut

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is a 15-day extravaganza of performing arts, lectures, and conversations that takes over theaters and open spaces in New Haven, Connecticut each June. More than 80% of Festival events are completely free!

Lyman Orchard's Strawberry Fest
June 14, 2014
Middletown, Connecticut

Join Lyman Orchards in celebration of strawberries, the first fruit of the season and the star attraction! The day’s activities include free tastings of strawberry treats, live music, pie eating contests, horse-drawn wagon rides and more great family fun! Come hungry and enjoy delicious strawberry treats, hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and more at Lyman Orchard’s Outdoor Grill.

Annual Travelers Golf Championship
June 16-22, 2014
Cromwell, Connecticut

This event attracts the world’s best golfers to compete for a $6 million purse, featuring exciting golf action, popular Celebrity Pro-Am, an interactive Fan Zone and family friendly events. The Championship is held at the TPC River Highlands, a par 70, 6,844-yard course in Cromwell, Connecticut, 10 miles south of Hartford.

Annual Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Days
June 22, 2014
Statewide – Connecticut

Visit one or several of fourteen historic gardens across Connecticut. Each site offers special activities emphasizing their site. Programs and fees vary; hours are noon to 4 p.m. unless noted. Visit a site or two in your area, or make a day of it and head off to explore another part of the state. See the Connecticut Historic Garden Member’s Web page for links to member sites and their activities.

Music Mountain Summer Chamber Music Festival
Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons throughout the summer|
Falls Village, Connecticut

Music Mountain in Falls Village, Connecticut, is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for intimate chamber music concerts. Gordon Hall is one of the finest chamber music halls in the country with legendary acoustics and a resonant, full-bodied sound. This summer festival season includes a 16-concert chamber music series and a Saturday twilight series of Jazz, Big Band, and Country concerts — with dancing on our outdoor dance floor! Music Mountain is located in Falls Village, Connecticut, in the northwestern corner of the state, approximately 100 miles or 2 1/2 hours from New York City.

Mystic Blues Festival
June 27-29, 2014
Mystic, Connecticut

The second Annual Mystic Blues Festival (MBF) will be held June 27, 28 & 29, 2014 at the beautiful Mystic Shipyard and will kick off the summer tourist season in Mystic. The festival showcases an array of blues legends, including Grammy winners, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and Blues Artist of the Year Award winners. MBF not only supports and promotes Blues music, but also works with the Center For Hospice Care (CFHC).

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz
July 18-20, 2014
Hartford, Connecticut

This free-of-charge festival is a world-class jazz event. More than twenty-five hours of music performed by internationally acclaimed artists. Wonderful world-class musicians in Bushnell Park. Local and regional artists will perform on the Arch Stage located in the marketplace adjacent to Trinity Street.

Old Lyme Midsummer Festival
July 25-26, 2014
Old Lyme, Connecticut

For the past 100 years artists have flocked to this town, located on a serene inlet at the mouth of the Connecticut River. Historic homes built by sea captains, an art museum, an art college, galleries, shops and delightful inns make Old Lyme one of New England’s most unique destinations. The town’s two-day Midsummer Festival takes place in the heart of Old Lyme’s historic district. As part of the events, the Florence Griswold Museum hosts Market En Plein Air, an open-air food event in a setting modeled after outdoor markets in French villages. The Bee and Thistle Inn and Spa is hosting the Shoreline Chef Competition in which four local chefs are given secret ingredients selected from Market En Plein Air vendors to compete for the winning dish. The festival also includes a dog parade, concerts and more.

Lyman Orchards Sunflower Maze
August 2 - 24, 2014
Middlefield, Connecticut

Lyman Orchards is an 1,100 acre farm in central Connecticut, located in the northwest corner of Middlesex County. Established in 1741, Lyman Orchards is the twelfth oldest family-owned business in the United States. At this special event, wander along the winding pathways of a maze of towering sunflowers. There are lots of ways to get lost, but only one exit! Your visit to the Sunflower Maze will help support the fight against pediatric cancer.

Litchfield Jazz Festival
August 8-10, 2014
Goshen Fairgrounds -- Goshen, Connecticut

The Litchfield Jazz Festival is a favorite of the public and critics alike. Check website nearer the date for the full line-up of performers. This is a rain or shine event.

Annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival
August 9-10, 2014
Historic Downtown Mystic - Mystic, Connecticut

More than 270 fine artists will exhibit oils, watercolors, photography, pastels, sculpture and acrylics along the streets of historic downtown Mystic during this annual art festival, the oldest of its kind in the northeast.

Annual Milford Oyster Festival
August 16, 2014
Milford, Connecticut

Come to the coast of Connecticut to celebrate oysters! This family-oriented festival is filled with arts and crafts, harbor activities, entertainment for all ages, colorful tents with food and beverages, a classic car show, canoe and kayak races, children’s games, and national and local entertainers. Several varieties of oysters will be sold at the festival representing some of the most prominent oyster growers on the east coast of the United States. Enjoy oysters both salty and sweet, grown from Maine to Virginia.

New Haven Open at Yale University
August 15-23, 2014
Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut

The New Haven Open is prominently featured domestically on ESPN2 and also broadcast around the world. In addition to world class tennis, the tournament offers fans a host of off-court activities including the Aetna FitZone, New Haven Food & Wine Festival, autograph sessions, live entertainment and much more.

Schemitzun: Green Corn PowWow
August 23-24, 2014
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Cultural Grounds -- Mashantucket, Connecticut

Come celebrate the rich heritage of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Join in social dances, or watch exhibition dancers and contestants move with skill and power to the ancient rhythms of a grandfather drum! Experience 17th century life in an eastern woodland village environment. Try some authentic native food favorites and shop for special Native American crafts. Free scheduled bus service departs every 30 minutes from Mashantucket Pequot Museum, MGM Grand at Foxwoods Valet, Grand Pequot Tower Bus Loop, Great Cedar Hotel Bus Loop and Two Trees Inn (see website for details).

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