THIRD THURSDAYS: Stroll along Main Street, Willimantic and enjoy music, theatre, food, and more. Five stages offer a variety of music and entertainment while over 100 vendors present a variety of handcrafted goods and services. Free and open to public on the third Thursday of the month running May through September. Willimantic Street Festivals, Main St., Willimantic; willimanticstreetfest.com; 860-450-0918
FIRST FRIDAY: From May to October, Downtown Putnam will be filled with art, music, crafts and costumes spanning from the wonders of the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre to the thrills and chills of the Horror film genre. Each month will offer something new to see, hear, and experience. First Fridays, Downtown Putnam; www.discoverputnam.com; 860-887-2789
22ND ANNUAL VIRTU ART FESTIVAL: A fine arts and crafts festival featuring the works of 185 selected artisans from around the country. Live entertainment in 3 areas and a Creation Station are for children with free make-it and take-it activities. May 26 &27 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wilcox Park, 45 Broad Street Westerly, RI; www.oceanchamber.org; 401-596-7761.
KICKOFF TO SUMMER: Welcome summer with Stonington Vineyard’s Kick Off to Summer party, May 19-20, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. There will be music, wine tastings and food trucks. Parking is free; normal tasting fees apply. Stoningtonvineyards.com; 860-535-1222.
VICTORIAN DAYS: Travel back in time to the Victorian era at the Prospect Hill Historic District in Willimantic. Visitors can view Victorian mansions, hear lectures on architecture and culture, enjoy a live performance by a brass band, and more. June 1 – 3. victorianwillimantic.org
SUN BBQ FEST: Enjoy finger licking fun with BBQ battles, live entertainment, Sam Adams and Tito’s Vodka trailers, and more. This year’s Sun BBQ Fest will take place on June 2 & 3. mohegansun.com/sun-bbqfest.html
SEA MUSIC FESTIVAL: Join Mystic Seaport during its 39th annual Sea Music Festival, where fans gather to hear the Museum’s chantey staff and world renowned musicians perform music from the Age of Sail. Daytime concerts, workshops, and the Symposium are included with Museum admission. Mystic Seaport, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic; mysticseaport.org; (860) 572-5331
GARDENFEST: Visitors to the Museum understand immediately the appeal to the artists who stayed at the boardinghouse a century ago. The house, gardens, and river view were favored subjects of her artistic boarders. This ten-day celebration of the museum’s most popular Spring event kicks off with a Garden Luncheon on June 8. Visitors can tour the gardens outside and see the stunning, art-inspired floral arrangements inside the museum as part of their Blooms with a View program running June 8 - 10. GardenFest will be run from June 8 – 17, and most events are family friendly and free with museum admission. Florence Griswold Museum 6 Lyme St., Old Lyme; florencegriswoldmuseum.org; (860) 434-5542.
TASTE OF MYSTIC: Enjoy a day sampling food from the area’s best restaurants while listening to live bands from around the region. Admission and parking are free, and tickets for food and beverage are $1 each. Taste of Mystic runs from June 8 to June 10. tasteofmystic.com
CONNECTICUT FAMILY FESTIVAL: This free event takes place at New London’s Waterfront Park on June 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and celebrates art, music, storytelling, boating, and the environment. There will be touch tanks, opportunities to tour boats and free sailing lessons by New England Science and Sailing; as well as author readings, music, food and plenty of children’s activities.
CONNECTICUT’S HISTORIC GARDENS DAY: Spend the day celebrating the beautiful and historic gardens around the state. Member sites host special events and activities celebrating their gardens. Choose the gardens in your own backyard, or plan a daytrip to see those further from home. June 24 noon – 4p.m., rain or shine. Cthistoricgardens.org
JUNETEENTH: Join the Norwich NAACP in its 30th annual celebration of the end of American slavery at this waterfront event. Enjoy food, music, artisans, crafts, vendors and entertainment. Admission and parking are free. June 16, noon – 6 p.m. norwichjuneteenth.com
THE WOODENBOAT SHOW: This three-day show offers something for all wooden boat enthusiasts and marine history buffs, with over 100 boats of every type – large and small, old and new, power, sail, oar and paddle –on display, including cruising yachts, launches, runabouts, fishing boats, daysailers and more. June 22 – 24, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mystic Seaport, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic; mysticseaport.org; 860-572-5331
ROSE ARTS FESTIVAL: Enjoy a day full of food, music, arts, vendors, a Kid Zone, 5K, 10K and Kids Fun Run road races, and a more. June 30, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. rain or shine. roseartsfestival.org
LOBSTERFEST: 40th Annual Lions Club LobsterFest featuring lobster, chicken, corn on the cob and more at the Niantic Town Hall grounds. nianticlions.org/lobsterfest
BOOM BOX PARADE: Enjoy an event rated in the top 10 cultural summer events in Connecticut. The 33rd annual “Boom Box Parade” will start at Jillson Square in Willimantic at 11 a.m. on July 4. This event started in 1986 after the Memorial Day Parade organizers could not locate a marching band, and the town chose to have marches carrying radios all tuned to W.I.L.I. AM for the 4th of July Day Parade. All are welcome to march in the parade given they can play the music and wear red, white, and blue. willi-am.com/parade.htm
NORTH STONINGTON AGRICULTURAL FAIR: Enjoy a day learning about farm life, view tractor and livestock pulls, view arts and crafts, and including food and live music. The fair is held from July 12 to 15 on Wyassup Road. Admission is $10 for adults, and free for children under 12. Senior citizens can get in for a reduced price of $5 on Saturday. Parking is free. northstoningtonfair.org
SAILFEST: Music, boats, and fireworks – the epitome of summer. The annual New London festival is rich with maritime history and filled with fun for the entire family, including activities such as boat tours, music, rides, food, and more. SailFest will run from July 13 to 15. sailfest.org
CELEBRATE EAST LYME: The 18th Annual Celebrate East Lyme Festival has something to offer everyone. Special areas for children and teens, music & performance stages, cooking demonstrations by local chefs and more. An art & author walk featuring some of the area’s best creative minds. July 21, 3 to 9 p.m. Downtown Niantic 108 Pennsylvania Ave., Niantic; www.celebrateeastlyme.com; 860-739-6931.
SUNFLOWERS FOR WISHES: Buttonwood Farm has an affinity for planting sunflowers – and lots of them. Starting with an acre in 2003, the farm plants fourteen acres of the flowers every year. Guests can buy bouquets in exchange for a $10 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Buttonwood’s famous freshly made ice-cream will also be available. The sunflower fundraiser takes place at 473 Shetucket Turnpike in Griswold from July 21-29. Www.buttonwoodfarmicecream.com
MIDSUMMER CONCERT: Enjoy this annual free concert along banks of the Lieutenant River. July 27, 7 – 9 p.m. From 5 to 7pm enjoy free admission to the exhibition Art and the New England Farm. Florence Griswold Museum, 6 Lyme St., Old Lyme; florencegriswoldmuseum.org; 860-434-5542.
MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL: Experience a festival that has been celebrating the arts in Old Lyme with a mix of music, art exhibitions, craft fair, and food for over 30 years. July 28. Florence Griswold Museum, 6 Lyme St., Old Lyme; florencegriswoldmuseum.org; 860-434-5542.
RIVER FIRE: Take a stroll on the Putnam River Trail or enjoy a picnic in Rotary Park and experience the atmosphere as the Quinebaug River is illuminated by floating pots filled with fire. This summer spectacle will take place on July 21, August 11, and September 8 from 7:30 – 9 p.m. discoverputnam.com/events
OLD LYME MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL: For more than three decades Old Lyme has celebrated art with a two-day festival. With activities at multiple locations along Lyme Street, there is an abundance of artwork to view and purchase, chances to watch artist create new pieces, family activities, and more. The Old Lyme Midsummer Festival will take place on July 28, and is kicked off by a live concert on July 27. oldlymemidsummerfestival.com
LEBANON COUNTRY FAIR: Spend a day filled celebrating the rural roots of Eastern Connecticut. From animal demonstrations and a demolition derby to games, music, food, carnival rides, and more, The Lebanon Country Fair has been providing a weekend of fun for 58 years. Children under 12 admitted free all weekend. This year’s fair will run from August 10 to 12 at the Lebanon Fairgrounds, located at 122 Mack Road. lebanoncountyfair.org
MYSTIC OUTDOOR ART FESTIVAL: Started in 1957, the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival is the oldest event of its kind in the Northeast. Downtown Mystic is overrun with art, showcasing over 250 artists and their art. The Children’s Art Park offers children a chance to create their own art. The Mystic Outdoor Art Festival runs from August 11 to 12. mysticchamber.org
BROOKLYN FAIR: From carnival rides to livestock demonstrations and concerts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Adults $10, seniors and military (with ID) $8, children under 12 free. The Brooklyn Fair, 15 Fairgrounds Rd., Brooklyn; www.brooklynfair.org; 860-779-0012The Brooklyn Fair will take place between August 23 and 26 at 15 Fairgrounds Road. brooklynfair.org
SCHEMITZUN: The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation welcomes the public to learn about and celebrate their rich heritage and culture in this annual festival. Experience Native American foods, dance, music, and craft. Festival-goers also get the opportunity to travel back in time at the Woodland Village Exhibit – a recreation of Mashantucket Pequot life in the 16th century. Schemitzun is happening from August 25 – 26 on the Mashantucket Reservation. Pequotmuseum.org/events
WOODSTOCK FAIR: A Woodstock tradition since the mid-1800s, enjoy two stages that are chock-full of live performances, amusements, rides, a horse show and pulling events, a birthing center full of baby farm animals, and more. General admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and active military, and free for children 10 and under. Parking is $5 per vehicle. The Woodstock Fair is always held on Labor Day weekend and runs this year from August 31 – September 3. woodstockfair.com
CONNECTICUT MARITIME HERITAGE FESTIVAL: This three-day festival applauds the contributions Connecticut has made to maritime history. Vessels of all shapes and sizes grace New London’s docks, and visitors are welcome to come aboard. The Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival runs from September 4 - 9 in downtown New London. ctmaritimefest.com
LEDYARD FAIR: Live music, animal shows, and carnival rides make for a weekend of fun, but throw in contests that test everything from best horseshoe thrower to fastest pie eater, and you have the weekend from heaven for any country lover. The Ledyard Fair runs September 7 to 9 at the Ledyard Fairgrounds, located at 742 Colonel Ledyard Highway. Ledyardfair.org
MYSTIC EATS: Experience the 5th annual Mystic Eats, the food event of the year. Enjoy food from over 25 of the areas premiere eateries including beer and wine, live entertainment, and family fun. Admission is free, tickets for food and drink are $1 each. This year Mystic Eats will run from September 7-9. mysticeats.com
CRUISE BLUES & BREWS CAR FESTIVAL: Enjoy the 4th annual Cruise Blues & Brews Car Festival, featuring a marketplace of vendors, games, classic and unusual cars, food, music, and fun. Held September 29. atriskboysfund.org
WEE FAERIE VILLAGE: Enjoy the 9th annual Wee Faerie Village, and view over 25 hand-crafted faerie houses. Admission to the outdoor exhibition is free for children under 12 or $15 for adults (with discounts for members, seniors, and students) and includes access to all of the Museum’s facilities. The Wee Faerie Village is at the Florence Griswold Museum from September 29 through October 28. florencegriswoldmuseum.org
JACK-O-LANTERN SPECTACULAR: For a month, Roger Williams Park Zoo lights up the night with its display of Halloween art. Walk the pumpkin trail, enjoy food and cider, and create spooky memories. This year’s Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular begins on October 4 and runs through November 4. rwpzoo.org
CHOWDER DAYS: Come and taste a variety of chowders and bisques, clam fritters and other fall favorites. Featuring live music, games, a scarecrow activity, face painting, and arts and crafts in the Children’s Museum. Adult $28.95, senior (ages 65+) – $26.95, youth (ages 4-14) – $18.95, children (3 and younger). Free Cost of food not included October 6-8. mysticseaport.org
SCOTLAND HIGHLAND GAMES FESTIVAL: Bring the family and enjoy a day filled with Scottish traditions. Featuring a piping and drumming competition, a highland athletic competition, harps and Celtic music, cattle, sheep dog demonstrations, and more. Scottish food and drink will also be available for purchase. Scotland’s Annual Highland Festival happens October 7 at the Edward Waldo Homestead, 96 Waldo Road, Scotland; scotlandgames.org; 860-423-9634
GROTON FALL FESTIVAL: Enjoy over 100 vendors including artists, crafters and local businesses, with the Lifestar helicopter and touch-a-truck for the kids, and a farmers market and entertainment for the adults in the family. The festival runs from 11 am to 6 pm on October 8 at Poquonnock Plains Park. mysticchamber.org
ROSELAND COTTAGE FINE ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL: Celebrating its 36th year, the festival attracts nearly 200 artisans who display jewelry, woodwork, paintings, and more complete with food vendors, live music, and tours of the first floor of the Cottage. Admission is only $5, or free for Historic New England members and children under 12. The festival will take place on October 13 and 14 at Roseland Cottage in Woodstock. historicnewengland.org
GREAT PUMPKIN FESTIVAL: Enjoy Halloween fun for the whole family with performances, music, art projects, pumpkin decorating, and more. Food vendors and local restaurants will feature special pumpkin-themed menu items. October 20, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. discoverputnam.com
SALEM APPLE FESTIVAL: For over 40 years, the Salem Apple Festival has been a cherished community event. The festival shows apples at their best – made into fall treats such as apple pie. Admission and parking are free. congregationalchurchsalem.org
SPOOKY ZOO: Experience Halloween fun during the day, with a Trick-or-Treat Trail, crafts, and entertainment. Costumes encouraged. rwpzoo.org
LOCAL ARTISAN VENDOR FAIR: Come to the greenhouse and enjoy multiple artisans selling their creations. Traditionally held during first week of November. Free and open to public. holdridgegarden.com
HOLIDAY DAZZLE LIGHT PARADE: Greet the holiday season with over 100 floats, music, and lights. The annual procession starts at 5 p.m. on November 25 in downtown Putnam. discoverputnam.com
ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF TREES & TRADITIONS: The Wadsworth Antheneum Art Museum has been putting on this holiday event since 1973. Every year, visitors experience the holiday trees and wreaths decorated by artists and community members that are displayed throughout the museum’s galleries. A $3 fundraising surcharge is added to regular museum admission during the festival, which is hosted in early December. Visit thewadsworth.org for event schedules.
SANTA’S VILLAGE AT THE CAROUSEL: Visit this Christmas wonderland with sleigh rides and cookies, and an evening festival of lights, all complete with visits from Santa. Usually held during early December. rwpzoo.org
COVENTRY’S CHRISTMAS IN THE VILLAGE: Spend the first Sunday of December greeting the holidays with a magical Christmas Village. Visit with Santa, sing carols, enjoy a sleigh ride and more. coventryct.org
MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS: Christmastime at the Florence Griswold Museum is a beloved tradition for friends across the region. Visitors enjoy Miss Florence’s Artist Trees with extraordinary painted palettes donated by nearly 200 artists from around the country. The Museum is dressed in its holiday finest and Holiday Teas and other special events and activities for all ages make the Museum the place to celebrate. Runs December 1 – 30. Florence Griswold Museum, 6 Lyme St., Old Lyme; florencegriswoldmuseum.org; 860-434-5542.
THE 22ND ANNUAL HOLIDAY STROLL & LUMINARIA: Bring the family and experience downtown Westerly, with streets lined with luminaria and carolers, complete with free hayrides with Santa. December 5, 5 – 9 p.m. Free and open to public. 1 Chamber Way, Westerly, R.I.; oceanchamber.org; 401-596-7761
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS: Luminaria light the way of the 18th century styled walkways of Olde Mystick Village as festive lights dance through the trees in the weeks leading up to Christmas. 27 Coogan Blvd. Mystic. 860-536-4941; oldemistickvillage.com.
THE SUN WINE & FOOD FEST: For the 16th year, guests are invited to try dishes from over 20 celebrity chefs, accompanied by craft beers and choices from over 1,000 wines. See mohegansun.com/sun-winefest.html for information on the 2019 festival.
ROMANTIC WILLIMANTIC CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL: Bring the family, or a loved one, and celebrate Valentine’s Day with sweet treats from dozens of downtown shops, face painting, and button making. For information on the 2019 event, visit willimanticdowntown.org.
FIRE & ICE FESTIVAL: Experience the largest single ice-block competition in the United States. View dozens of ice sculptures, ice carving demonstrations, fire performances, and more. The Fire & Ice Festival is normally held around Valentine’s Day in downtown Putnam. discoverputnam.com
CABIN FEVER FESTIVAL & CHARITY CHOWDER COOKOFF: Every year, over 20 restaurants compete for the ultimate title – winner of the best chowder. Enjoy chowder tasting, live music, and other surprises. Usually held on a Saturday in late February, with the event starting at noon and judging happening at 5 p.m. Visit oldemistickvillage.com for 2019 festival updates.