25 Summer Festivals You Don't Want to Miss

25 Festivals for Families this Summer in Connecticut

Sure, you've probably visited your fair share of pumpkin, apple, and strawberry festivals. But have you been to a Podunk Bluegrass festival? Or a Sailfest? Or perhaps a Potato and Corn fest? Summer may be short here in Connecticut but it sure is jammin' with festivals from June through Labor Day. Whether you're planning to indulge in some strawberry shortcake piled high with whipped cream, check out some really cool cars at an antique car show, or groove to some reggae, there are so many family-friendly festivals happening all summer long. Grab a picnic basket and a blanket, pack your camera, and have some fun at one of these Connecticut festivals. And, be sure to check out our Connecticut Summer Fun Guide to help plan some pretty epic adventures with the whole crew this summer. 

Click through to our listings for all the details, including address, time, and prices.

1. Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival - Mystic
Thursday June 7-Sunday June 10, 2018
Mystic Seaport gathers performers from around the world. This year the lineup includes artists from England, Australia, and France to name just a few - to celebrate the tradition of sailing music. There are daytime concerts open to anyone visiting the museum, but evening shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday require a separate ticket. Mystic is a pretty family friendly place to begin with and this show is truly aimed at all ages.

2. Strawberry Festival and Craft Fair - South Windsor
Saturday, June 9, 2018
A fun event filled with kids' activities, including face painting, tractor and train rides, a petting zoo, and more. They are also said to have the World’s Best Strawberry shortcake, so go find out for yourself. Free admission.

3. Connecticut Family Festival - New London
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Two festivals have come together as one to create the single largest family fest in southeastern Connecticut. This year's event will celebrate it all, literature, the arts, boats, music, and the environment.

4. New Horizons Strawberry Festival - Farmington
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Featuring an arts & crafts fair, face painting, costumed super heroes, a magician, an antique car show, fun carnival games, music, and strawberry shortcake, this day is sure to be fun. Free admission.

5. Strawberry Festival - Cheshire
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Enjoy mouthwatering fresh strawberry shortcake and other treats at the 81st celebration of this traditional New England Festival. Activities include a petting zoo, face painting, toddler games, and more. Free admission.

6. Annual Strawberry Festival - Monroe
Saturday, June 16- Sunday June 17, 2018
Celebrate strawberry season with this juried crafts show complete with strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, children's games, and music.

7. Sunken Garden Poetry Festival - Farmington
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Pack a picnic dinner, grab a blanket, and listen to some poetry and music in the garden at Hillstead Museum. Children under 18 are free, and free on-site parking is available.

8. Klingberg Vintage Motorcar Festival - New Britain
Saturday, June 22, 2018
Admire hundreds of antique and classic cars spanning decades of automotive history, sprawled on 40 acres. The family-friendly event features children's activities. music, and food.

9. Connecticut Irish Festival - North Haven
Saturday, June 23 - Sunday, June 24, 2018
Enjoy the sounds of Irish music, savor traditional food, and partake in entertainment for adults and children, including a petting zoo. Nick Fradiani headlines on the mainstage Saturday night. Free admission for kids 12 and under. North Haven Fairgrounds, Route 5, North Haven

10. NICE Festival  - Norwalk
Saturday July 7, 2018
The Norwalk International Cultural Exchange is hosting its second annual NICE Festival to celebrate global heritage and culture through music, food, art, and talent. The NICE Festival will feature dancers, musicians, food, and craft vendors. Proceeds from the festival will support local charitable organizations and their fight against poverty, hunger, and slavery.

11. Sailfest - New London
Friday, July 13 - Sunday, July 15, 2018
New London's premiere summer event with over 200 vendors, three stages of entertainment, amusement rides and midway, tall ship tours, and more. Kiddos can enjoy their own entertainment at the children's stage. The highlight of the weekend festival is the Saturday Night fireworks display, one of the largest in the nation, over the Thames River. Skip downtown for fireworks viewing and head over to Fort Trumbull for excellent views and a large area for the kids to run around.

12. Roxbury Pickin' 'n Fiddlin' Contest - Roxbury
Saturday July 14, 2018
As if one bluegrass festival wasn't enough, how about two! Every year, bluegrass musicians from all across the country descend on Roxbury, Connecticut to take part in this bluegrass jam and competition. There are vendors selling food and drinks as well as musical instruments and other wares. Pack up the family and settle in for some first rate music.

13. Westside Reggae Festival - Danbury
Saturday, July 28, 2018
The Westside Reggae Festival is just one of many events and performances that take place here. The park is a beautiful setting for events, with rolling grounds and a pretty water feature. There are fields to roam and trees to explore if the music isn't holding everybody's attention. There will be food and drink on sale and gates are open at 1pm.

14. Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz - Hartford
Friday, July 20-Sunday, July 22, 2018
Head to the historic and beautiful Bushnell Park, and listen to more than a dozen bands. Bring the kids, the dog, board games, the Frisbee, and whatever else you wish. Arrive early and stay late, and let the sounds of jazz soothe and energize you. Free.

15. Litchfield Jazz Festival - Goshen
Saturday July 28 - Sunday July 29, 2018
Spend a day (or two) sitting on a blanket in the Litchfield Hills watching amazing jazz musicians perform on stage. Launched in 1996, this annual festival attracts people from across the country.

16. Festa Italian Festival - Ansonia
Thursday, August 9-Saturday, August 11, 2018
Holy Rosary Parish will be hosting its 51st Annual Italian Festival. Sample freshly prepared Italian foods and pastries. Festivities also include live entertainment, games, rides, and a cash raffle. Free admission.

17. Potato & Corn Festival - Branford
Friday, August 3-Sunday, August 5, 2018
An event for the entire family, the North Branford Potato and Corn Festival features live music, food, games, contests, hay rides, a car show, and much more. Enjoy fireworks on Saturday. Admission: Free. On-site parking for a fee. Free shuttles from Stanley T. Williams School and North Branford Intermediate School.

18. Podunk Bluegrass Festival - Hebron
Thursday August 9-Sunday August 12, 2018
If you're a fan of fiddles and such, Hebron, Connecticut is home to the annual Podunk Bluegrass Festival. Not only is there a bang-up roster of bluegrass stars, this festival is super duper kid and family friendly. There are all sorts of activities throughout the weekend like Bingo and tie-dying, there's even a movie with popcorn. And then there is the Podunk Bluegrass Kids Academy. This is open to kids of all ages, but does require some musical ability. 

19. Woofstock on the Branford Green - Branford
Saturday August 11, 2018
If you're looking for a festival that is also in support of a great cause, look no further! Woofstock on the Branford Green is part music festival, part fundraiser for animal rescue. There will be food, contests, a kid zone, arts, and of course music. The event is technically free, but there is a suggested donation of $5.00 which goes to help the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford.

20. Mystic Outdoor Art Festival - Mystic
Saturday, August 11 - Sunday August 12, 2018
New England's premiere juried art show, right on the streets of Mystic. Fine artists in oil painting, sculpture, watercolors, photography, and more, will show their work, along with local crafters and artisans. Stop by the Mystic River Park for the Children's Art Park where kids can make their own masterpieces. Don't miss the delicious food vendors, too.

21. Milford Oyster Festival - Milford
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Rain or shine, the 44th Annual Milford Oyster Festival will be a hit. Enjoy live entertainment, arts & craft vendors, amusement rides, a schooner boat cruise, plus canoe and kayak races. Don’t forget about the more than 30,000 oysters! Free admission and parking, and shuttle service from Jonathan Law High School and CT Post Mall.

22. ​Plainville Balloon Festival - Plainville
Friday August 24 - Sunday August 26, 2018
​Plainville Fire Department hosts this fair now in its 33rd year. There are three days of events, including a fireworks show on Friday night, but for the highlight of the whole weekend, you have to be extremely punctual. Balloon launches are scheduled for Saturday at six in the morning and evening or Sunday at six am Don't be a second late, they go fast.

23. Woodstock Fair - Woodstock
Friday August 31 - Monday September 3, 2018
It's a Labor Day tradition! Held at the Woodstock Fairgrounds, the Woodstock Fair offers agricultural exhibits (including a birthing center, where you can view a cow birth a calf right before your eyes!), animal and farm equipment competitions, entertainment, music, food, and carnival rides (not to mention, the biggest Ferris wheel around).

24. Norwalk Oyster Festival - Norwalk
Friday, September 7 - Sunday September 9, 2018
Join the Norwalk Seaport Association's 40th annual Oyster Festival for three days of entertainment, arts and crafts, and great food. The Kid's Cove will host children's activities on both Saturday and Sunday including karate demonstrations, variety shows, and character meet and greets.

25. Soupstock Music & Arts Festival - Shelton
​Saturday September 29 - Sunday September 30, 2018
Downtown Shelton is home to this two-day music extravaganza now in its ninth year. The bands range from very local to broadly regional and there are always a handful of excellent headlining acts. The festival also features vendors of all sorts of things from food and a designated kid zone with bounce houses and activities 

Have a great summer!


Originally published 6/26/15.

Cover photo courtesy of Getty Images

Cheney Hall
177 Hartford Road
Manchester , CT 41° 45' 54.9144" N, 72° 31' 44.3784" W
Town Hall
50 South Main Street
West Hartford , CT 41° 45' 31.2336" N, 72° 44' 29.8752" W
Nevers Road Park South Windsor , CT 41° 50' 56.3532" N, 72° 34' 18.318" W
New Horizons Village
72 Bliss Road
Unionville , CT 41° 44' 44.0376" N, 72° 52' 54.0696" W
First Congregational Church
111 Church Drive
Cheshire , CT 41° 29' 52.0332" N, 72° 54' 11.5596" W
New Britain Rock Cats Stadium
635 S. Main Street
New Britain , CT 41° 38' 57.444" N, 72° 46' 17.706" W
The Hill-Sted Museum
35 Mountain Road
Farmington , CT 41° 43' 10.5132" N, 72° 49' 28.9776" W
Mortensen Riverfront Plaza Hartford , CT 41° 45' 49.3596" N, 72° 41' 6.3348" W
Bushnell Park Hartford , CT 41° 45' 49.3596" N, 72° 41' 6.3348" W
Norton Park
197 South Washington Street
06062 Plainville , CT 41° 39' 30.06" N, 72° 52' 29.8704" W