Connecting with Culture, Food, History, Entertainment and More Through A Year-long Calendar of Performances, Festivals and Special Events


HARTFORD --- February 27, 2006 -- The 71st, 49th, 25th : In all their abundance and amazing variety, many of the great events in Connecticut have been around for a long time. But, don't be fooled by the often impressive numbers followed by "annual"; that just means they really know what they're doing. In fact, every year represents another opportunity for complete reinvention. Visitors will discover that no matter how many times they have enjoyed the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, or the Oyster Festival in Norwalk, each year it's fresh and new.

Adding immensely to the appeal of Connecticut's annual events is the fact that most are free. That provides the perfect reason to pack up the family or take a loved one on a weekend exploring history, the arts, sports, food and much more through memorable special events.

Connecting with the Artist in All of Us
Art is about re-imagining, seeing beauty in a new light. That may explain the enduring popularity of art festivals; who wouldn't want to connect with re-inventing the world?

These are some of the major art happenings in Connecticut this year:

* The 44th Annual Meet the Artists & Artisans, May 13-14 on the Milford Green in Milford (203-874-5672). Over 200 award-winning artists and crafters, demonstrations, lectures and dialogue add up to one of the top 100 art shows in the country.
* The 27th Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival, June 8-11 at Mystic Seaport (888-973-2676). A unique opportunity to hear internationally acclaimed musicians perform under the billowing sails of historic ships.
* The 11th Annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas, June 10-24, at numerous locations throughout New Haven (888-ART-IDEA). Probably Connecticut's most impressive arts event, an internationally renowned festival with world-class artists, thinkers, and performers engaging audiences in a multitude of media, from dance and theater to street festivals.
* The 25th New Haven Jazz Fest, August 5, 12 and 19 on the historic New Haven Green (203-946-7821). One of the largest, longest-running free outdoor music festivals in the country, this event celebrates New Haven's love affair with all kinds of jazz with world-class performers as well as local stars.
* The 49th Annual Craft Expo, July 13-15 on the town green in Guilford (203-453-5947). One of the country's premier art shows, with 160 artists from across America offering the finest in handicrafts, furniture, sculpture and fine art.
* The Midsummer Festival, July 28-29 in Old Lyme's historic district (860-434-5542). A two-day celebration at the Florence Griswold Museum and other locations of Old Lyme's historic importance in the world of American art, where American Impressionism was born in the early 20th century.
* The 20th Annual Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Fest, July 28-30 at the Sunrise Resort in Moodus (800-468-3836). Some of the world's top bands performing everything from swing to Dixieland, with dance lessons, food and more.
* The 30th Annual SoNo Arts Celebration, August 4-6 in South Norwalk (203-866-7916). An outdoor arts festival with live entertainment, a juried art and craft show, a film festival, interactive exhibits and children's art activities.
* The 11th Annual Litchfield Jazz Festival, August 4-6 at the Goshen Fairgrounds (860-567-4162). For music, food and a beautiful setting, this was picked as one of the top 100 events of 2006 by the American Bus Association.
* The 49th Annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, August 12-13 in Historic Downtown Mystic (860-572-9578). Over 300 artists displaying and selling their work, plus entertainment, family activities, a children's art park, food and more in a charming, historic waterfront setting.
* City-Wide Open Studios, October 9-29 throughout New Haven (203-772-2709). The largest open studios festival on the East Coast, with over 500 artists displaying their works in their own studios as well as a Main Exhibition at Artspace, which organizes the event.
* The 8th Annual Celebration of American Crafts, November 4-December 24 at the Creative Workshop in New Haven (203-562-4927). A national juried and invitational exhibition and sale of contemporary fine arts and crafts by over 400 nationally known artists.


Celebrating the Local Flora, Fauna and Food
What better way to appreciate and enjoy Connecticut than by exploring the delights and tasty pleasures of its native flowers, wildlife and culinary treasures? A sampling:

* The 25th Annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, February 23-26 at the Connecticut Expo Center in Hartford (860-844-8461). 200 exhibitors displaying horticultural masterpieces, gardening products, fresh flowers, plants and herbs.
* The 28th Annual Daffodil Festival, April 29-30 at Hubbard Park in Meriden (203-630-4259). Over 600,000 daffodils on display, a juried craft show, fireworks and a parade in celebration of spring.
* The 71st Annual Dogwood Festival, May 12-14 at the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church in Fairfield (203-259-5596). Thousands of beautiful dogwoods in bloom, guided walking tours, music, arts and crafts, special luncheons and more.
* The 22nd Annual Lobsterfest, May 27-29 at Mystic Seaport (888-973-2767). The quintessential, shell-sucking, butter-dribbling, mouth-watering New England tradition for young and old.
* The Rose & Garden Weekend, June 24-25 at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford (860-522-9258). The home of the famous author and social justice activist is the setting for guided garden tours and other activities.
* The 32nd Annual Milford Oyster Festival, August 19 at the Milford Center & Harbor (203-878-5363). A full-fledged summer festival, with over 200 crafts vendors, entertainment with headline performers, harbor activities, children's games - all in honor of the mysterious and delicious oyster.
* The 29th Annual Norwalk Oyster Festival, September 8-10 at Veteran's Memorial Park in East Norwalk (203-838-9444). There can never be too many oyster festivals and this one celebrates the Long Island Sound's lengthy maritime traditions with vintage boats, 225 arts and crafts vendors, entertainment, activities for kids and fireworks.
* Taste of Mystic Food Festival, September 8-10 throughout the historic area (860-572-9578). The many restaurants in Historic Downtown Mystic get together to offer everything from quesadillas to fried rice, bouillabaisse to cheese cake.
* "Celebrating Agriculture," September 23 at the Woodstock Fairgrounds (860-774-8397). A showcase for the vibrant agricultural businesses in the Last Green Valley, with old-fashioned family fun, games, live animal exhibits, entertainment, farm tours and forestry demonstrations.
* The 45th Annual Chrysanthemum Festival, September 22-October 15 throughout Bristol (860-584-4718). A town-wide celebration including a Family Weekend, the crowning of Miss Mum, house tours, an auto show and Oktoberfest.
* The 38th Annual Apple Harvest Festival, September 29-October 1 and October 6-8 on the town green in Southington (860-276-8461). New England and apples are synonymous, as visitors will discover at this outdoor festival celebrating all things apple, including food products and food booths, a parade and road race, live entertainment and more.
* Chowderfest, October 7-9 at Mystic Seaport (888-973-2767). Autumn in coastal Connecticut is time for hot "chowda," warm cider, spectacular fall foliage and fun.


Historic Connections
As one of the original 13 colonies, it's not surprising that virtually all of Connecticut is living history, but, in fact, its heritage goes back far beyond the arrival of Europeans. Here are a few suggestions for connecting with history in 2006:

* The Danbury Museum and Historical Society (203-743-5200) will hold a weekend encampment of French and American forces at Kenosia Lake Park and recreate Main Street, Danbury of 1781 in early May (May 6th & 7th). The event will celebrate Connecticut's role as "The Provision State" and a rebuilding of the city after the burning by the British in April 1777.


* Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route events. One of the most important events in America's struggle for independence was the historic march by the French armies, led by General Rochambeau, to join up with George Washington's forces to defeat the British at Yorktown. Many communities in Connecticut are taking part in the following events:
* An educational symposium on the Washington-Rochambeau Wethersfield conference of 1781, will be held on May 13 at Central Connecticut State University. This event is coordinated by the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum (860-529-0612).
* An encampment on the grounds of the Huntington Homestead in Scotland, May 20-21, with local Boy Scout troops serving as Rochambeau's four regiments. The Huntington House Museum will be open and includes a display of David Wagner's Revolutionary Route painting series (860-423-1547).
* British, Continental and French military re-enactors gather for engagements and programs at the Platt Farm in Southbury, including a public ball, June 16-18 (203-597-9527).
* Bolton Heritage Day, June 24, commemorates the Franco-American march along the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route and the Bolton encampments. The event includes a military program by the Second Dragoons, an educational curriculum, music and dancing.
* "March to Victory" Weekend, June 30-July 2 in Ridgefield, with a "skirmish" on the Ridgebury Meadow, a grand costume ball, "Ghost Tours" and other programs (203-438-5821,


* The Annual Museum Powwow Festival at the Pequot Museum in Mashantucket, July 12-13 (800-411-9671). A colorful, two-day celebration of Connecticut's first residents, with native foods, entertainment, arts and "join-in"dancing.
* The 31st Annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous, July 22-23 at Mystic Seaport (888-973-2767). A festive gathering of pre-1950s sail and motor boats, including a boat parade on Sunday.
* The 225th Anniversary of the Burning of New London and the Battle of Groton Heights, September 1-3 (860-445-1366). Some 1,000 re-enactors will come together to commemorate this important historic event in a three-day encampment at Fort Griswold and Fort Trumbull.
* The 40th Annual Witch's Dungeon House of Wax takes place in Bristol, October 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-31 (860-583-8306). The museum is devoted to the actors and make-up artists that created the classic movie monsters and will feature life-size figures based on Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price.


Sports Action
Just in case all that food, culture and history has caused sedentary lethargy, here's a hint of sports-related special events in Connecticut this year:

* The 39th Annual Rolex GT Series Challenge at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, May 26-29 (800-RACE-LRP). One of the country's biggest sports car racing series, with scenic hillside viewing, food booths, souvenirs and maybe a glimpse of stars such as Paul Newman, one of Connecticut's most enthusiastic racing fans (and driver).
* The 54th Annual 2006 Buick Championship, June 26-July 2, at the Tournament Players Club in Cromwell (860-522-4171). New England's biggest golf event and fun for the whole family.
* The 3rd Annual American Le Mans Series - New England Grand Prix at Lime Rock, June 30-July 1 (800-RACE-LRP). Another spectacular racing event that brings out the most technologically advanced race cars in the world.
* The 9th Annual Pilot Pen Tennis Championships, August 18-26 in New Haven (888-99-PILOT). One of the premier tennis events for men and women with top pros from around the world.
* The 16th Annual Walking Weekends, October 6-9, 13-15 in the 35 towns of the Last Green Valley (866-363-7226). Join hundreds of others in more than 100 free guided walks through some of the state's most beautiful scenery combined with appealing accommodations and dining packages offered by many historic and bucolic B&B's and country inns.
* The 37th Annual Head of the Connecticut Regatta, October 8 at Harbor Park in Middletown (860-346-1042). One of the premier rowing events, with 3,000 competitors and 600 boats competing on a 3.5 mile course beginning in Cromwell.
* The 13th Annual Greater Hartford Marathon, October 14 (860-652-8866). Watch or participate, and enjoy the fall foliage along the way. Other marathons include the Mystic Places Marathon & Niantic Bay Festival, October 21-22 (203-481-5933), which combines fun for families, a health expo, entertainment, and kids' races with the marathon itself.
* As the nation's top ranked teams, the UCONN Huskies men's and women's basketball teams started their exciting 2006 season in early January. The Fall 2006 season will start next November (877-288-2666,
* UCONN football fans will have the chance to see the Huskies play seven times at Rentschler Field this year with the season starting August 31 (877-288-2666,
* The UCONN Husky Trail will be presented this summer when huskies line the streets of Connecticut each sculptured to offer a unique experience in art and history. Proceeds from this exhibit will go to the UCONN Alumni Scholarship Fund (860-437-8025).


Of course, these are just a smattering of what's happening in Connecticut in 2006. Visitors can expect to find spectacular celebrations of the Fourth of July in virtually every town and hamlet, and breathtaking winter holiday events ranging from historic home tours and the arrival of Santa to such brilliant festivities as the Celebration of Lights & Song by the Sea on December 2 on New London's waterfront (860-444-2489). There are dozens of top-quality theater companies creating some of America's most exciting new works, from Broadway-bound musicals at the Goodspeed Opera House to innovative drama at Yale Repertory to works in progress by the country's next generation of stars at the Eugene O'Neill Center.

There are full seasons of classical music, opera and ballet at major concert halls throughout the state, and virtually non-stop performances by the country's current superstars of pop, rock and country music at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun resorts and elsewhere. And, families will find endless events for children, ranging from special museum attractions to live theater.

For a complete listing of events in Connecticut this year, and for further information about the 52 Getaways to Connecticut, restaurants, resorts, country inns, B&Bs and other places to stay in Connecticut, please call 888-CTvisit (888-288-4748) or log on at Connecticut offers visitors a multi-faceted wealth of attractions, historical, cultural and recreational activities, diverse and beautiful natural landscapes, parks, beaches and wilderness sure to fulfill any getaway need.

More Connecticut events:

The Lyme-Old Lyme Antique Car Show & Flea Market, May 29

The Lyme-Old Lyme Antique Car Show & Flea Market will be held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2006, 9-2, at the Lyme Art Academy, Old Lyme, CT, I-95 Exit 70. 12 classes, Peoples? Choice, cars 1980 and older. $5.00 spectator admission, $10.00 for car registration.  20x20? flea market space $40.00. All proceeds to Lions charities. or call Jim Graybill at 860- 434-3530.  $10.00 registration not due til the day of the show. 

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