CONNECTICUT'S HAPPENIN' HAPPENINGS
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
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 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
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
* 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
* 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.
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
* 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
* 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
* "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
* 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
* 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
Just in case all that food, culture and history has caused sedentary
lethargy, here's a hint of sports-related special events in Connecticut
* 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, www.uconnhuskies.com).
* 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, www.uconnhuskies.com).
* 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 www.CTvisit.com.
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.