Summer in Connecticut without a summer festival or two is a complete waste.
Every Connecticutian has fond memories of the local summer carnivals and fairs.
If you look forward to the summer and the many festivals the warm weather brings, then a trip to Connecticut is in order. Whether you love:
- Open-air summer concerts
- Arts and crafts festivals
- CT agricultural fairs
- Or a good old-fashioned carnival
Connecticut is an ideal summer festival destination. And they present the perfect opportunity to visit many of the best places to see in CT throughout the summer.
Here are the top summer festivals in CT to check out this year.
Summer Festivals in CT near Greenwich, Connecticut
As soon as the Connecticut tulip gardens are popping, the weather’s warm enough to warrant an outdoor festival or two.
And plenty are a short drive from downtown Greenwich, Connecticut.
Bruce Museum Outdoor Crafts Festival – Greenwich
Date: May 20 and 21, 2023
Enjoy fine crafts and music at this museum-quality event at the Bruce Museum of Greenwich. This isn’t your mother’s arts and crafts show. Instead, it focuses on contemporary high-end fine crafts, presented by local artists. You’ll also enjoy a selection of roving performers in hand with the museum’s exhibits.
It’s one of the best things to do in CT in May anywhere in the state!
Greenwich Town Party
Date: May 27, 2023
The Greenwich Town Party has celebrated the community and town history. It’s a way of reigniting the love of the town every summer. People from all around flock to Greenwich to take part in the celebrations. And the organizers spare no expense to make this one of Connecticut’s most happening music festivals.
Concours d’Elegance – Greenwich
Date: June 2 to 4, 2023
What better way to kick-off June in Connecticut than with an annual event with a fancy name?
A “Concours” is an exhibition or contest focused on classic vehicles in ideal condition. That said, you don’t have to be a classic car buff to enjoy the excitement and history of the Concours d’Elegance Greenwich.
Norwalk Art Festival – Norwalk
Date: June 24 and 25, 2023
A premier cultural event, the Norwalk Art Festival takes place in a lovely park setting. Considering the park is between two museums and a nationally recognized Art Center, it’s ideal. This is a juried fine art and fine craft festival where you can also enjoy performing artists and an international food court. As a high-quality arts experience, over 75 artists display:
- Mixed media
- Metal sculpture
- And glass
Sixth Nice Festival – Norwalk
Date: July 8, 2023
The Norwalk International Cultural Exchange has a long name, shortened to NICE. The organization focuses on the diversity of cultures and people found around the world. The NICE Festival celebrates our differences with a focus on arts and culture and the rich traditions found in our communities.
- And the performing arts
From around the world savoring international cuisine and live dance and music performances makes this a great way to start the month enjoying things to do in CT in July.
Stamford Art Festival – Stamford
Date: July 22 and 23, 2023
Exhibitors are invited to display their work covering a beautiful spectrum of arts including:
- Wearable and decorative fiber
- And art jewelry
Held on the waterfront, exhibiting artists mingle with visitors to discuss the creative process.
Are you looking for unique, one-of-a-kind artwork for your home?
Then the Stamford Art Festival is the perfect place to discover emerging artists.
SoNo Arts Fest – Norwalk
Date: August 5 and 6, 2023
The 2023 SoNo Arts Festival is perhaps one of the best festivals to find original fine arts and crafts. It showcases over 100 juried artists alongside local businesses. The creative energy is palpable here. Browse the many open-air galleries while enjoying the pulse of live music. And, of course, savor a mouthwatering selection of culinary delights from local restaurants. If you love fun and funky art, this is the place to find it.
It’s one of the best things to do in all Connecticut in August!
Connecticut Summer Festivals near New Haven, Connecticut
This summer, try to align a visit to New Haven with a summer fair or festival. It’s a fantastic way to take advantage of the best things to do in New Haven, CT.
And save some gas.
International Festival of Arts & Ideas – New Haven
Date: June 10 through June 25, 2023
This festival was borne from the idea of bringing great art and big ideas together. European arts festivals inspire this top summer attraction. The Festival of Arts & Ideas is designed to bring people together to improve social cohesion with a celebration of diversity. Enjoy the works and music of international artists in the lovely city of New Haven.
Fair On The Green – Milford
Date: June 2 and 3, 2023
Enjoy the lovely Milford Green at its annual fair, where 130 fine artists and hand‑crafters display their work. You can also stroll the grounds to look for baked goods, plants and a good old-fashioned Trash & Treasures tag sale. Food booths will tantalize your taste buds, while local talent will perform live music.
Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire – Ansonia
Dates: June 24 and 25, July 1 and 2, and July 8 and 9; 2023
This unique event creates a fantasy world. There, you’ll encounter magical creatures and live performances from music to magic and comedy to live combat. You’ll also enjoy delicious food and can shop at the booths of period vendors. Interact with people from an ancient era where magic was real and jousting was considered a spectator sport.
Connecticut Summer Festivals near Mystic, Connecticut
Another major summer destination in Connecticut; there are a ton of things to do in Mystic, Connecticut.
If you’re feeling adventurous, or at least like being surrounded by lots of people, a festival in Mystic is just the ticket for you.
Strawberry Park Cajun-Zydeco Festival – Preston
Date: June 8 through 11, 2023
This much-anticipated event is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Enjoy a taste of NOLA with irresistible music ideal for people who love to dance. This music comes to Connecticut from Southwest Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole country. Bring your dancing shoes, as no one can resist that infectious beat.
Rose Arts Festival – Norwich
Date: July 1, 2023
Creative stations and the Sara Davis Budding Artist Display feature local budding artists. In fact, it’s a central part of this arts summer festival in CT. The whole town gets into this festival that combines a long list of events in a single day. You can:
- Participate in a 10k run
- Enjoy live music from a long list of performers
- And also chomp on local fare in the evening from the area’s best bars and restaurants
Over 100 artisan vendors and food trucks will also be on hand to feed hungry revelers.
Sailfest – New London
Date: July 8 and 9, 2023
Sailfest is often considered the event to attend in Southeastern Connecticut. The waterfront, and the the nearby streets of New London, provide the venue for Sailfest. You can look at the ships, sample the food and end your day with an impressive fireworks display. This year also features over 200 vendors for an exciting outdoor shopping experience.
Connecticut Summer Festivals near Danbury, Connecticut
Tucked away in the northwest corner of Fairfield County sits Danbury, Connecticut. The area offers a more down-to-earth locale.
And its proximity to the Litchfield Hills makes it ideal for an outdoorsy getaway.
Some of the top things to do in Danbury, Connecticut, especially in the summer months, include local festivals:
Danbury Street Festival – Danbury
Date: June 3, 2023
In the tradition of local street festivals in Connecticut, you can enjoy live music, plenty of activities and a sampling of the best of Danbury fare.
Southbury Strawberry Festival – Southbury
Date: June 10, 2023
Who doesn’t look forward to the sweet ruby red berries of early summer? Celebrate the arrival of this sweet fruit, along with the sounds of live traditional Americana and Bluegrass.
Scarf down a bowl of homemade strawberry shortcake and brag about participating in one of the best fairs in Connecticut.
This festival is low-key and casual. That said, whether it is the temptation of the juicy berries or not being able to resist the banjo, this is a quintessential summer festival.
And it’s reached its 46th year, so it has to be an event worth experiencing.
Summer festivals in and around Hartford, Connecticut
The state capital’s Victorian ambience lends itself to summer festivals and fairs.
Tack-on more of the top activities and attractions in and around Hartford, and it’ll be a perfect summertime Connecticut day trip.
Celebrate! West Hartford Art and Craft Show – West Hartford
Date: June 10 and 11, 2023
Admire the work of over 175 artists and crafters. This craft show features an impressive selection representing every major craft category. You can also enjoy live music across a wide selection of bands and sounds, in hand with amusement rides and games. If you are an avid runner, you can also participate in their certified 5k road race. The run is a great way to explore the town.
Willimantic’s Thursday Street Fest – Willimantic
Date: Thursdays throughout the summer
Take in live music performed on six stages along the historic downtown area of Willimantic. The street fest features Regional and Local talent and doesn’t overlook a single genre. Musical styles represented here include:
- Swing to Americana
- Alternative to Top Forty/Pop
- Jazz to Electronic
- DJ/Dance/Techno to Salsa
- And Cajun/Zydeco
You’ll enjoy everything from mildly infectious toe-tapping to out and out head-banging noise. It’s one of the best music summer festivals in CT.
Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz – Hartford
Date: July 13 to 16, 2023
This celebration of jazz combines two of your favorite things: good music and good food. Hartford provides the perfect backdrop for up-and-coming talent to showcase their smooth sounds. Discover what local musicians are up to on the jazz scene in one of Connecticut’s most celebrated cities. Music, food, and a vibrant nightlife become even more pleasurable when the evenings are warm and breezy.
Just like the music you’ll enjoy.
Date: July 3-8, 2023
This event is also located just over an hour from Greenwich, but the large amount of activities are well worth it! Since 1855, the Berlin Fair is a favorite of many central Connecticut locals. The action packed schedule includes a full list of activities the whole family will love including pie-eating contests, frog jumping, live entertainment, and large animal exhibits. It’s a local tradition that you’ll want to come back for each year!
Norfolk Midsummer Farmers Market – Norfolk
Date: Saturdays in the summer
On the northern edge of the Litchfield Hills area, bordering Massachusetts, sits Norfolk. It’s not close to Danbury nor Hartford, but close enough.
Connecticut’s tiny, anyway.
Embrace the Farm to Fork craze by celebrating locally grown food and produce with live music at this farmers market. Vendor stalls are packed with artisanal goods, ideal for local shopping. In fact, everything is locally grown, raised or made, so bring your reusable shopping bags and stock up.
And Norfolk is super cute, anyway. And the lengthy list of attractions, activities, and things to do in Norfolk, CT, is worth a visit in the summer, regardless.
Food Truck Festivals – Throughout Connecticut
Date: All Summer Long
There are too many food truck festivals to list in this short article. Suffice it to say you’ll find a weekend to tantalize your taste buds somewhere in Connecticut this summer.
The entertainment and food trucks might vary from festival to festival. But what you can depend on is a wide assortment of mouthwatering foods to sample from around the world, as well as your all-American favorites. Arrive hungry and indulge in both sweet and savory dishes that will have you heading to the treadmill as soon as you get home.
Here are a few dates you won’t want to miss:
- Connecticut Food Truck Wars Festival – Naugatuck – May 10 & 21, 2023
- New England Food Truck Fests at Waterford Beach – Waterford
- RBS Food Truck Festival – Orange – May 26, 2023
- Plainville hosts the New England Food Truck Fests at Lions Park – June 4, 2022
- Groton hosts the New England Food Truck Fests at Poquonnock Park
- Oakdale hosts the New England Food Truck Fests at Camp Oakdale
- Mystic hosts the New England Food Truck Fests at Mystic Hilton
- Naugatuck Food Truck Festival on The Green – Naugatuck
Where to discover even more summer activities in Connecticut
While summer festivals in CT are fantastic, there’s so much more to do throughout Connecticut.
A few personal favorite Connecticut summer activities include:
- CT summer concerts throughout the state
- Hitting-up a CT outdoor park or two, be it a state park or amusement park
- Imbibing a glass of wine or two at any of the top CT wineries
- Enjoying the sand and surf at one of the best Connecticut beaches
- Exploring Connecticut hiking trails (thanks to the advent of DEET)
- Attending a match at the Greenwich Polo Club, decked out in your summer party attire
And don’t forget to prepare for Labor Day weekend! Be sure to read our guides to: