There’s a magic in the air when there’s a crispness in a breeze with the tinge of snow on the horizon. It’s what helps make Connecticut so special during the winter.
Aside from the million reasons it’s incredible in the warmer months, of course
What better way to celebrate the new season than to attend one of the many winter festivals in CT with lots of fun activities? It allows families to get together, take a stroll wrapped in warm scarves, and drink some hot chocolate.
There’s always something for everyone:
- The little ones can enjoy face painting
- Mom can relax in a carriage ride
- Dad can be in awe of ice sculptures
- And the whole family can enjoy pictures with Santa
The decorated streets and incredible foods stationed around make for fantastic afternoons.
The top winter fairs and festivals in CT
There are many holiday-specific festivals around the state.
Is December not a good time for you to get away?
Fear not: You can enjoy these festivals throughout winter.
Holly Berry Festival
One of the first winter festivals of the season, on November 22nd, take your family to the Holly Berry Festival at the Sacred Heart Academy. The event offers free admission to all.
Kids can have their photo taken with Santa, and the parents can enjoy the baked goods, along with the pasta dinner and other fun activities.
Greenwich Holiday Stroll Weekend
You and your loved ones will not want to miss the Greenwich Holiday Stroll Weekend.
- Hop on a complimentary carriage ride
- Witness a live nativity scene featuring real animals
- And relax to holiday music performances
If you’re someone who likes to see lots of different things, you can check out the ice carving and test some of the food from the local trucks. The best part is the festival takes place Saturday, December 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, December 3 from noon to 5 p.m. in downtown Greenwich. That means you can do some holiday shopping while the kids are checking out the events. Local businesses even offer discounts for shoppers to share the holiday magic!
This annual event kicks-off the Greenwich Reindeer Festival, which lasts through December.
Kent Gingerbread Festival
The annual Kent Gingerbread Festival returns in December.
Walking from shop to shop in Kent, admiring holiday gingerbread creations, is as quaint as the holidays can get.
The Tunnel of Lights and Winterfest
Festival of Trees and Traditions at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
What started as a fundraising event in 1974, the Festival of Trees and Traditions at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art has turned into a gathering to celebrate the holiday season.
Visitors can enjoy the works of local artists and businesses and donate decorated trees and wreaths. All donations will be displayed at the galleries, showcasing the generosity of community members.
The festival will take place from December 1 to December 3, and then again from December 6 to 10 at 600 Main St., Hartford, CT.
Newtown Holiday Festival
What says Christmas more than a holiday trolley ride, gingerbread house contest, and a festival of trees? Head over to Newtown to celebrate the holiday season with fun for the whole family. Your kid will likely be most in awe over the Polar Express or the Nutcracker Suite Ballet. There’s also a historic house tour for everyone to see the beauty of history and timeless decorations
The Newtown Holiday festival takes place on Saturday, December 3 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at 25 Main St., Newtown, CT.
Bethlehem Christmas Town Festival
Bethlehem’s Christmas Town Festival is a highly anticipated holiday event for locals. Families can enjoy such winter activities as:
- Ride the Christmas Town Train
- Get their faces painted
- Hop on a hayride
- Enjoy the cookie sale
- Relax to live music
- And check out the craft and food vendors
This winter festival runs on Friday, December 1 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, December 2 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m at Town Green, Junction of Rte. 61 and Rte. 132, Bethelehem, CT.
Winterfest at Mystic Aquarium
The festive spirit fills Mystic Aquarium from December 26 to January 1. Watch as artisans fashion incredible ice sculptures, elves play with the animals in the pond, and take in some local entertainment. When you create your very own snowflake creation, you’ll be able to bring a bit of Winterfest home with you.
Winterfest at Ski Sundown
- Meeting Olaf from Frozen
- Live music
- And live ice sculpting demonstrations
Chester Winter Carnivale
Chester Winter Carnivale may be the most highly attended of the winter festivals that take place in Connecticut. Attendees can watch a tractor parade, shop the local gallery, and check out the local specials. One of the most highly anticipated events is the Chilly Chili Cook-off, where guests can witness a good ole ingredients throw-down. After their stomachs are rumbling, they can check out many street eats and treats available.
Ice carving, face painting, and other entertainment will also be available. The festival takes place on Sunday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Chester, CT center.
It’s one of the best things to do in Connecticut in February, for obvious reasons.
We hope you have a great start to your winter festivities!
Keep your calendar busy after the winter festivals in CT with even more winter fun
There’s more to winter than just December.
That said, there’s a wide variety of attractions, activities and things to do in Connecticut in December. Be sure to read our free guide before you bundle-up!
But any time in the winter is perfect for enjoying Connecticut winter activities; from sleigh riding to ice skating, and everything in between.
Every corner of the state hosts elegantly charming places for winter getaways. From Chester to Greenwich and Litchfield, Connecticut, you’re sure to find the perfect spot. Don’t miss our guide to winter in Greenwich, CT, for proof.
Stay warm, and enjoy keeping cabin fever at bay!