5 summer festivals to check out in Connecticut  

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A picture of the South Windsor Strawberry Festival. The festival includes many activities and vendors, most related to strawberries in some way. The festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary on June 11. Photo courtesy of the South Windsor Strawberry Festival Website.

Spring Weekend may be over, but summer is well on its way. Summer festivals are a great way to experience some local flair, whether that be through history, music or food. Here are some Connecticut festivals to add to your bucket list this summer:  

Strawberry Festival 

What’s neat about the Strawberry Festival is that it’s not limited to one town — it’s celebrated all over Connecticut! I’m most familiar with South Windsor’s Strawberry Festival, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary on June 11. Admission and parking are free, and there will be plenty of strawberry-themed foods to indulge in: strawberry soda, jam and shortcake are all guaranteed to make an appearance.  

The event has a craft fair component, with vendors encouraged to bring strawberry-themed items. Plus, there’s the classic Miss Strawberry Pageant where you can watch some adorable children on the runway.  

Silk City Fest  

Silk City Fest, a showcase of art, music and beer, will be held in downtown Manchester on Aug. 27. Performers include Evie Joy, Audio Jane, Pocket Vinyl and Someone You Can Xray. Run by the volunteer group Art FUD, the event celebrates local artists; you can usually find a booth run by groups like The Firestone Art Studio, where you can pick up some pottery or try a DIY project.  

A photo of the Knight’s Encampment show for the Robin Hood’s Medieval Faire. The festival showcases dozens of shows including performances and performers of all types. Photo from Robin Hood’s Medieval Faire website.

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz 

Every year, thousands of music lovers are drawn to Bushnell Park for the Greater Hartford Jazz Festival. On top of the large lineup, there will be plenty of food trucks and local artisans to check out. This year, the festival runs from July 15-17, offering hot and cool jazz against the scenic backdrop of Hartford’s skyline.  

West Hartford Summer Arts Festival  

WHSAF is not your typical summer festival; the organization welcomes high school and college students to participate in a production of a famous musical or play. After seeing them put on “Legally Blonde” in 2019, I brought friends to watch “Mamma Mia” with me last summer. They were skeptical at first, but in awe by the end of the show — WHSAF does unexpectedly high-caliber productions. It’s an affordable local option if you can’t make it to Broadway.  

If being in the audience isn’t your thing, auditions are currently running for this year’s production of “Something Rotten.” 

Robin Hood’s Medieval Faire 

Speaking of “Something Rotten,” Robin Hood’s Faire in Harwinton is sure to give off a similar vibe. It’s the sister fair to the Connecticut Renaissance Faire and runs from May 21 to July 3. General admission is $15 and attendees are encouraged to show up in costume.  

The event aims to put on an enchanted version of the old-world spring festival; there will be jousting knights, turkey legs galore and archery stations to test out your skills. Every weekend has a different theme. You can cosplay and dice-roll during Tabletop Heroes weekend or show off a furry friend during Ultimutt Dog weekend.  

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