THE SATISFYING, TIMELESS PLEASURES OF CONNECTICUT’S SUMMER AGRICULTURAL FAIRS
And for Those Looking for Outdoor Entertainment without Livestock, Other Festivals Celebrate Crafts, Early America and Much More
HARTFORD — July 1, 2005 — Since man first planted seeds and domesticated livestock, there have been celebrations of nature’s bounty and the harvest. Throughout Connecticut they take the form of agricultural fairs and it is simply inconceivable to imagine summer without them. In some towns and villages the tradition stretches back more than 100 years.
The formula is foolproof and timeless. Take a beautiful summer day and a collection of white-painted wooden barns and exhibit halls. Fill the barns with cows, sheep, goats and pigs and the halls with prize-winning tomatoes, potatoes, apples and peaches, pies and cookies, flowers, displays on bee-keeping and needlecraft and knitting. Add aged farmers and bright-faced 4-H kids driving teams of oxen and horses, lumberjacks with chain saws and axes, and parades of antique tractors and cars. Bring in live entertainment ranging from nationally-acclaimed country stars to chickens that count and a dizzying, noisy midway filled with spinning, twirling, stomach-wrenching rides and teenagers carrying enormous teddy bears that no one else ever wins. And don’t forget the food – the cotton candy, fried dough, fresh lemonade and complete dinners prepared by local civic groups. Finish with old-timers nostalgically saying Hasn’t changed a bit since I was a boy, and small children at the edge of sleep, sticky, damp, and dazzled by the excitement. And that’s it: the agricultural fair.
Many of Connecticut’s most popular fairs include 4-H competitions in which youngsters show off their calves, lambs or sheep as well arts and crafts shows, demonstrations of traditional crafts and skills, a petting zoo for little kids, even fireworks. Almost all feature entertainment, rides and games and endless varieties of food, from local kielbasa to fried clams. Here’s the line up for this summer:
- August 19-21: 104th Annual Hamburg Fair (860) 434-7333
- August 19-21: 69th Annual Hartford County 4-H Fair at the Four Town Fairgrounds, Somers (860) 570-9074
- August 19-21: 54th Annual Country Fair in Bridgewater (860) 354-4730
- August 20: 85th Annual Grange Fair in Norwich (860) 889-9598
- August 26-28: Chester Fair (860) 526-2402
- August 28: 73rd Annual Agricultural Fair in (203) 846-1840
- September 9-11: 81st Annual Bethlehem Fair (203) 266-5350
- September 23-25: 86th Annual Durham Fair, the state’s largest agricultural fair (860) 349-9495
In addition, Down on the Farm is a series of family drop-in programs related to farming techniques and farm life at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center offered now through October 30th. (203) 322-1646.
For those who prefer their summer entertainment without prize-winning produce or livestock, Connecticut’s summer line up includes numerous other events celebrating everything from village life in Early America to arts and crafts, railroads and sheep dogs. These include:
- July 15-17: 4th Annual Sheepdog Trail in Bloomfield, a major competition for the clever sheepdogs of the Northeast. Each dog must work a group of sheep through a grueling half mile course (860) 742-5300
- July 30-31: 41st Annual Canaan Railroad Days Craft Fair & Fireworks, with 60 crafters, live entertainment, food and fireworks (860) 435-9801
- July 30-31: 42nd Annual Art & Craft Show in Old Saybrook, with over 200 artists and crafters on display (860) 388-3266
- August 6: the 56th Annual Village Fair in Stonington, with books, arts and crafts, games, demonstrations, treasures and trifles (860) 535-2476
- August 14: the 11th Annual Early American festival – a Timeline in History, presented by the Stratford historical Society, with crafters recreating 18th century pieces, Revolutionary War, French and Indian War re-enactments, games, period music (203) 378-0630
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.