By Joshua Palmes
Depending on your perspective, Labor Day marks either the unofficial last weekend of summer or the beginning of autumn. But no matter how you see it, it’s a great time to spend outdoors in Connecticut. Some of the state’s best annual fairs and festivals occur that weekend, so gather your friends or family and experience one of these holiday events together.
289 Route 169
Woodstock, CT 06281
Date: Friday, Sep. 1 through Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 at 9 a.m.
The annual Woodstock Fair has a history that dates back 200 years and is now Connecticut’s second oldest agricultural fair. Exhibitors will showcase their cattle, sheep, poultry and other livestock, while farmers will try to impress with their giant pumpkins, watermelons and tomatoes. State residents may also enter the fair’s quilting and apple pie-baking contests for cash prizes. Local artisans will display their crafts, jewelry, paintings and photography an the main stage will host live music each night. Admission prices are $12 though kids 10 and under may enter for free.
Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts
40 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880
Date: Saturday, Sept. 2 through Sunday, Sept. 3 at 10 a.m.
Returning for its tenth year, this Westport festival promises two days of sizzling music and food. This year’s performers will include blues singer-guitarist Selwyn Birchwood, Connecticut jam band Alpaca Gnomes, soulful New York group Lizzie & the Makers, and the New Orleans outfits Galactic and Bonerama. Food trucks and stands will be selling hot dogs, grilled cheese, seafood, ice cream and craft beer. The highlight is Saturday’s BBQ Competition, where you can enter to judge the best wings, ribs and chicken in the state. Tickets may be purchased here.
Haddam Neck Fair
Haddam Neck Fairgrounds
26 Quarry Hill Road
East Hampton, CT 06424
Date: Friday, Sep. 1 through Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 at 4 p.m.
This popular agricultural fair returns with something for everyone to participate in. Truck and tractor pulls take place over the first three nights while the 5K Road Race will be held Sunday morning. And the weekend will feature numerous contests where state residents can show off skills such as baking, flower arranging, photography, gardening, livestock-raising, jam-making and even beard-growing. And of course everybody can enjoy the live music, rides, animal shows and concessions. Admission is free for kids 12 and under and $8 for everybody else.
Historic Festival 35
Lime Rock Park
60 White Hollow Road
Lakeville, CT 06039
Date: Thursday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 at 4 p.m.
State auto enthusiasts won’t want to miss Lime Rock Park’s annual Historic Festival. The event begins Thursday at 4 p.m. with the 17-mile Vintage Race Car & Sports Car Parade followed by a festive street fair in Falls Village. Thrilling car races between vintage models happen Friday, Saturday and Monday. Sunday features a break from racing with the Concours d’Elegance and Gathering of the Marques, two showcases for hundreds of beautiful classic cars. The day will conclude with a vehicle auction to commemorate Lime Rock Park’s 60th anniversary. Weekend passes cost $125 or you may purchase tickets for individual days.
116 Old Midddle St.
Goshen, CT 06756
Date: Saturday, Sept. 2 through Sunday, Sept. 3 at 8 a.m.
The Goshen Fair returns for its 105th year with entertainment and activities for children and adults. Among the weekend’s attractions will be truck pulls, circus acts, horse shows and demonstrations on pumpkin carving, basket weaving, and woodcutting. A number of contests – from hay bale-tossing to apple fritter-eating – will be held as well. Music acts including Junior Krauss and the Shakes, Soul Sound Revue, and Aquanett will perform on the main stage, and a giant fireworks show takes place Saturday night. Admission is $10 except for kids 12 and under, who may enter at no charge.
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