There is a month left to go this summer, still time for families to have some outdoor fun before schoolwork and cooler weather takes over. Connecticut is ending the season with a number of festivals that offer food, games and entertainment for residents across the state. So before Labor Day gets here gather the whole family and have a blast at one of these great events.
Riverfront Dragon Boat & Asian Festival
Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
300 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 713-3131

Date: Aug. 20, 2016 at 8 a.m.

One of the best dragon boat festivals in the country makes its return to Hartford’s Riverfront Plaza in August. Dozens of teams will compete in a race down the Connecticut River, occupying the long 22-seat dragon boats that are led by a “drummer” who conducts the members’ paddling. Other attractions include food stations serving up popular ethnic dishes, an Asian beer garden, and martial arts demonstrations. Admission is free, but those wishing to participate in the dragon boat race must pay a registration fee.

Milford Oyster Festival
Downtown & Harbor
2 Broad St.
Milford, CT 06460
(203) 878-5363

Date: Aug. 20, 2016 at 10 a.m.

You will encounter more oysters and clams at this annual Milford festival than you’ll know what to do with; more than 35,000 presented by the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association at Fowler Field and the Lisman Landing Harbor Stage. There will also be plenty of non-seafood fare along with craft beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages. Take a cruise on a 19th-century schooner, enjoy the amusement park rides, view a classic car show, or play with the oversized toys at Armory Square. The main stage will feature performances by the Marshall Tucker Band and (of course) Blue Oyster Cult.

New Haven Jazz Festival
New Haven Green
202 Temple St.
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 773-494

Date: Aug. 27, 2016 at 6 p.m.

For an evening of great music, grab a large blanket to spread across the New Haven Green and take in the sounds of the city’s annual jazz festival. Produced by the nonprofit organization Jazz Haven, the free event brings together musicians both local and national, amateur and professional. This year‘s bill includes the Neighborhood Music School Premier Jazz Ensemble followed by the Mitch Frohman Latin Jazz Quartet and the Christian Sands Quartet. The festival will also host artisans displaying and selling their crafts as well as food vendors.

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Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival
Norton Park
197 South Washington St.
Plainville, CT 06062
(860) 747-2521

Date: Aug. 26, 2016 at 5 p.m.

Sponsored each year by the Plainville Fire Company, this hot air balloon festival lasts for three days. On Friday evening it kicks off with live music and a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Get to Norton Park early on Saturday for the balloon launch at 6 a.m. and stay the rest of the day for the classic car show and craft fair, with another balloon launch in the evening. The final launch takes place Sunday at 6 a.m. before the festival concludes mid-morning. Admission to this 32nd annual event is free.

Craft And BBQ Festival
Congregation Beth El
1200 Fairfield Woods Road
Fairfield, CT 06825
(203) 374-4962

Date: Aug. 28, 2016 at 11 a.m.

Lots of hot tasty barbeque, from burgers and hot dogs to brisket and pulled pork will be served at this late summer festival. Meanwhile competitive eaters can take part in hot dog and pickle eating contests. Vendors will be selling their homemade jewelry and artwork, some of which will also be given away in a raffle. Rounding out the festivities will be musicians, dancers, and a variety of childrens games and activities. Instead of an admission fee, Organizers ask all families who attend to bring two canned goods that will be donated to the charity Operation Hope.

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Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on