Top Fall Festivals In Connecticut

September 5, 2016 2:00 PM

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Fall is festival time in Connecticut, and many towns and cities host unique weekend gatherings where artists, craftsmen, farmers, restaurateurs, entertainers and others can display their wares and show off their talents.  Some of these festivals offer even more, from Tall Ships and lighted night-time boat parades to demonstrations of antique steam engines and other old-time machinery. Some of these festivals also raise money for good causes, including keeping museums going and funding women’s shelters and other services.  Here are just five of this year’s Top Fall Festivals in Connecticut.

Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival
239 Bank St.
New London, CT 06320
(860) 447-2519

September 9-11

Every September the Tall Ships and many other historic and important vessels come to the New London waterfront for the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival. Just as last year’s festival honored the U.S. Coast Guard, this year’s gathering pays its respects to the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Base New London, which was founded 100 years ago in nearby Groton. Visitors can take tours of many of the great ships, and many civilian boat owners also come to show off their water craft. There are many land-based activities as well, with food, music, games and artisans’ displays, puppet theaters and more. The highlight of the festival is the nightly boat parade.

Milford Arts Council MAC Fest
Center for the Arts
40 Railroad Ave S.
Milford, CT 06460
(203) 878-6647

September 17, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

“Be a Part of Art” is the theme for this year’s annual Milford Arts Council festival.  Dozens of juried artists and craftsmen, along with many other vendors will display their arts, crafts and other wares. There are workshops for aspiring artists and crafters, sidewalk chalk art contests, and performances by actors, singers, musicians, dancers and others in the performing arts.  There is also food aplenty and a few other surprises, including a teen flash mob to experience.

Olde Mystick Village Garlic Festival
Olde Mystick Village
Exit 90 off I-95
27 Coogan Blvd
Mystic, CT 06355
(860) 536-4941

September 17-18,  11 a.m.- 7 p.m. (6 p.m. on Sunday)

The ninth annual Garlic Festival at Olde Mystick Village celebrates all things garlic of course, but vendors and artisans are not restricted to products made from that powerful relative of the onion. Local farms, bakeries and restaurants will present their wares for sampling and purchase, which means there will be plenty of jams and jellies, pies and cheeses, ice cream and other treats. At least 70 vendors are signed up for this year’s festival. The village is also home to 60 stores and shops, which will also be open for shoppers and diners.

Related: Top Spots to Go Apple Picking Near Connecticut

CAMA Kent Fall Festival
Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Musem
31 Kent-Cornwall Road (Route 7)
Kent, CT  06757
(860) 927-0050

September 23-25, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily

Every year the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association shows off its, well, antique machinery, on the grounds of its museum in Kent. Various steam engines, including a train, will be put through their paces and there are demonstrations of an antique saw mill (which will saw through piles of logs) and other farm and industrial machinery. There are blacksmith, log-sawing and ax-skill contests, as well as lots and lots of great food. The culinary highlight every year is the spaghetti and meatballs picnic dinner on Friday night, which runs from 5:30 until 7 p.m.  There will be numerous other opportunities for visitors to snack their way through the festival, at which many local vendors also have booths.

Carnival of Shadows (& Food Truck Festival)
Ives Concert Park
43 Lake Avenue Extension
Danbury CT 06811
(203) 426-9193

October 8,  5 p.m.-10 p.m.

This “dark carnival” to which ticketed visitors are requested to wear costumes is a spooky one-night pre-Halloween festival which helps raise funds for the Women’s Center of Danbury.  If knowing that a portion of the proceeds goes to that worthy cause is not enough to draw attendees, there are magicians, street performers, carnival games, and a dark walk-through maze to enjoy. There is also a Voodoo Village Crafter’s Expo and Master Illusionist Aedryan Methyus will perform. The carnival is also paired with the annual Food Truck Festival, and there will be crafters, vendors and street performers to enjoy.

Related: Top Fall Festivals In Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

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