Top Fun Events Coming To Connecticut This Winter

December 15, 2014 7:00 AM

Not everyone in Connecticut likes the great outdoors in winter. For those who eschew skiing, sledding, skating and other snowy activities, there are still plenty of options where entire families can go to have fun, be entertained, look at and sample all kinds of cool stuff. Whether it is last-minute Christmas shopping or Valentine’s browsing, planning a wedding or contemplating a home remodel, or just a day with fun stuff for kids, there are many inexpensive and wonderful events on hand that make it worth your while for a family to get off the couch, get out of the house and go do something fun.

Chester Holiday Market
Chester Center
Main Street
Chester CT 06412
(860) 790-5007

Date: Now through Dec. 21, 2014

While most holiday markets are over by mid-December, the Chester Holiday Market keeps on going right up until the last Sunday before Christmas. Hours are only from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., “because it’s chilly out there!” as organizers only half-jokingly note. Chester has a vibrant Sunday market community in the summer and early fall, and the holiday market that replaces it during the Thanksgiving to Christmas season is more about crafts and merchandise than about locally grown and artisan foods. Many local shops, restaurants and bakeries participate in both the summer and holiday markets, but the latter includes more crafts people among the list of vendors. Many of the merchants on Main Street are also open during the holiday market.

Connecticut Bridal Expo
Hartford Convention Center
100 Columbus Blvd
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 918-0891

Date: Jan. 3-4, 2015

On the weekend of January 3 and 4, the Hartford Convention Center will present its annual Connecticut Bridal Expo. It is billed by organizers as the biggest bridal show on the East Coast – “and quite possibly in the country.” Everything a bride and her wedding party and parents need can be found under the Convention Center’s massive roof. There are dresses galore, fashion shows, wedding planners, representatives from wedding venues, caterers, jewelers and even travel agents who can help plan the honeymoon.

Hartford Spring Home Show
XL Center (formerly Civic Center)
1 Civic Center Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103
(855) 449-4107

Date: Jan. 23-25, 2015

The weekend of January 23, 2015, Spring Home Show returns to Hartford. Hundreds of exhibitors will be there in the former Civic Center (now renamed the XL Center) to display merchandise and services for landscaping, interior and exterior remodeling, renovating and decorating for the home. Many vendors offer free demonstrations of their products, and many visitors come just to see the displays and vignettes created for the show.

Related: Top 2014-2015 College Productions In Connecticut

Big Y Kids Fair
Hartford Convention Center
100 Columbus Blvd
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 563-2111

Date: Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2015

Magicians, dancers, musicians and even a few “mad scientists” provide just some of the entertainment at the annual Big Y Kids Fair, to be held January 31 and February 1 at the Hartford Convention Center. The 11th annual fair is thoroughly kid-oriented, right down to the petting zoo and pony rides, but while the little ones have fun, their parents can look at, explore and learn about the latest products and services for the family, including such serious services as foster care and speech therapy. The focus, however, is on fun and kids, with toys, balloons, children’s versions of NASCAR, trampolines and just about anything a visitor can imagine that will entertain, enrich and inform children and their parents.

The Bristol Chocolate Expo and Craft Show
Doubletree Hilton Hotel
Century Drive
Bristol CT 06010
(860) 597-4835

Date: Feb. 7, 2015

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the annual Bristol Chocolate Expo and Craft Show arrives at the new Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Bristol on February 7. The theme of the one-day event this year is “Savor the Sensations,” and by those sensations the organizers mean all things chocolate, from candies and pastries to beer and ice cream. In between gorging on chocolate, visitors can meet and talk with all manner of craftsmen and vendors, from those selling artisan soaps to cozy comforters. Bakers, wood carvers, coffee roasters and coupon mavens will be in attendance, as will be potters, face painters and more, all of whom will make for a sweet time for any family of chocoholics.

Related: Top Cheap Holiday Escapes Near 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