Summer Fun - Scenes
There are 100 days of summer in Connecticut. Here are some great events and festivals to enjoy throughout the season.
(To check out our editors' summer fun picks, click here.)
Craft Expo 2010, Guilford.
Sponsored by the Guilford Art Center, this annual summer craft expo has become Guilford’s most popular public event over the last 53 years, with more than 14,000 visitors attending from all over the country. Held July 15-17 on the town’s scenic, historic green (itself lined with 100 specially crafted 19th-century lampposts), 2010’s show will offer the usual winning combination of nationally juried decorative and functional artworks in all media—including ceramics, glass, metal, wood and wearable fiber as well as paintings and prints—along with a food court, silent auction and crafts activities for kids. Bonus attractions: Guilford’s vibrant downtown shops and restaurants, all just a few minutes’ walk away. For more info, call (203) 453-5947 or visit guilfordartcenter.org.
Pilot Pen Tennis, New Haven.
Will 2009 Men’s Singles champ Fernando Verdasco and two-time Women’s Singles champ Caroline Wozniacki return this year to defend their titles (for purses of $750,000 and $600,000 respectively)? At press time there were no guarantees, but as usual you can count on a panoply of entertainment extras: the New Haven Food & Wine Festival, the Vineyard Vines Ladies’ Day Luncheon and Fashion Show, the Lux Bond & Green Wine Tasting—not to mention Kids’ Day, evenings of live music, daily autograph sessions with the players and all kinds of food and shopping in the Sports Zone. Mark Aug. 20-28 in your calendars; tickets go on sale June 1. Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, 45 Yale Ave. For more info, call (888) 99-PILOT or visit pilotpentennis.com.
Surely the works of the Bard are timeless and seasonless. Yet there is something about them that inspires thespians to mount outdoor productions come summer, and we are the happy beneficiaries. This summer, followers of the Bard can see Othello courtesy of Shakespeare on the Sound, June 15-26 at Pinkney Park in Rowayton, and July 2-11 at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich (203/299-1300 or shakespeareonthesound.org); Henry V courtesy of Shakesperience Productions, June 17-19 and 24-26 in Library Park in Waterbury, Aug. 12-15 at the Stratford Arts Festival and Aug. 28 at McLaughlin Vineyards in Sandy Hook (203/754-2531 or shakesperienceproductions.org); and Twelfth Night courtesy of Connecticut Free Shakespeare at the Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo, July 16-18, 21-25 and 28-31, on the Guilford Green, Aug. 4-8, and on the Old Saybrook Town Green Aug. 12, 14 and 15 (203/393-3213 or freeshakespeare.org). Come early to picnic then enjoy the play.
The Levitt Pavilion, Westport.
It was a lucky thing for Westport and environs that the late Mortimer Levitt, a civic-minded summer resident and founder of New York’s Custom Shop Shirtmakers, delighted in outdoor music. This summer, the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, named in his honor, celebrates its 37th season on the banks of the Saugatuck River (behind the town library—public parking available). With a set format—Sun. jazz and big band, Tues. potpourri, Wed. children’s series, Thurs. classical & cabaret, Fri. party bands and Sat. blues/folk/rock—you’re guaranteed an exciting mix. Some highlights this summer are Aztec Two-Step (described as “James Taylor meets Simon & Garfunkel”), July 3; Bounce, Ooo La La & Daniel, juggling, unicycling, acrobatics, music and mime, July 14; Galvanized Jazz Band, July 25; Magic of Lyn, July 28; and River City Slim & the Zydeco Hogs, Aug. 7. So grab some folding chairs and beach blankets, fill up the picnic basket, pile the family into the car and come on down for a picnic on the lawn and a show under the stars. All performances except three fundraisers to benefit the pavilion are free. For a full calendar, call (203) 226-7600 or visit levittpavilion.com.
SONO Arts Celebration, Norwalk.
One of our favorite events of the summer is the SoNo Arts Celebration, on and around Washington Street in South Norwalk, which takes place this year on Aug. 7-8. We love the mix of fine arts and handcrafts—150 artists in all—painters, sculptors and photographers, along with crafters working in glass, fiber, wood, ceramics, jewelry/metalsmithing, fiber and mixed media. But that’s just the beginning: There will be more than 25 performing artists, groups and troupes entertaining all comers on three big stages into the night, street performers and children’s entertainers, tasty eats, a children’s art playground, and the not-to-be-missed giant-puppet parade on Sunday afternoon. For info, visit sonoarts.org.
Ives Concert Park, Danbury.
With its 40 wooded acres, pond, beautiful gardens and hiking trails, there can be few places lovelier than this one for whiling away a couple of hours listening to live music. On the docket this season are The Moody Blues, July 13; CAKE, July 15; Widespread Panic, July 23; Willie Nelson, July 31; and Garrison Keillor, Aug. 18. The Southern Connecticut Renaissance Festival continues on June 5-6 and 12-13, The Latin Music Festival’s on June 27, and an Ecuadorian Festival on Aug. 15. The U.S Air Force Band of Liberty performs for free July 4, at 2. And there’s lots more. For info, visit ivesconcertpark.com.
The Westport Fine Arts Festival, Westport.
A summer highlight for art lovers, takes place July 17-18. More than 140 juried artists (in oil, watercolor, acrylic, photography, sculpture) display their works along the banks of the Saugatuck River. This year, there is an expanded children’s area where budding creative types can try their hand at a variety of crafts, as well as musicians and performers all weekend. For info, call (203) 505-8716 or visit westportfineartsfestival.com.
SUMMERSTAGE 2010, West Hartford.
Broadway legends Elaine Stritch, Chita Rivera and Ben Vereen (pictured) light up Hartford Stage’s SummerStage 2010 series with solo shows—“Elaine Stritch—Singin’ Sondheim One Song at a Time,” June 17-20; “Chita Rivera: My Broadway,” June 22-27; and “An Evening with Ben Vereen,” July 16-11. Adding more heat is the Crossroad Theatre Company’s production of Sheila’s Day, Duma Ndlovu’s musical drama set in Alabama and South Africa during the 1960s, which runs July 21 through Aug. 15. Due to renovations at Hartford Stage, performances will take place at the Roberts Center Theatre at Kingswood-Oxford School, West Hartford. For more info, call (860) 527-5151 or visit hartfordstage.org.