Welcome to the unofficial start of Summer, to help get you into the spirit (we know it doesn’t feel like summer just yet), we have listed more than 150 Summer Fun Happenings across Hartford County to look forward to this Summer (June 21st – September 22nd), some of the reocurring events have already started. Remember, we don’t just cover events for kids, we also cover events for parents without their kids!
Kids get free Summer Bowling (already started), free Summer Movies with Bow Tie Cinemas (June 20th – August 16th) and Spotlight Cinemas, or $1 Movies at Cinemark Cinemas (6/19-8/28 – varies by theater) and even free outdoor movies such as: at the Bushnell (July 28 and August 25), the Shoppes at Farmington Valley in Canton, Elizabeth Park (6/22, 7/6, 8/24) West Hartford (Ballet Performance 7/22), Unionville (July 14, 28, August 11), South Windsor (Friday’s in July) and at Cedar Hill Cemetery on 8/24 in Hartford. Summer Reading Rewards can be found at Barnes & Noble and Chuck E. Cheese. Lake Compounce offers Good Grades Days but accept nothing less than 80% or a B (June 23-24).
For adult flicks, check out Summer Sizzle Under the Stars at the Wadsworth (July 7, 14, 21, August 11) and Flicks at the Shed (August 26th) at the Welles-Shipman-Ward House in South Glastonbury. Indoor flicks at Bristol Historical Society are always a nice alternative too.
Learn and craft on an imaginary road trip to seven of North America’s most fascinating museums at Michael’s this Summer! If you’re 5 to 12 years old, you won’t want to miss the tech-free crafts and cool stuff you’ll learn every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (June 16th – August 1st) this Summer.
If you’re looking for some free summer alternatives to camping, the Apple Store offers an Apple Camp where kids ages 8 to 12 can expand their digital creativity through hands-on projects with experts, locations in Farmington at WestFarms and in South Windsor at Evergreen Walk and The Microsoft Store at WestFarms also offers programs too!
Parents get free yoga classes in the park provided by VASU Tribe (6 days a week) and West Hartford Yoga throughout the summer (Wednesdays, June 7th – August 23rd & Saturdays June 10th – August 26th) as well as Yoga in the Street (Saturday, July 22nd) in West Hartford and Paddleboard Yoga Classes (not free) in Collinsville (7/6, 7/16, 7/30 and 8/5).
If you love cars shows we usually cover those too, from New Britain (June 17th), to the one at the Drive-In (not announced yet) but also Manchester’s Crusin’ on Main (August 4th) and Simsbury’s Fly-In and Car Show (September 17th) or Jets and Vettes (September 10th) in Windsor Locks and also one in West Hartford (June 25th).
Hartford Stage will be showing A Midsummer Night’s Dream (September 7 – October 8). Fade (June 1-30) and Raging Skillet (July 20 – August 27) are two plays you definitely want to check out at Theaterworks. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) – A Revised Edition (June 28 – July 30) will be playing at Playhouse on Park along with The Cat in the Hat (June 3 – 11) for young theater goers and On the Town in Simsbury. The Bushnell will offer Fun Home (June 20-25) and Finding Neverland (August 1-6). The 39 Steps (August 11-27) at Little Theatre of Manchester at Cheney Hall. Another small and local theater with some interesting summer theater offerings is HITW, Hole in the Wall. Connecticut Cabaret Theatre has a Musical Tribute to the Music of Frank Sinatra too (July 7 – August 5). Connecticut Theatre Company is presenting Priscilla Queen of the Desert (July 7-8, 14-16, 21-23) and Shadowlands (August 25-27, September 1-3).
I personally love outdoor events! Even though this isn’t persay an event for kids, they are absolutely kid-friendly! Thursday Nights on the Plaza, Creative Cocktail Hour at RAW – offered the third Thursday of every month, CT Landmarks which seasonally offers a Cultural Cocktail Hour or Sunset Sounds the second Thursday of every month and the No Good Market, which seasonally runs the second Thursday of the month. Imagine Main Street in Manchester runs the Third Thursday night of every month (through August).
Lake Compounce is offering Wine and Paint Classes (June 28, July 28, August 25) and a Hero Appreciation Day (July 14). The CT Wine, Beer and Art Trails are fun places to visit online to find out what to do offline – as well as a tour company to drive you there. Fun interactive passports are available for the wine trail as well as a pass to the museum trail.
Collinsville Hot (Saturday, July 15th) is always an awesome event to check out. I absolutely still want to Hike to the Mike (August 26-27) – it’s be on my to-do list for years now. The Taste of Enfield runs July 7-9th, the Taste of Simsbury is on August 31st and A Taste of Germany runs July 29-30. Cocktails in the Garden is on Friday, June 23rd at the Phelps-Hatheway House & Garden in Suffield. Beer, Wine, & Cocktails Fundraiser is on July 22nd at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor. Connecticut Science Center is putting on a Star Wars inspired, Green Galaxy Gala in East Hartford on September 16th. KNOX’s holds their annual Green Party on August 10th. And NBMAA hosts a Museum After Dark Program on June 30th. Support a good cause such as the Art Bra (August 10) in Plantsville too. Radio 104 Fest comes to Hartford on July 22nd.
Billy Grant’s hosts a Farm Dinner Series at Rose’s Berry Farm in South Glastonbury on three Friday’s (June 23, August 11 and September 15). Max’s offers Chef to Farm dinners all summer long! Farm to Table Fundraiser Dinners in South Glastonbury featuring Sayulita on the Farm Mex-A-Que on July 16th, Taino Farm to Smokehouse Dinner on August 6th and Killam & Bassette Pig Roast on September 16th.
ConnectiCon which is also a very fun and a family-friendly event in Hartford, which runs July 6-9.
Some events specific to kids are the Teddy Bear Picnic in West Hartford on July 19th, the Summer Entertainment Series in Plantsville on Tuesday nights starting June 27th. Summer Theater Programs that have performances that are open to the public are Avon (July 14, 21, 23), Newington (June 23-25, July 7-9, 28-30, August 11-13), and New Britain (July 28-30). Sources tell me that Pixelmania will be back at the CT Science Center this Summer to, last year it fell on August 13-14 and was one of their best attended events. Soar into Summer Fun (June 25-August 20) is also a really fun event at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks. Bristol also holds a Sail into Summer event on July 7th at Rockwell Park. And if your counting your four-legged child, they also have a Pooch Plunge on August 21st. Jumping Frog Jubilee at the Mark Twain House on Thursday, July 22nd at 1pm. Traveler’s Championship has a Family Day on Tuesday, June 20th from 7am – 1pm. Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton has Special Animal Demonstrations at 2pm (July 6, 20, August 3, 10). Connecticut Science Center is kicking off summer with a Curious George (June 24-25) weekend and later hosts a Martial Arts Day (August 19th). Quassy Amusement Park hosts their annual Irish Dance Competition (September 2-3) and a Carload Labor Day event on September 4th. Princess Teas are offered at Bushnell Park Carousel (July 9, August 13). Annual Farm Day (September 18) at the Welles-Shipman-Ward House in South Glastonbury. Dinosaur Park Day Celebration (August 20-21) is part of one of the stops on the Dino Trail.
Cooking might feel limited to grilling but it’s still a great time to get in some cooking classes and whether it’s for the kids like at Stew Leonard’s or for both adults and kids at Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table – get some new recipes under your belt at these interactive and tasty classes. And if you’re like me and enjoy eating out, especially locally and for a good cause, various LobsterFests like the one in Windsor (August 15th) and Canton (August 18-20) are terrific.
Lots of opportunities to run for a good cause like the Red Dress Run (July 8) and Night Nation Run (June 24) – a running musical festival, Momford County subscribers can save $5 by using promo code: HARTFORD, Riverfront Scramble Series (June 29, July 27 and August 24) at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza and Run for the Woods (September 9). The Bubble Run (Saturday, July 15th) Mud Run (September 2) and the Color Vibe 5K (has yet to announce their date) also seem like a blast!
Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours (June 23-34, July 28-29, August 25-26) or CLUE Mystery Tours (July 14, August 11 and September 8) at the Mark Twain House and Skygazing in Avon are also some unique and fun ways to get out. Usually the summer boasts a free slurpee day too!
Let’s not forget Summer Shopping, which includes tax free week Sunday, August 21st – Saturday, August 27th. The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor offers Summer savings at participating stores and restaurants when you present your promotional bag or mobile device every Monday-Wednesday. Pick up your free promotional bag at the Management Office today and tell them we sent you.
Of course, you have got to see a Summer Baseball Game – the New Britain Bees (noise upon clicking) or the Hartford Yard Goats, a Soccer Game with Hartford City – including a National Team, USA vs Ghana or Football.
We all need a parents night out, which is my version of the PTO and there are several places that offer them. New Britain Youth Museum, My Gym in West Hartford, Enfield and Glastonbury, The Little Green Tambourine in Canton, Romp n’ Roll in Wethersfield to name a few. In addition, what to do when these nights are available, leads us to some suggestions. No sitter? No problem! We have that info too!
The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival (June 21, July 9 and 19, August 6 and 16) is also a staple event in Farmington – they are also celebrating their 25th anniversary this summer.
Fireworks – it wouldn’t be Summer without fireworks and while my favorite is the Talcott Mountain Music Festivals (June 30, July 7, 14, 21 and 28), there is also great displays at Quassy (3-D), Lake Compounce (July 1), Windsor Locks (July 7) and in Enfield (July 9) – the above mentioned baseball games also have many opportunities for post-game fireworks.
Outdoor concerts are a must have over the summer, Talcott Mountain Music Festival has five over the Summer, Hartford Jazz Society (July 10, 17, 24, 31, August 7, 14) also puts on six at Bushnell Park, the Riverfront (July 1, 6, 8, 20, 27, 29, August 26) and the Connecticut Historical Society has two Outdoor & Cultural Concerts (July 20, August 17) both in Hartford, and of course at Elizabeth Park (June 28, July 5, 12, 19, 26, August 2, 9, 16). West Hartford boasts Shakespeare in Blue Back Square (June 28) and Love’s Labour’s Lost (July 13-16, 20-23, 27-30) at the University of Saint Joseph Bruyette Atheneum (indoors). Riverfront Swing Nights runs on July 1 at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza and July 8th at Great River Park. Rooftop120 is hosting Havana Nights the last Thursday night of June-August. Farmington Bank (June 22-September 18) offers ample across the county. A lunchtime, outdoor concert is offered in Hartford from 12:30-1:30pm on Wednesdays (until August 30th).
Farmington (July 7, September 8), Southington (Wednesday’s June 21 – September 6), Bristol, Glastonbury (July 5, 12, 19 and 26), Canton, Newington (June 22, 29, July 6, 13, 14, 20, 27), Windsor (Thursday, July 6 – August 17), Manchester, Simsbury (July 9 and August 26th), South Windsor (Thursday’s June 22 – August 17) and Bloomfield are just some of the many towns who offer free concerts over the summer.
Fairs make the season right – Greater Hartford Latino Fest (June 24), Riverfront Food Truck Festival (July 6-8), Dragon Boat & Asian Festival (August 19) and the Taste of the Caribbean & Jerk Festival (August 5) to name just a few in Hartford. But there is also the Plainville Fire Company’s Hot Air Balloon Fest (August 25-27), the Farm Fest (September 4) in Suffield, the Wapping Fair (September 7-10) in South Windsor and the Harvest Festival (September 8) in Suffield. We went to the Pirate’s Festival (September 3-4) in Enfield and had a blast – it also includes food trucks. The Mandell JCC holds their Annual Big Wheel Derby over the Summer too! We went two years ago and had a great time, another way to bust out the bike or scooters for the kids, if their not getting enough in. Elizabeth Park is also the home to the International Day of Peace Celebration (September 17). The Berlin Fair runs from Friday, September 15th – Sunday, September 17th, The Newington Extravaganza runs from Wednesday, July 12th – Saturday, July 15th and Bristol’s Rockwell Park Summer Festival runs on August 19. Pridefest is now week-long (September 6-10).
Check back as we update often, if we missed an event please comment below or submit your event here.