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In Case You Missed It: Can't Miss Summer Events

By and

Published June 4, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated June 4, 2024 at 10:27 a.m.

The Queen greets a young subject at the Vermont Renaissance Faire - COURTESY OF VERMONT GATHERINGS
  • Courtesy of Vermont Gatherings
  • The Queen greets a young subject at the Vermont Renaissance Faire

Fourteen weeks separate Memorial Day and Labor Day, the unofficial start and end of summer, respectively. That sounds like a lot of time, but don’t be fooled: Summer will go by in a flash. It always does.

Best, then, to take full advantage and pack your days with everything that makes summer in Vermont great: creemees, swimming holes, cookouts and, of course, summer fairs, festivals, concerts and other events that keep us breezin’ through the season.

Vermont Renaissance Faire

Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Junction. $5-30; free for kids under 6.

Grab your swords and turkey legs and start practicing your best spells and sonnets now, because the Vermont Renaissance Faire is back in town — er, towne. Pirates, princesses, jesters and jokers of every age find all sorts of medieval merriment over two days of revelry presented by Vermont Gatherings at the Champlain Valley Exposition.

Every installment of this annual festival draws entertainments such as music, dancing, acrobatics, historical demonstrations, an artisan alley of authentic craftspeople and merchants, and samples of mead and cider made all over the state. Last year's lineup featured the real live jousting of Equus Nobilis; the comedic stylings of the Ladies of Integrity, Aristocracy, Repute, and Society (L.I.A.R.S.); ancient Celtic drumming from Cu Dubh; mischievous antics and stunts by the Pirates of Fortune's Folly; readings from father-daughter psychic duo Lord Fafnir & Spawn; and demonstrations of sword fighting, armor repair, camp cooking and fiber arts from the Brotherhood of the Arrow and Sword.

Costumes are far from required, but they sure are fun. Whether you've had a tunic handsewn by your local seamstress or just plan to dig your old Lord of the Rings costume out of the closet, the whole family can enjoy hopping back in time for a weekend at the faire.

— E.H.

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Waterbury Arts Fest: The quaint town of Waterbury transforms into an open-air gallery and street fair at this annual family-friendly festival. July 12 and 13, downtown Waterbury. Free.

Festival of Fools: Musicians, acrobats, circus performers and others descend on the Queen City for a raucous street festival featuring more than 100 live performances. August 2 to 4, downtown Burlington. Free.

Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival: Beat the heat with cool new films by first- and second-time filmmakers. August 21 to 25, various locations, Middlebury. $14-143.

Vermont State Fair

Tuesday, August 13, to Saturday, August 17, Vermont State Fairgrounds, Rutland. Admission TBA.
  • Courtesy of Donna Wilkins Photography

Beginning on August 13, rural Vermonters will show off their prize pigs, heavenly horses and blue-ribbon bovines at one of the oldest agricultural events in the country: the Vermont State Fair in Rutland. Now in its 178th year, the fair will feature a rodeo, motorcycle racing, a demolition derby, and a horse-mounted shooting competition with local cowboys and cowgirls. Toss in a heaping portion of sausages, fries, maple creemees and whirly carnival rides — not necessarily in that order — and you've got all the makings of timeless summer fun.

Headlining this year is country singer-songwriter Tyler Hubbard, of Florida Georgia Line fame. Also on the bill is a Back to the Future-like throwback to the quainter yesteryear of neon clothes, big hair and synth pop: "Abducted by the '80s," featuring musical guests Wang Chung, A Flock of Seagulls, Naked Eyes and Animotion. If, like many of us, you're old enough to remember the '80s, there is always something there to remind you.

— K.P.

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Franklin County Field Days: For a true agricultural fair experience, head to the county with the most farmland in Vermont. Don't worry: You'll find plenty of rides and fair food, too. August 1 to 4, Franklin County Fair Grounds in Highgate. $15.

Champlain Valley Fair: Come for the pig races, giant gourds and fried dough; stay for the demolition derby and concerts by the likes of Flo Rida, the Gin Blossoms and Cole Swindell. Beware the Ring of Fire. August 23 to September 1, Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Junction. $6-185.

Tunbridge World's Fair: Country fairs don't get much more authentic than this Orange County classic. September 12 to 15, Tunbridge Fairgrounds. $15-50; free for kids under 12.

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