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Seven Vermont Events for Your Summertime Calendar

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Addison County Fair & Field Days - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Addison County Fair & Field Days

Despite the challenges of the past 15 months, many Vermont performing arts and entertainment organizations are persisting. We daresay some are offering their most creative programming yet, swapping traditional venues for unconventional locales and offering particularly lighthearted entertainment.

We've compiled a list of seven events and series that locals can look forward to in the coming months. This small sampling covers a range of geographic regions and genres, including music, theater, food, drink — and even an annual gathering of self-proclaimed fools. For more Green Mountain State happenings, browse Seven Days' online calendar.

Bandwagon Summer Series

Select dates and times, May through October, at various Windham County locations. Prices vary for individual events; $250-450 for series pass; free for kids under 12.

Who says you need a brick-and-mortar venue to put on an eclectic cultural performance series? Next Stage Arts' Bandwagon Summer Series brings music, dance and more to Windham County ball fields, farms and parks throughout the season.

In this lineup, variety is the name of the game. Among the musical acts are New England folk favorite Dar Williams on June 19, innovative chamber quartet Brooklyn Rider on July 17, and Arkansas-raised Delta Blues and soul group Rev. Sekou & the Freedom Fighters on August 12.

Seeking dance? Check out Boston-based tap company Subject:Matter on July 10. Circus arts? Mark your calendar for awe-inspiring feats from Brattleboro's Nimble Arts on July 24.

No matter your taste, this series proves that performing arts of all kinds can thrive outside of theater walls. Visit Next Stage Arts' website for the full schedule.

Trucks, Taps and Tunes

Wednesdays, June 16 through August 25, 5-8 p.m., at the Essex Experience in Essex Junction. Free.

Not to get all Chandler Bing, but could there be a better combo than good eats, palate-pleasing beers and live music?

About to enter its third season, Trucks, Taps and Tunes offers these three good-time essentials in spades. Each Wednesday, the Essex Experience Green serves as the grounds for a mini festival featuring food trucks, a beer trailer and live bands.

Wagyu Wagon, Lake Champlain Chocolates and Conscious Eatz are just a few of the vendors scheduled to feed revelers.

"Our goal is to rotate the trucks week to week so Essex gets a chance to try it all," said Essex Experience campus events manager Tim Cece.

Musical acts will change each week, as well. Attendees can expect local favorites such as funk band Sputoola and indie folksters Two Stroke Motors, both of Burlington.

And beer isn't the only beverage on the menu. "We're making sure there are drinks for everyone in the family too," assures Cece.

Vermont Renaissance Faire

Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at Mayo Events Field in Stowe. $5-15; free for kids under 6.

Hear ye, hear ye! The Vermont Renaissance Faire returns to Stowe after a year off, bringing along storytellers, wizards and even a unicorn.

Folks who step on the Mayo Events Field feel like they've been transported to another time and place as they encounter medieval encampments, jousting demos and horseback archery, as well as more than 20 new and returning performance troupes.

Visitors can take a piece of history home with them, thanks to more than 50 Vermont and New England craft vendors who peddle their wares.

A mead garden, international fare and, of course, turkey legs keep spirits high.

Costumes are encouraged at this family-friendly fest.

Festival of Fools

Kif-Kif Sisters at the Festival of Fools - COURTESY OF ANDREW B. KREBBS
  • Courtesy Of Andrew B. Krebbs
  • Kif-Kif Sisters at the Festival of Fools
Friday, July 30, through Sunday, August 1, in downtown Burlington. Free.

What better way to shake off those quarantine blues than laughing and cheering your way through the Festival of Fools?

This annual downtown blowout celebrates the art of street theater. International and local performers serve up music, comedy and circus arts from outdoor stages on the Church Street Marketplace and in City Hall Park.

Now in its 14th year, Burlington's Festival of Fools is "the longest-running festival of its kind devoted to busking and street theater in the U.S.," founder and artistic director Woody Keppel told Seven Days in 2018.

Presenters Burlington City Arts and Community Bank N.A. have yet to announce the full 2021 lineup, but past acts have included theatrical Canadian twins the Kif-Kif Sisters, acrobats from Québec's Flip École de Cirque, and Vermont aerialists Nicole Dagesse and Natalie Cronin.

Addison County Fair & Field Days

Tuesday, August 10, through Saturday, August 14, at Addison County Fairgrounds in New Haven. $5-12; $15-45 for season pass; free for kids 5 and under.

As summer enters its home stretch, agricultural fairs typically crop up across the state. In rural New Haven, the Addison County Fair & Field Days showcases homegrown products and offers plenty of good old-fashioned fun.

Five days of programming include a little something for everyone. Animal lovers ooh and aah over ox-pulling, sheep-shearing demos and the children's barnyard. Mechanically minded folks get in gear for antique equipment demonstrations, a hand-mowing contest and high-octane demolition derbies.

For a taste of the Green Mountain State, diners can sit down to the Vermont Products Dinner, which features entrées, desserts and beverages from local producers. Three seatings take place in the dining hall on opening day.

Rides, midway games, live entertainment and classes round out the large-scale exhibition.

'Million Dollar Quartet'

Select dates and times August 11 through September 12, at Courtyard Theater in White River Junction. $19-45.

Here's a challenge: Try to get through an entire performance of the musical Million Dollar Quartet without dancing in your seat.

"Blue Suede Shoes," "Great Balls of Fire" and "I Walk the Line" are just a few of the classic rock-and-roll numbers that propel White River Junction theater company Northern Stage's production of this Tony Award-winning play.

Penned by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, the show takes audience members behind the scenes of a legendary 1956 jam session with musical stars Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins at Memphis, Tenn., recording venue Sun Studio.

With a score like this, there's bound to be a whole lotta shakin' goin' on.

'Shakespeare: Completely Unbound!'

'Shakespeare: Completely Unbound!' - COURTESY OF DOK WRIGHT
  • Courtesy Of Dok Wright
  • 'Shakespeare: Completely Unbound!'
Friday, August 20, and Saturday, 21, 6 p.m., at Veterans Memorial Park in South Burlington; Sunday, August 22, 6 p.m., at Snow Farm Vineyard in South Hero; and Saturday, September 11, and Sunday, September 12, 2 p.m., at Isham Family Farm in Williston. Prices vary.

"We are seizing this moment to create a completely new show, an original work that we think will connect the energy of Shakespeare to our community in a fresh and unique way," wrote Vermont Shakespeare Festival leaders in their 2021 summer season announcement.

Shakespeare: Completely Unbound! sources text from all 37 plays in William Shakespeare's canon and includes comedy, tragedy, romance and history. The result is a bold new story that responds to the current cultural moment.

As for this season's unique challenges, the Burlington-based company is more than prepared to tackle socially distanced performances. As their season announcement says, "Outdoor theatre is what VSF has been doing since 2005."

The original print version of this article was headlined "Save the Date | Seven events for your summertime calendar"