Summer Preview Greatest Hits 2011 | Summer Guide | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Local Guides » Summer Guide

Summer Preview Greatest Hits 2011


Published June 8, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.

Summer in Vermont can be as fleeting and mystifying as a sighting of our elusive lake monster, Champ. One minute, the sun’s out in full force; the next, we’re running for cover from torrential downpours — or maybe a tornado. To make sure you don’t waste a second of sunshiny goodness, we’ve compiled a handy guide to Vermont’s big summer events, the state’s "greatest hits," if you will. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, well, there’s plenty of good stuff happening indoors, too.

Want more? Take our quiz and we'll help you "Pick a Summer Adventure." Or check out our growing online Summer Vacation Picks, as well as our weekly calendar section all season long. Off you go!

— Carolyn Fox


The Opera Company of Middlebury, 388-7432

May 27-June 10, Middlebury

A popular "Meet the Singers" gala paves the way for a fully staged production of Giacomo Puccini’s La Rondine.

Ben & Jerry’s Concerts on the Midway Lawn, 652-0777

May 27-July 29, Essex Junction

The folks from Higher Ground Presents bring big-name acts — Ray LaMontagne (May 27), Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown (May 29), the Avett Brothers (June 3) and Dropkick Murphys (July 29) — to the Champlain Valley Exposition.

Green Mountain Opera Festival, 496-7722

May 29-June 19, various locations in the Mad River Valley

Professional opera singers let arias fly in the Mad River Valley. Festival highlights include an opening concert preview, open rehearsals, an opera brunch, a Broadway picnic, an Emerging Artist Production of Cosí fan tutte and a MainStage Production of Carmen.

Tour de Kingdom, 334-8511

June 1-5, Derby

Recreational and competitive cyclists cover miles of scenic paths by the lake and in the hills of the Northeast Kingdom.


Strolling of the Heifers. Photo courtesy of Jason Henske.

Strolling of the Heifers, 258-9177

June 3-5, Brattleboro

Cute young cows bedecked in flowers take Main Street by storm at this quintessentially Vermont take on Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. The parade and surrounding events strive to connect people with farmers and food producers.

Special Olympics Vermont Summer Games, 863-5222

June 3-5, Burlington

Athletes from all parts of the state hit the fields in three days of competition, with a grand opening ceremony and awards to boot.

White River Indie Film Festival

June 3-5, White River Junction

Contemporary social and political issues take the screen in a three-day visual arts bash featuring documentaries, features, shorts, workshops, panels and discussions.

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, 863-7992

June 3-12, Burlington

Queen City residents get jazzed about a grand-slam lineup of live music, which takes place everywhere from concert halls to tents by the waterfront.

Green Mountain Bonsai Society Annual Members Show


June 5, Jericho

Pruners show off tiny tree specimens before a provided lunch and a demonstration by guest speaker Min Hsuan Lo from Chung Hua, Taiwan.

Snow Farm Vineyard Concert Series, 372-9463

June 9-September 1, South Hero

Picnickers take in live classical, jazz, swing, bluegrass and classic rock by the grape vines every Thursday evening.

Roots on the River, 863-7992

June 9-12, Bellows Falls

Bellows Falls is overtaken by a rollicking four-day melody bash, which takes place around town and in a big festival tent.

Vermont Days, 800-837-6668

June 11-12, various locations statewide

Vermont State Park day areas, state-owned historic sites and the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier kick off summer with two days of free admission and on-site activities. Saturday is a free fishing day for residents and nonresidents to fish without a license in Vermont lakes, streams and rivers.

Winooski River Sojourn, 882-8276

June 21-26, various locations along the Winooski River

Paddlers take to their canoes or kayaks on a multiday adventure down the river basin, guided by a

floating naturalist."



Wanderlust Vermont, 253-0399

June 23-26, Stratton

This "epic four-day yoga throwdown" also includes an impressive lineup of musical acts.

Stowe Wine & Food Classic, 253-0399

June 24-26, Stowe

Connoisseurs of all things edible compare and contrast fine wines, pair them with oysters, enjoy gastronomic collaborations between chefs and vintners, and feast at the Grand Tasting & Silent Auction.

Vermont Quilt Festival, 872-0034

June 24-26, Essex Junction

This annual parade of patchwork is the largest quilt show in New England. It features displays, appraisals, gallery talks, and vendors offering colorful bed coverings and the means to make them.

Burlington Wine & Food Festival, 864-6674

June 25, Burlington

An eat-and-drink extravaganza features sipping sessions with a selection of more than 250 fine wines; seminars with noted vintners, chefs and sommeliers; and an array of area gourmet food.

The Spartan Death Race, 989-3982

June 25, Pittsfield

An insane endurance race challenges even the most adventuresome with 48 hours of mud runs and physical obstacles.

Cedar Circle Farmstead & Education Center Strawberry Festival, 785-4737

June 26, East Thetford

Horse-drawn wagon rides, strawberry picking, kids' crafts, live folk-rock and other festivities honor the arrival of the favored summer fruit.

Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, 336-784-5128

June 26-July 23, Burlington

The artist faculty of an annual summer conservatory offer a compelling classical repertoire.



Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour. Photo courtesy of Robert Sanson.

Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour, 533-7443

July 3-August 21, various locations in Vermont and the Northeast

Acrobatics, tumbling feats, high-wire high jinks and general clowning around come together in "Frontpage Follies: Big Top Big News!"

Kingdom Aquafest, 323-8424 or 334-6345

July 4-9, Newport

Folks gear up for fun in the sun along the shores of Lake Memphremagog. Activities include the Kingdom Swim, bed racing, an antique boat parade, a sailboat regatta, the Pet and Swimmers' Parade and a log-rolling competition.


Kingdom Aquafest

Vermont Summer Festival Horse Shows

July 6-August 14, East Dorset

New England’s top equestrian competition, running for six weeks, draws spectators to its five all-weather rings.

Battery Park Free Concert Series, 865-7166

July 7-28, Burlington

Burlington City Arts hosts an open-air concert series on Thursday nights in July. This year’s lineup includes Joshua Panda (July 7), Barika (July 14), Scars on 45 (July 21) and Saints of Valory (July 28).

Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival, 253-7355, ext. 5548

July 8-10, Stowe

Floating orbs transport people through the sky at a balloon-launch fest with plenty of entertainment and eats.

Antiques and Uniques, 586-7596

July 9, Craftsbury

More than 100 antiques and collectibles vendors, jewelry makers, quilters, woodworkers, and potters share their goodies.

Kingdom Swim, 334-8511

July 9, Newport

Make a splash at this celebration of open-water swimming. Six courses range in length from a quick 100 yards to an admirable 10 miles.


Flynn Garden Tour. Photo courtesy of Flynn Center staff.

Flynn Garden Tour, 863-5966

July 10, St. Albans

Take a self-guided tour of the city's stunning private gardens, and end the day with afternoon tea.

Craftsbury Chamber Players Summer Concert Series, 800-639-3443

July 13-August 18, Burlington and Hardwick

World-class musicians explore classical compositions from the baroque to the contemporary era in this six-week festival, also including free mini-concerts for children and their families.

Vermont Brewers Festival, 760-8535

July 15-16, Burlington

Bottoms up! Live music, suds-centered workshops and scores of regionally crafted beers make for a smooth-tasting celebration.

Stowe Street Arts Festival, 496-6466

July 15-16, Waterbury

Live music, physical comedy, artist demonstrations and good eats enliven an outdoor arts-and-crafts exhibition.

SolarFest, 235-1513

July 15-17, Tinmouth

New England’s renewable-energy celebration features games, workshops, information, activism and live music — all powered by the sun.

French Heritage Day, 388-7951

July 16, Vergennes

Celebrate our region's cultural history with an array of family activities, including colorful reenactments, old-time games, horse-and-carriage rides and local entertainment.

Moosalamoo Goshen Gallop, 247-6735

July 16, Goshen

Runners pound the ground over dirt, gravel and soil on a rugged 10K trail.

Summer Music From Greensboro, 257-4765

July 17-August 16, Greensboro

Chamber musicians prove their chops in a concert series taking place on five consecutive Tuesday evenings.

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, 884-6287

July 24, Shelburne

Got cheese? Dairy lovers, chefs and artisan cheesemakers from around the state sample more than 100 varieties, partake in tasting seminars and catch a cooking show.

Ben & Jerry’s Concerts on the Green, 652-0777

July 29, Shelburne

The folks from Higher Ground Presents bring Bright Eyes and the Mountain Goats to Shelburne Museum’s lush setting.

Bookstock Vermont, 457-9149

July 29-31, Woodstock

This page-turning festival of words includes speeches and readings by authors of local and national renown, interactive programs, secondhand book sales, and art and music.

Champlain Valley Folk Festival, 877-850-0206

July 29-31, Burlington

Musicians bring Celtic, French Canadian, English and old-time traditions to this nonstop, three-day fest. Workshops and dancing round out the weekend.


Festival of the Islands

Festival of the Islands


July 29-31, Champlain Islands

Island getaway, anyone? This three-day bash in the five island towns offers craft fairs, wine tastings, farm tours and more.

Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival, 464-8092

July 29-August 7, various locations in the Mount Snow area

Feeling blue? Wilmington, Whitingham and Dover make the best of the hue over 10 days with a Big Blue Parade, a Blue Street Fair, blues music, pick-your-own blueberries ... even blue beer.


Onion River Century Ride

Onion River Century Ride, 229-9409

July 30, Montpelier

Pledge-propelled bikers benefit the Kellogg-Hubbard Library by pedaling either 111, 68 or 24 miles.

Green Mountain Draft Horse Field Day, 985-8686

July 30, Shelburne

Farmers demonstrate the true meaning of "horsepower" through traditional sowing methods as steeds bred for strength pull plowing and reaping machines.


Vermont Festival of the Arts, 496-6682

August 1-September 5, Mad River Valley

A whoppin' five-week festival boasts exhibits, performances and workshops celebrating painting, poetry, crafts, culinary arts and everything in between.

Island Arts Craft Show, 318-6229

August 4-6, North Hero

Local artisans specializing in jewelry, quilts, baskets and more peddle their wares in a rustic lakeside barn.

RhinoFest, 318-6229

August 5-7, Plainfield

Local acts and major headliners bring tunes to a large field.

Vermont Summer Book & Ephemera Fair, 464-8438

August 7, Brattleboro

Bookworms delight in an ice-skating rink full of quirky and collectible tomes, as well as antique maps, prints and postcards.


Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival

Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival, 999-5478

August 7, Burlington

Water-bound teams of businesses, neighborhoods and breast-cancer survivors paddle their way to victory on 41-foot boats.

Vermont Fresh Network Annual Forum, 434-2000

August 7, Shelburne

Chefs, consumers and farmers break bread at a grazing dinner to support the state’s farm-to-table food routes.

Lake Champlain Maritime Festival, 482-3313

August 11-14, Burlington

Boat displays, tasting tables, hands-on educational exhibits, daytime music and evening concerts — including this year’s Grand Point North, a lineup of music handpicked by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals — sail into the Burlington waterfront.

Lake Champlain ACBS Anniversary Boat Show, 355-1781

August 12-13, Burlington

The Lake Champlain Chapter Antique and Classic Boat Society presents historic watercrafts and a boat parade during the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival.

Tweed River Music Festival

August 12-14, Stockbridge

A huge lineup of rock, folk and Americana tunes meets idyllic scenery and a swimming hole.

Valley Stage Music Festival

August 13, Huntington Valley

Music lovers enjoy food and green-themed displays between a variety of folk acts.

Liberate Music & Yoga Festival

August 18-21, Sheldon

Stretch it out between sets of music by participating in this eco-friendly fest’s yoga workshops.

Quechee Scottish Festival, 295-5351

August 27, Quechee

Bagpipe bands, sheepdog trials, plaid skirts and, of course, haggis all figure prominently in this annual celebration of Scottish heritage.

Champlain Valley Fair, 878-5545 or 863-5966

August 27-September 5, Essex Junction

Parades, a giant sand sculpture, circus acts and talent showcases join top musical acts and a wealth of fried food at Vermont's largest fair.


FJG Race to the Top of Vermont

FJG Race to the Top of Vermont, 864-5794

August 28, Stowe

Hundreds of runners, hikers and mountain bikers ascend Mount Mansfield’s famous Toll Road for a stunning view of the state.

Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival, 447-3311

September 3-4, Bennington

Vampires are sure to shun this annual extravaganza featuring crafts and food from more than 50 vendors and growers, children's games, live music and entertainment, a beer and wine garden and more.

2011 Summer Guide