With the heat of summer gone and a backdrop of brightly-colored leaves changing with the season, fall is the perfect time of the year to visit Connecticut, and there's no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than at one of the seasonal festivals taking place this year to celebrate everything from apple and garlic harvests to clam chowder feasts.
Connecticut has a great mix large coastal and inland cities of its own—including New Haven and Hartford—making it a great place for family-friendly outings, romantic getaways, and quick day trips any time of year. However, if you're visiting somewhere like New York City or Boston and want to escape the city for a bit of seasonal fun, you should check out one of these festivals taking place in Connecticut this fall.
01 of 07
Each year in late September, the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association (CAMA) museum in Kent hosts its annual Fall Festival, a celebration of simpler times featuring a glimpse into the technology used long before the harried days of computers and cell phones.
The festival features hundreds of restored antique machines in operation, a variety of special exhibits, and tours of the museum itself, including the Museum of Mining and Mineral Science that was added in 2018. There will also be a number of demonstrations about blacksmithing and sawmill operations, including some Lumber Jack and Lumber Jill lessons and competitions.
The 34th annual Kent Fall Festival will take place on September 28, 29, and 30, 2018. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under.
02 of 07
For seven weekends in September and October—plus Labor Day and Columbus Day—the Lebanon County Fairgrounds are transformed into a 16th-century playground featuring live performances in the streets, authentic period clothing, and traditional food served piping hot for the annual Connecticut Renaissance Faire.
This event welcomes guests to stroll through a Medieval marketplace, sample authentic period food, and cheer on jousting competitions, armored combat, archery demonstrations, and live training practice for birds of prey.
The 20th annual Connecticut Renaissance Festival will take place on September 1 through October 14, 2018. General admission for the festival is $15 for adults, $10 for children aged 7 to 15, and free for children 6 and under.
03 of 07
The annual Southington Apple Harvest Festival was voted the "Best Festival" and "Best Local Event" for the 2016 Best of Hartford Magazine contest. Located on Main Street in Southington, Connecticut, this event takes place over two weekends in late September and October each year.
You can celebrate the annual apple harvest at this street fair featuring an array of apple products, food booths, arts and crafts vendors, carnival rides, eating contests, musical performances, a parade, and fireworks. There will also be a special kids' section and even a bed-racing contest this year.
The 50th Annual Southington Apple Harvest Festival will take place from September 28 through 30 and October 5 through 7, 2018, and both admission and parking are free.
04 of 07
Each year, the Bethlehem Fairgrounds on Route 61 just north of town celebrate the annual harvest with a two-day outdoor festival featuring specialty food vendors, handmade crafts, cooking demonstrations, children's activities, and lectures about the area's primary crop: garlic.
If you're someone who really loves the flavor of this unique root, you can come to this fall festival to learn how to cook with and grow garlic, buy freshly harvested bulbs, and taste everything from deep fried garlic to garlic ice cream. Others will also enjoy the carnival rides and live music offered during the event.
The 14th Annual Connecticut Garlic and Harvest Festival will take place on October 6 and 7, 2018. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $1 for children under 12.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Piping hot chowder soothes the soul on a crisp fall day, and you can try several different varieties of chowder and bisque at Mystic Seaport's annual fall Chowder Days in Mystic, Connecticut. The weekend also features live music, scarecrow making, crafts and games on the green as well as horse and carriage rides for an additional fee.
Chowder Days Festival Takes place at the Mystic Seaport Museum on October 6 through 8, 2018. The festival is included with admission to Mystic Seaport, but there is an additional charge for the food.
06 of 07
Just a few miles northeast of Stamford along 95, the city of Norwalk is home to the Maritime Aquarium, quaint shops and cafes, and a rich cultural heritage, and you can celebrate the start of the season here at the St. Philips Church's annual Family Fall Festival.
Featuring a classic car show, a touch-a-truck contest, face painting, games for kids, raffle prizes, and live music, as well as a handful of local vendors selling baked goodies and handmade crafts, this small community event is a great destination for families of all ages.
The Third Annual St. Philip Family Fall Festival will take place on September 22, 2018. Admission and parking in the church lot are both free of charge.
07 of 07
Another great small, community-oriented event, the annual Corn Festival held in Wethersfield, Connecticut, is sure to entertain your family this year. Featuring local musicians, dancing, a best apple pie contest, inflatable rides, local vendors, and hayrides, the Wethersfield Cornfest is appropriate for all ages.
The Annual Wethersfield Cornfest will take place on September 22, 2018, on the Broad Street Green in downtown Wethersfield. Admission is $4 for adults and children ages 13 and up but free for kids 12 and under.