The scene at this year's Big E on Connecticut Day.
Fairs, concerts, shows & beer festivals on tap during a busy autumn in Ct.
It was a busy summer's end, so we're just getting to our picks for fall activities. Tropical storm remnants aside, the weather is favoring a bunch of outdoor fairs, leaf-peeping and pumpkin-buying.
We just returned from a visit to the Big E in West Springfield, Mass. (which runs through Oct. 2), and while a grown daughter was set on reliving moments of her youth with a fried mozzarella treat, I was fixated on taking home a couple of the cream puffs, which I ate in sublime sessions over the next two days. Mission accomplished.
We also sampled a hard cider and the kielbasa poutine at the tent run by the The Student Prince & The Fort, a Springfield staple of German food that we've visited previously.
Other fairs earning a view or visit (and most Connecticut areas have a fair nearby) include the Durham Fair as we write this, the Connecticut Renaissance Faire Oct. 1-2 in Lebanon, the Southington Apple Harvest Festival weekends Sept. 30 to Oct. 9 and That's Amore Italian Festival Oct. 8-9 in Stamford.
It's also a cool season for indoor events as they ramp up fall and winter entertainment slates. Here's a preview of some favorites:
Vendors pour samples at a previous Sun Brewfest.There are beer festivals at both of Connecticut's huge casino resorts, with Mohegan Sun’s 9th annual Sun BrewFest weekend Oct. 7-8. The main event is Saturday from 3-6 p.m. at the Earth Expo & Convention Center ($55). But Mohegan has added a Seltzer Social event on Friday at the Earth Ballroom starting at 8 p.m, where $45 will get you fall-inspired spirits, local bites of food and some of the most popular hard seltzers on the market. Both events will have live music.
Foxwoods, meanwhile, will present its Foxwoods Beerfest (Battle of the Brews) from 3-7 p.m. on Nov. 19, with affordably priced tickets at $20-$30 for a promised lineup of 150 beers from more than 70 different breweries, microbrews and brewpubs, along with ciders, seltzers and specialty cocktails. Food is available, too, of course. It will take place at the Rainmaker Expo Center, which is the former bingo hall now transformed into a 75,000-square-foot meeting space for events. The new High Stakes Bingo Hall ($7 million, seating 2,200) opened this summer in the old Festival Casino area, near the previous buffet. (The big buffets at Mohegan and Foxwoods were a COVID casualty and have not come back.)
Speaking of Foxwoods, the casino will have a rare autumn theater musical Nov. 11-13 with "On Your Feet," the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, at the Great Cedar Showroom. Tickets are $25-$75 (but Ticketmaster fees will add to that noticeably).
Multi-platinum, progressive rockers Trans-Siberian Orchestra will bring its winter tour to Mohegan Sun Arena for two shows on Wednesday, Nov.23 at 3 and 8 p.m.
Mohegan Sun will also host the Pentatonix: A Christmas Spectacular! 2022 Tour Dec. 22 with a concert at the arena. Tickets are $59 to $250, which seems a bit pricey for a cappella music. The entertaining group, above, is unveiling its sixth holiday album in late October.
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, aka “The Kate, will have folk and roots storyteller/songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins, left, on Thursday, September 29, at 7:30 p.m., for just $32.
TheaterWorks Hartford has the intriguing "Fun Home," a Tony Award-winning musical, starting Oct. 8, with Broadway's Aaron Lazar, Christine Noll and Sarah Beth Pfeifer.
Hartford Stage will lead its fall season with "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie, directed by Jackson Gay, Oct. 13-Nov. 6.
The Bushnell has Tina Fay's "Mean Girls" through Oct. 2. And Disney fans will be excited about the new production of "Aladdin" Nov. 8-13. (On New Year's Eve, the Mortensen theater there will present the "Hip Hop Nutcracker" at 8 p.m.)
Center Stage Theatre in Shelton will present the musical "The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On" from October 14-23.
Westport Country Playhouse will stage a story of determination, hope and inspiration in “From the Mississippi Delta,” written by Endesha Ida Mae Holland and directed by Goldie E. Patrick, from Oct. 18 - 30. The play was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Los Angeles Drama-Logue Award.