A crack rings out from the jousting arena as armored knights clash in the pursuit of honor, while sword-swallowers thrill crowds with their death-defying art, jesters spin windy jokes, and townspeople in 15th-century garb roam the grounds tearing into turkey legs with their teeth. The Connecticut Renaissance Faire hosts these medieval-theme blowouts every year, including the Robin Hood Spring Festival and King Arthur’s Fall Harvest Faire. Under the themed umbrella of each gathering, actors caper about a constructed medieval village, engaging in Old English–flavored conversation and clapping games with fair-goers. In a tented marketplace, vendors sell beaded crafts, art, and tyrannical-king repellent alongside stands serving mead, beer, and other satisfying sundries. Although the shows and events vary at each fair, past spectacles have included archery displays, pub sing-alongs, and costume parades.
The MGM Grand Theater sits tucked away inside the sprawling Foxwoods Resort Casino, itself a go-to destination. Here, visitors can take in a concert, tighten midsections while laughing, or head to one of the six casinos to fulfill a lifelong dream of arm-wrestling a slot machine.
Fronted by British-Nigerian lead singer Sade Adu, Grammy-winning band Sade has seduced eardrums with a potent mélange of R & B, soul, and jazz for nearly 30 years. Performing songs from the new compilation album The Ultimate Collection, Sade will delight fans with greatest hits as well as a smattering of brand-new songs, melding soul-stroking vocals with eye-tickling dancing and onstage spectacle. Special guest John Legend will also throw his honeyed voice into the ring, soothing ears that have been damaged by the cacophony of city life and the screeching of prima-donna chalkboards.
At Misquamicut Beach, visitors can celebrate the simple pleasures of feeling the sand between their toes and crashing into salty waves. The beach welcomes locals and tourists alike for a day outside in the fresh air, soaking in the sun's rays or body surfing out on the water. Throughout the summer, the beach plays host to a variety of events including a classic car show, drive-in movies, and festivals complete with carnival rides. Visitors can even zip down huge water slides?anything to distract them from that seagull that keeps stealing their sandwiches.
Much of the vitality of the area can be credited to The Misquamicut Business Association, which boasts a membership of about 90% of local businesses. The association throws lots of family-friendly events and serves as a resource for news on happenings at its 180-some affiliated businesses.
Known to fans as Girl Talk, Gregg Gillis collages pop and rap samples into new songs that have engendered countless epic dance parties and praise from Rolling Stone. Gillis lures listeners into his web of laptop-fueled revelry with juicy pop hooks, stemming from selections which will likely include tracks from 2010's All Day, an album built from snippets of tunes by Jay-Z, U2, Daft Punk, and hundreds of other artists. Swathed in party paraphernalia such as confetti and toilet-paper streamers, each live show is wilder than a trip to a petting zoo stocked entirely with grizzly bears.
In support of her high-decibel new album, Rihanna kicks off her hotly anticipated LOUD tour with emphatic gusto and a sizzling roster of special guests. Like an art show at a sundae bar, the LOUD tour floods the senses, enchanting audiences with lavishly designed sets, myriad costume changes, move-busting dancers, and Rihanna's songbook of Grammy magnets. Crooner Cee Lo Green augments the songful offerings with his own vocal talents, and Roc Nation rapper and rhythm scientist J. Cole further helps resuscitate ear drums traumatized by the outside world's blaring car horns and shrill howler monkeys.