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 storied performers of Journey delight fans with powerful guitar, catchy hooks, and virtuosic singing. Lead singer Arnel Pineda's octave-smashing range combines with guitarist Neal Schon's monumental chords and the musical teamwork of Ross Valory's bass, Jonathan Cain's keyboard, and Deen Castronovo's drums, creating tuneful tapestries that inspire ears like a stirring soliloquy from a bald eagle. Touring in support of its new album, Eclipse, the band is able to draw upon an aural arsenal that includes hits such as "Don’t Stop Believin'," "Any Way You Want It," and "Faithfully." The power balladeers of Foreigner and Night Ranger supplement the sonic revelry with their own swelling melodies and heart-inflating emotion. The concert takes place at the open-air Comcast Theatre, with Groupon holders welcome to sit, stand, or mime anywhere on the expansive lawn. Chair and blanket policies vary from concert to concert, so guests should call ahead to determine what items can be toted along.
A fountain's mists drift over a cool, quiet water outside the windows of Vito's By the Water, where chefs have been cooking up traditional Italian food for many years. Following recipes that have been in the owner's family for years, they craft traditional entrees such as New York strip steak with demi-glace or lobster ravioli with vodka-cream sauce. They also adorn thin and Chicago-style deep-dish stuffed crusts with quality toppings such as baby clams, breaded eggplant, and seasoned ricotta.
Vito’s has also sponsored a “So You Think You Can Cook” competition, handing the kitchen over to nine aspiring chefs for a three-day cook-off. Like many timed cooking competitions, this one required the chefs to create a dish using a mystery ingredient, such as bacon or love. The winner received a farm-to-table dinner for 10.
Celebrating its 47th year, the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra tackles traditional baroque and romantic masters as well as contemporary songsters throughout its 2011–2012 season. An accomplished conductor of opera, Broadway, pops, and classical music, music director Gerald Steichen massages mellifluent tones out of Ridgefield's vibrant violins and boisterous brass. RSO highlights name-brand classical masters with its Beauty of Beethoven and Brahms Fulfilled shows. Young and aspiring musicians congregate at the Young Impressions concert, featuring 16-year old soloist Madeleine Bouissou. Celebrate the time signatures of foreign composers with A Trip to the British Isles, or sit back as visiting Broadway performers Nat Chandler and Teri Hansen belt homegrown classics during February 4th's Rodgers and Hammerstein Celebration, attended by Oscar Hammerstein's grandson Andy Hammerstein.
Pour the Core: A Hard Cider Festival celebrates the revival of hard ciders and perries brewed from apples and pears. For the festival, the tree covered-landscape just outside of Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue fill with more than 30 local and international ciders including Peconic Bay Winery’s True Believer, Angry Orchard, and Magners from Ireland. Seminars teach patrons about all the ways to use versatile cider, from stirring into cocktails to mixing up in cupcakes and pork shoulder. A How to Make Hard Cider seminar demonstrates how to brew hard cider from nonalcoholic cider at home, covering the entire process from picking the right apples to forcing carbonation back into the opened bottles.