Festivals in Stafford

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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.

347 Gilead St
Hebron,
CT
US

Originally opened in 1927, the Genesee Theatre slowly deteriorated over the course of the century until its closing in 1989. But starting in 2001, a $23 million cash infusion from the city allowed 120 volunteers to restore the theater to its Gilded Age splendor. Its elegant trappings include authentic wall fabrics, an exact replica of the original marquee, and a 2,200-pound chandelier that gently spotlights the grand lobby and every audience member passing underneath to show how everyone is a star if you really think about it.

1 Columbus Center
Springfield,
MA
US

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.

1936 Blue Hills Avenue Ext
Windsor,
CT
US

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.

61 Savitt Way
Hartford,
CT
US

For more than 15 years, the Northampton International Film Festival has been inspiring artistic development in the world's filmmakers, celebrating the art of cinema and the introspection it elicits from audiences. Each year, a panel of industry experts carefully vets thousands of submissions from around the globe, selecting only those films that communicate diverse cultural perspectives through varying visual styles and narrative modes. These documentaries, feature-length films, and shorts seek to build a bridge between seemingly disparate backgrounds and traditions with thought-provoking commentary and enriching stories. This global festival ends with a rousing awards ceremony to honor standout films and snub the assistant key grip's contributions once again, for what must seem like the 8,000,000th time in history.

274 Main St
Northampton,
Massachusetts
US

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.

1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville,
CT
US