Festivals in West Hartford

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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 Street
Hebron,
CT
US

Hershey Theatre

The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.

61 Savitt Way
Hartford,
CT
US

Since 1993, Cirque Dreams' family-friendly variety extravaganzas have called upon a cast of acrobats, strongmen, and daredevils to wring the oohs and aahs out of audiences with tremendous feats of derring-do. During each themed production, more than 100 performers garbed in dazzling outfits twirl high in the air, contort their bodies into impossible shapes, and solve long division problems to earn uproarious applause from the crowd. At Dream Studios in Pompano Beach, Florida, hundreds of contracted artists from around the world develop their skills and prep for Cirque Dreams performances under the direction of Neil Goldberg and his team of choreographers, contortionists, and designers.

166 Capitol Avenue
Hartford,
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

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 chef-owner, Rob Maffucci, has also earned culinary fame with an October 2014 appearance on Food Network's, "Beat Bobby Flay". Here, he grappled with the ingredients of pumpkin puree and fresh pasta during a Halloween special that showcased the chef's talents, pitting them against culinary powerhouse, Bobby Flay.

1936 Blue Hills Avenue Ext
Windsor,
CT
US

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.

95 S Turnpike Rd.
Wallingford,
CT
US