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Summer Preview Greatest Hits 2012 

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Summer in Vermont seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. With that in mind, it's important to make the most of the warmer temps and the state's stunning landscape. Whether along the shores of Lake Champlain, nestled in the Green Mountains — or anywhere in between — the events in our go-to guide represent the best of local art, music, food and more. As seasoned Vermonters, we know how unpredictable the weather can be, so rainy-day activities are featured alongside their blue-sky counterparts.

Still looking for more? Take a peek at our Summer Vacation Picks and our weekly calendar section for up-to-date happenings all season long.

May | June | July | August | September


KeyBank Vermont City Marathon & Relay, 863-8412

May 26, Burlington

Long-distance runners pound a 26.2-mile path through the Queen City.

The Opera Company of Middlebury, 388-7432

May 19-June 8, Middlebury

A popular “Meet the Singers” gala paves the way for a fully staged production of Thaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

Green Mountain Opera Festival, 496-7722

May 28-June 23, Mad River Valley

Professional opera singers let arias fly in the Mad River Valley. Festival highlights include open rehearsals, an opera brunch, a Broadway picnic, an Emerging Artists production of Albert Herring and a MainStage production of Don Giovanni.

City Hall Park Lunchtime Performances, 865-7166

May 29-August 30, Burlington

The lunch crowd gathers for everything from big-band jazz to rowdy honky-tonk to masterful classical music in the open air.

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, 863-7992

May 31-June 9, Burlington

Queen City residents get jazzed about a grand-slam lineup of live music, which takes place everywhere from concert halls to tents by the waterfront.

Hartland Farm Fest, 436-7017 or 295-8563

May 27, Hartland

Folks mingle with local farmers and food producers during a farmers market with horse and wagon rides, live music and farm-skill demonstrations.

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Castleton Summer Concerts, 468-6039

June 4-August 13, Castleton

Top New England performers dole out bluegrass, swing, gypsy-jazz, folk and pop on the Old Chapel Green.

Tour de Kingdom, 334-8511

June 5-9, Derby

Recreational and competitive cyclists cover miles of scenic paths by the lake and in the hills of the Northeast Kingdom, northern New Hampshire and Québec.

Roots on the River, 463-9595

June 6-9, Bellows Falls

Bellows Falls is overtaken by a rollicking four-day melody bash around town and in a big festival tent.

Montpelier Fashion Show, 279-5762

June 7, Montpelier

The Capital City is stylin’ as more than 75 models overtake downtown in creative costumes. This year’s theme: ancient Rome.

Special Olympics Vermont Summer Games, 863-5222

June 7-9, Burlington

Athletes from all parts of the state compete in aquatics, track and field, bocce, and softball.

Strolling of the Heifers, 258-9177

June 7-9, Brattleboro

Cute young cows bedecked in flowers take Main Street by storm at this quintessentially Vermont take on Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. The parade and surrounding events strive to connect people with farmers and food producers.

Hartland Farm Fest, 436-7017 or 295-8563

June 9, Hartland

Folks mingle with local farmers and food producers during a farmers market with horse and wagon rides, live music and farm-skill demonstrations.

Ben & Jerry’s Concerts on the Green, 652-0777

June 11-July 31, Shelburne

The folks from Higher Ground Presents bring big-name acts to the Shelburne Museum: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (June 11), David Byrne & St. Vincent (June 22) and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion Radio Romance Tour 2013 featuring Sara Watkins (July 31).

Snow Farm Vineyard Concert Series, 372-9463

June 13-August 29, South Hero

Picnickers take in live classical, jazz, swing, bluegrass and classic rock by the grape vines every Thursday evening.

Kids Pirate Festival, 475-2022

June 15-16, Vergennes

Little swashbucklers costume up for an era of exploration with dramatic play and maritime activities.

Rattling Brook Bluegrass Festival, 644-2498

June 15, Belvidere

Legendary bluegrass musicians such as Cardigan Mountain Tradition and Modern Grass Quintet perform at this outdoor family festival in its 30th year.

Wanderlust Vermont

June 20-23, Stratton

This “epic four-day yoga throwdown” also includes an impressive lineup of musical acts, including Femi Kuti & The Positive Force.

The 2013 Death Race, 989-3982

June 21, Pittsfield

An insane endurance race challenges even the most adventuresome with 24 to 48 hours of mud runs and physical obstacles.

Chittenden County Relay for Life, 872-6300

June 21-22, Essex Junction

Vermonters battle cancer with overnight, relay-style laps that raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

Stowe Wine & Food Classic, 888-683-2427

June 21-23, Stowe

Connoisseurs of all things edible compare and contrast fine wines, enjoy gastronomic collaborations between chefs and vintners, and feast at the Grand Tasting & Silent Auction.

‘Strings and Vines’, 244-8354

June 21-23, Berlin, New Haven and Shelburne

The Eleva Chamber Players make tour Vermont wineries, pairing classical music with wine-and-cheese tastings.

Burlington Wine & Food Festival

June 22, Burlington

An eat-and-drink extravaganza features sipping sessions with a selection of 300 fine wines, seminars with noted vintners and an array of area gourmet food.

Frog Run Beer Fest, 388-4964

June 22, Shelburne

Beer advocates sip Frog Run Sap Beer while taking in the traditional fiddle music of Vermont, New England and Québec.

Hartland JazzFest

June 22, Hartland

Professional jazz musicians and rising artists play their hearts out in an outdoor setting at this inaugural bash.

Long Trail Century Ride, 353-8129

June 22, Killington

Up to 500 cyclists are expected to complete 20-, 50- and 100-mile routes at this second annual fundraiser for Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports. Long Trail Brewing Company hosts the après-ride party.

Native American Encampment, 475-2022

June 22-23, Vergennes

Folks rewind to our region in earlier times as members of Abenaki tribes share traditional singing, drumming, dancing and crafts.

Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, 336-784-5128

June 23-July 20, Burlington

The artist faculty of an annual summer conservatory offer a compelling classical repertoire.

Free Summer Concert Series, 247-6401

June 24-August 23, Brandon

Music lovers bring chairs or blankets to open-air concerts; see website for announcements.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra TD Bank Summer Festival Tour, 864-5741, ext. 10

June 27-July 7, statewide

Picnickers tune in for masterful, fun-spirited works ending with a bang: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and some fireworks.

The Frendly Gathering, 760-633-4200

June 28-29, Windham

A crew of professional snowboarders founded this festival of music, camping and camaraderie.

Vermont Quilt Festival, 872-0034

June 28-30, Essex Junction

This annual parade of patchwork is New England’s largest quilt show. It features displays, appraisals, gallery talks, and vendors offering colorful bed coverings and the means to make them.

Hills Alive!, 362-6313

June 28-August 3, southern Vermont

Encompassing five weeks, this festival of the arts attracts visitors to exhibitions, concerts, plays and readings.

Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour, 533-7443

June 29-August 18, various locations in Vermont and the Northeast

Acrobatics, tumbling feats, high-wire high jinks and general clowning around come together in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Cedar Circle Farmstead & Education Center Strawberry Festival, 785-4737

June 30, East Thetford

Horse-drawn wagon rides, strawberry picking, kids crafts and other festivities honor the arrival of the favored summer fruit.

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Vermont Summer Festival Horse Shows

July 2-August 11, East Dorset

New England’s top equestrian competition, running for six weeks, draws spectators to its five all-weather rings.

Kingdom Aquafest, 323-8424 or 334-6345

July 4-7, Newport

Folks gear up for fun in the sun along the shores of Lake Memphremagog. Activities include the Kingdom Swim, bed racing, a derby parade and a log-rolling competition.

Kingdom Swim, 334-8511

July 6, Newport

Make a splash at this celebration of open-water swimming. Six courses range in length from a quick 100 yards to an admirable 10 miles.

Great Race Triathlon/Duathlon, 524-2444

July 7, St. Albans Bay

Athletes of all ages and abilities run, bike and paddle in the 34th year of this friendly competition.

Waterbury Arts Fest, 496-6466

July 12-13, Waterbury

Live music, physical comedy, artist demonstrations and good eats enliven an outdoor arts-and-crafts exhibition.

SolarFest, 235-1513

July 12-14, Tinmouth

New England’s renewable-energy celebration features games, workshops, information, activism and live music — all powered by the sun.

Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival, 253-7355, ext. 5538

July 12-14, Stowe

Floating orbs transport people through the sky at a balloon-launch fest with plenty of entertainment and eats.

Summer Pride Festival, 728-6464

July 12-21, Randolph

Staged readings with gay and lesbian characters and themes seek to strengthen connections within the regional LGBTQ community.

Antiques and Uniques, 586-7596

July 13, Craftsbury

More than 100 antiques and collectibles vendors, jewelry makers, quilters, woodworkers, and potters share their goodies.

Brain Freezer 5K, 318-4488

July 13, Burlington

Racers tour the Queen City on a running challenge interrupted by a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream-eating challenge. Yes, really.

French Heritage Day, 388-7951

July 13, Vergennes

Celebrate our region's cultural history with an array of family activities, including colorful reenactments, old-time games, horse-and-carriage rides and local entertainment.

Craftsbury Chamber Players Summer Concert Series, 800-639-3443

July 17-August 22, Burlington and Hardwick

World-class musicians explore classical compositions from the baroque to the contemporary era in this six-week festival, also including free mini-concerts for children and their families.

Vermont Brewers Festival

July 19-20, Burlington, Sold Out

Bottoms up! Live music, suds-centered workshops and scores of regionally crafted beers make for a smooth-tasting celebration.

Goshen Gallop XXXV, 247-6735

July 20, Goshen

Runners pound the ground over dirt, gravel and soil on a rugged 10K trail.

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, 800-884-6287

July 21, Shelburne

Got cheese? Dairy lovers, chefs and artisan cheesemakers from around the state sample more than 200 varieties, partake in tasting seminars and catch a cooking show.

Small Boat Festival, 475-2022

July 21-22, Vergennes

Landlubbers and others get their sea legs at a two-day celebration of watercraft, including the popular Kids Duct-Tape Regatta.

Summer Serenades, 598-9520

July 23-August 10, Shelburne and Stowe

Burlington Ensemble soundtrack afternoon picnics, sunset programs and indoor concerts with stellar chamber music.

Bookstock Vermont, 457-9149

July 26-28, Woodstock

This page-turning festival of words includes speeches and readings by authors of local and national renown, interactive programs, secondhand book sales, and art and music.

Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival, 464-8092

July 26-August 4, various locations in the Mount Snow area

Feeling blue? Wilmington, Whitingham and Dover make the best of the hue over 10 days with a Big Blue Parade, a Blue Street Fair, blues music, pick-your-own blueberries ... and even blue beer.

Champlain Valley Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show, 849-6076

July 27-28, South Burlington

Thousands of beautiful, natural specimens catch visitors’ eyes in exhibits, lectures and kids activities.

Onion River Century Ride, 229-9409

July 27, Montpelier

Pledge-propelled bikers benefit the Kellogg-Hubbard Library by pedaling either 111, 68 or 35 miles.

Green Mountain Draft Horse Field Day, 985-8686

July 28, Shelburne

Farmers demonstrate the true meaning of "horsepower" as steeds bred for strength pull plowing and reaping machines.

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Vermont Festival of the Arts, 496-6682

August 1-September 2, Mad River Valley

A whoppin' five-week festival boasts exhibits, performances and workshops celebrating painting, poetry, crafts, culinary arts and everything in between.

Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival, 999-5478

August 4, Burlington

Water-bound teams of businesses, neighborhoods and breast-cancer survivors paddle their way to victory on 41-foot boats.

Vermont Fresh Network Annual Forum, 434-2000

August 4, Shelburne

Chefs, consumers and farmers break bread at a grazing dinner to support the state’s farm-to-table food routes.

Shakespeare in the Park, 877-874-1911

August 8-11; 16-18, Burlington

August 15, North Hero

The Bard’s best works are brought to life on forest stages by the Vermont Shakespeare Company. This year’s play: The Winter's Tale.

Festival of the Arts, 730-2383

August 10, Jeffersonville

A festival on its fourth year promotes the region’s visual and performing arts through exhibits, live music and children’s activities.

Summer Art in the Park Festival, 775-0356

August 10-11, Rutland

Handicrafts and fine art attract buyers and gawkers, who can also sample diverse food and music.

Valley Stage Music Festival, 434-4563

August 10, Huntington Valley

Music lovers enjoy food and green-themed displays between a variety of folk acts.

Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, 201-569-8122

August 12-25 various locations in the Upper Valley

Masterworks soar in the 20th-anniversary season, which features a one-night concert with the internationally acclaimed Lark Quartet.

The Vermont Challenge, 914-420-8805

August 14-18, various starting locations

Cyclists wheel through rolling farmlands and quiet country roads in tours ranging in length from one to four days.

Lake Champlain Maritime Festival, 482-3313

August 15-18, Burlington

Boat displays, tasting tables, hands-on educational exhibits, daytime music and evening concerts sail into the Burlington waterfront. Headliners the Black Crowes perform on August 17; see website for future announcements.

Lake Champlain ACBS Annual Vintage Boat Show

August 17, Burlington

The Lake Champlain Chapter Antique and Classic Boat Society presents historic watercrafts and a boat parade during the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival.

Tweed River Music Festival

August 16-18, Stockbridge

A huge lineup of rock, folk and Americana tunes meets idyllic scenery and a swimming hole.

Kingdom Farm & Food Days, 472-5840

August 17-18, Hardwick

A celebration of regional agriculture includes farm tours and food workshops.

Rabble in Arms Weekend, 475-2022

August 17-18, Vergennes

History comes alive as costumed reenactors in traditional boats depict the 1814 construction of Lieutenant Thomas Macdonough's fleet, which was instrumental in the War of 1812.

St. Albans Civil War Heritage Weekend, 524-6897

August 17-18, St. Albans

Living-history military and civilian reenactors demonstrate battle skirmishes, drills and camp life in Taylor Park. The Raid half marathon along Franklin County’s historic Rail Trail rounds out the event.

Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, 846-2175

August 17-25, Colchester, Burlington and Plattsburgh, N.Y.

The influences of Paganini and Liszt dictate a classical-music festival helmed by violinist Soovin Kim.

Quechee Scottish Festival & Celtic Fair, 295-5351

August 24, Quechee

Bagpipe bands, sheepdog trials, plaid skirts and, of course, haggis all figure prominently in this annual celebration of Scottish heritage.

Champlain Valley Fair, 878-5545

August 24-September 2, Essex Junction

Parades, a giant sand sculpture, circus acts and talent showcases join top musical acts and a wealth of fried food at Vermont's largest fair. Concert schedule: Ke$sha (August 24), Josh Turner with Justin Moore (August 25), Austin Mahone (August 26), Toby Keith with Kip Moore (September 1); see website for future announcements.

The North Face Race to the Top of Vermont, 864-5794

August 25, Stowe

Runners, mountain bikers and noncompetitive hikers scale Vermont’s highest peak in exchange for spectacular views and a postrace barbecue.

Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival, 447-3311

August 31-September 1, Bennington

Vampires are sure to shun this annual extravaganza featuring crafts and food from more than 100 vendors and growers, children's games, live music and entertainment, a beer and wine garden and more.

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Cambridge Music Festival, 730-2383

September 7, Cambridge

A 12-hour barn party showcases New England musicians, including Josh Panda & the Hot Damned, Funkwagon, Wolfman Conspiracy, Hayley Jane & The Primates, DJ Lazy Eye, Sharon & Kim and more.

Grand Point North, 652-0777

September 14-15, Burlington

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals headline two nights of star-studded acts, including Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, the Felice Brothers, Scott Tournet & Ver La Luz, Josh Panda & the Hot Damned, Alpenglow, and Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band (September 14) and Gov't Mule, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, City and Colour, Shovels & Rope, Rough Francis, Natalie Press, Paper Castles, and Belle Pines (September 15).

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2012 Summer Guide
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About The Author

Carolyn Fox

Carolyn Fox

Carolyn Fox was the Seven Days calendar editor from 2009-2012. From 2012-2013, she was the managing editor of Kids VT. She currently works as Special Publications Manager for Seven Days.


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