Top 10 Vermont Summer Events of 2018
Strolling of the Heifers
Brattleboro | June 1-3, 2018
Brattleboro plays host to a jam-packed weekend that kicks off Friday with a downtown “block party” promising food, music, dancing, and fun. Saturday brings the namesake event, as future farmers and their heifers lead a parade of farm animals, bands, tractors, floats, and clowns; meanwhile, the all-day Slow Living Expo features such things as cooking demos, educational and entertaining exhibits, and a “goat olympics.” Rounding things off are the famous farmers’ breakfast, cycling tours, and farm visits.
Discover Jazz Festival
Burlington | June 1-10, 2018
Begun as a grassroots musical get-together, this festival has grown into one of Vermont’s largest annual events: a 10-day celebration that welcomes more than 70,000 music fans into hundreds of Burlington clubs, restaurants, and other venues for performances by regional and international acts.
Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival
Quechee | June 15-17, 2018
As many as 20 vibrant hot air balloons with take to the skies over Quechee and the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire during this, the longest-running festival of its kind in New England. You can buy a seat online for one of the five sessions of untethered flights, if you like, or purchase a tethered ride during the festival itself. Admission covers all on-the-ground entertainment — live music, comedy acts, a kids’ play zone, “disc doggers,” balloon glows, etc. — as well as access to more than 60 artisan and food booths.
Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival
Tunbridge | June 21-24, 2018
Get your fill of mandolins, banjo pickin,’ and mountain harmonies at this family-friendly event that encourages music fans to camp out at the Tunbridge fairgrounds and stay the whole weekend. There will be children’s activities every day and an “instrument petting zoo,” geared for young’uns who have never held a stringed instrument. Paid weekend admission covers parking, rough camping, showers, and access to all stages; day passes are also available.
Vermont Quilt Festival
Essex Junction | June 21-24, 2018
New England’s largest and oldest quilt festival returns to the Champlain Valley Exposition Center. More than 400 new and antique quilts will be on display during the festival, and sewing enthusiasts can choose from dozens of classes, attend special lectures on thread painting and the finer points of quilt blocks, and enter quilt and sewing machine raffles.
Festival of Fools
Burlington | August 3-5, 2018
This playful event is touted as an all-in-one street performing/comedy/musical festival. More than 75 shows are scheduled at various downtown Burlington venues throughout the weekend; admission varies. The four main stage locations surrounding the Church Street Marketplace and City Hall Park feature continuous street theater each day.
Deerfield Valley Farmers’ Day Fair
Wilmington | August 9-12, 2018
More than a century old and still going strong, this agricultural-themed celebration brings together residents and visitors alike for fun, food, and a little friendly competition. Engines will be revving for the truck and tractor pulls, not to mention the always-popular demolition derby. Also on the lineup are a kids’ tractor rodeo, a craft and hobby demonstration fair, exhibit halls, a carnival midway, music performances, a classic car show, and a pie eating contest.
Stowe Classic Car Show
Waterbury | August 10-12, 2018
Organizers say that when this event began more than 60 years ago, Model A’s were barely old enough to be eligible, and the parking lot was filled with cars that now would be rare and valuable antiques. Year after year, automobile aficionados have flocked by the thousands to this show, now one of the largest and oldest in the Northeast. More than 800 classic rides and race cars will be on display at Farr Field in Waterbury throughout the weekend, which also offers a flea market, food and craft booths, and a street dance.
Vermont Cheesemakers Festival
Shelburne | August 12, 2018
With the highest number of cheesemakers per capita among the U.S. states, Vermont is justifiably proud of this industry’s deep roots within its borders. The coach barn at historic Shelburne Farms provides the backdrop for the best and most innovative examples of the cheesemaker’s craft — courtesy of 40-plus award-winning Vermont producers — during this young but growing event. There will be cheesemaking and cooking demos and workshops, and lots of goodies to sample, from every kind of cheese imaginable to Vermont-made specialty foods, beer, wine, and spirits. Tickets are available online now, so get yours before they (inevitably) sell out. This isn’t just one of the most popular Vermont summer events, it’s bona fide foodie heaven.
Champlain Valley Fair
Essex Junction | August 24 – September 2, 2018
Whether you’re a fan of agrarian Vermont’s finest livestock and produce, a thrill seeker who lives for carnival rides, or a food lover who craves the likes of jalapeno poppers, deep-fried cheesecake, homemade apple pie, and more, this is the place to be as summer winds down. The state’s biggest single event, the Champlain Valley Fair is packed with enough exhibits, vendors, rides, games, and entertainment to keep all of its estimated 300,000 attendees happy.