Vacation highs are dwindling, the T is packed with baby-faced college freshman, and the race for the wild card is heating up, which can mean only one thing- September is here. While the prospect of shorter days and frigid temperatures looming on the horizon is enough to put anyone into a premature seasonal funk, September is not a time to mourn the end of summer. Instead, it’s a time to enjoy one of the best seasons in New England. Fair season. For the next few weeks, vacant fields across the region will suddenly become populated with vendors, singers, carnivals rides, petting zoos, and enough food to make you forget you were ever at a beach.
Kicking off the season on September 4th is the Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival in Bennington, VT. This haven for garlic lovers features roasted garlic, garlic jelly, and even garlic ice cream. Herbs are also prominently showcased, but garlic reigns supreme. If you love either, make the trip to Bennington this weekend. Just be considerate of your neighbors’ olfactory sensitivity and keep a low profile until the smell wears off.
South of the garlic are two events that are sure to draw crowds in Connecticut. In Westport, there is the Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival on September 24th. This year, they will have an Iron Chef style BBQ competition where amateurs will have the chance to prove their expertise behind the grill. As for the blues, the headlining band is the Blues Travelers, and regarding the views, the venue is right near the water. If your tastes run more medieval that weekend, head over to Hebron for the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. While Faire is open for four weekends in October, lords and ladies may want to get a head start on these festivities. There are warhorse rides, jousting, dancing, and turkey legs. Nothing says the Middle Ages like eating a giant turkey leg next to a knight in chainmail.
Then of course, beginning September 17th, there’s the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA, better known as The Big E. The Big E is the largest fair in the Northeast. It has enough vendors to satisfy even the most afflicted shopaholic, enough rides and games to sate a pack of hyper kids, and enough food to fill any glutton. Some of the many treats you’ll find include fried dough, kettle corn, and fresh squeezed lemonade. But the dish people are willing to wait the longest for is the baked potato in Maine’s building on the Avenue of States. Topped with the fixings of your choice, Maine’s baked potato is a delicious and unexpected addition to fair cuisine.
So before you mentally prepare yourself for the winter days ahead, indulge in a time honored New England tradition and take a day trip to these festivals. Nothing relieves end of summer blues like fair food.