We asked Christine Chitnis, author of Markets of New England (The Little Bookroom, 2011), to choose her favorite fall events. Fall offers us a chance to celebrate the harvest, whether by picking apples, jumping on a hay ride, or digging into a freshly baked pumpkin pie. With the leaves turning glorious shades of colors throughout […]
By Christine Chitnis
Aug 29 2011
We asked Christine Chitnis, author of Markets of New England (The Little Bookroom, 2011), to choose her favorite fall events.
Fall offers us a chance to celebrate the harvest, whether by picking apples, jumping on a hay ride, or digging into a freshly baked pumpkin pie. With the leaves turning glorious shades of colors throughout New England, it is also the perfect time to set out and explore small towns and country roads. While out and about, I suggest exploring a few fall art fairs, craft festivals, harvest celebrations and country fairs. Here are a few of my favorite, not-to-be-missed events:
1. The Common Ground Country Fair
Every fall an estimated 60,000 visitors converge on the small town of Unity, Maine, for the fair. Touted as a three-day celebration of Maine’s rich rural and agricultural history, it boasts a packed roster of activities, including music, speakers, exhibits, vendors, and demonstrations, all of which emphasize environmental sustainability, traditional craftsmanship, and organic farming. Included on the extensive fairgrounds is the state’s only all-organic farmers’ market, a large agricultural pavilion where Maine farmers demonstrate their working animals, and a craft market.
Common Ground Country Fairground, Unity, ME, September 20-22, from 9 a.m.
2. Squam Art Fair
Squam Art Workshops was founded in 2008 as a gathering place for creative individuals to expand their artistic passions through workshops with renowned teachers. On Saturday night of the fall retreat weekend, workshop teachers and local shops display their goods for sale at the fair. It’s a rousing good time with free beer, music and raffle prizes.
Rockywald Deephaven Camp, Holderness, NH, September 14, 7:30-10 p.m.
Featuring more than sixty vendors selling everything from knitwear and jewelry to metalwork and ceramics, Twist kicks off on Friday night with a party-like atmosphere, complete with drinks and a DJ. The festivities continue on Saturday, with a full day of shopping. The vibe here is young, and hip, with an emphasis on quality and uniqueness..
Northampton Center for the Arts, Northampton, MA, November 2-3
4. Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival
A weekend-long celebration of the fiber arts, the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival offers a packed schedule of presentations, classes, and demonstrations on every fiber skill imaginable including spinning, felting, dying, knitting, and animal husbandry, to name just a few.
Tunbridge Fairgrounds, Tunbridge, VT. September 28-29
5. RISD Alumni and Student Art Sale
The renowned Rhode Island School of Design churns out world-class artists at an incredible rate, so it is no wonder that this annual sale draws large crowds, eager to snap up original works.
Benefit Street between Waterman and Hopkins, Providence, RI
6. City-Wide Open Studios
This annual New Haven program, organized by the not-for-profit organization Artspace, celebrates contemporary art. A jam-packed schedule invites you to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods while discovering artists’ studios, alternative gallery spaces, and exhibitions. Download map and schedule on website.
Various locations, New Haven, CT, three consecutive weekends, starting October 4
7. New Bedford Open Studios
The College of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth opened its Star Store campus in downtown New Bedford in 2001. Many of the artists who come to study end up staying on, and this once sleepy city has been transformed into a rich and vibrant arts community. Part of the appeal of the weekend is exploring the historic buildings that house many of the artists, including several renovated mill buildings and a former church. Download map on website.
Various locations, New Bedford, MA, Check website for dates and time
8. Pawtucket Indoor Farmers Market
Starting in early November, our local farmers market moves indoors, twice a week taking over an old, restored mill building in Pawtucket. The fun, food and festivities don’t stop just because the temperature drops…in fact, the market is always bustling and the offerings are simply divine- freshly baked bread, root veggies, hothouse greens, cheese, eggs, granola, pastries, meat, and countless varieties of locally grown apples.
Hope Artiste Village, Pawtucket, RI, Weds. and Sat. November-May
9. Shelburne Farms Harvest Festival
A storybook-worthy fall harvest festival, set on the picturesque grounds of Shelburne Farms. Celebrate the arrival of autumn with musical entertainment, hay rides, farm-fresh food, farm tours, antique farm machines, farm animals, and a hay bale maze.
1611 Harbor Road, Shelburne, VT, September 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
10.I can’t stand to leave off a single worthy event, so if you are looking for that quintessential country fair experience, complete with fried dough, Ferris wheels, and tractor pulls, here are a few to mark on your calendar:
Topsfield Fair, MA (www.topsfieldfair.org)
The Big E, MA (www.thebige.com)
Deerfield Fair, NH (www.deerfieldfair.com)
The Vermont State Fair, VT (www.vermontstatefair.net)
Fryeburg Fair, ME (www.fryeburgfair.com)
Bethlehem Fair, CT (www.bethlehemfair.com)
New Hampshire Fall Festival, NH (http://www.strawberybanke.org/nh-fall-festival.html)
Find more great markets and fairs in Christine’s book, Markets of New England.