Travellers visiting Vermont over the coming months are once again in for a treat, with the northeastern state playing host to a diverse selection of summer events.
Despite the absence of a coastline, summer vacationers to Vermont rarely feel short-changed – thanks in part to the wide choice of events that take place across the New England state at this time of year. It’s a period that provides a stark contrast with the region’s usually uncrowded feel, made possible by its swathes of rural beauty. But when Vermont puts on one of its summer events, then the otherwise tranquil atmosphere invariably gives way to raucous fun – though visitors of a more sedate disposition will also find plenty to keep them entertained. Taking all tastes into consideration, we’ve picked out 10 of the best events being held across Vermont over summer 2023.
One hundred years ago, Millstone Hill was the site of 75 active granite quarries, employing thousands of men and fuelling central Vermont’s growth, cultural diversity, and prosperity. Created in 2012 for the purpose of celebrating this colourful heritage, Rockfire is a unique combination of art, music and fire. It takes place in the evocative setting of Millstone Hill’s abandoned quarries and granite industry ruins, with the centrepiece attraction the Firewalk, a three-mile-long procession lit by thousands of candles and luminaries with dozens of bonfires, all leading to eye-catching fire-lit art installations and six live performance stages.
Millstone Hill, Barre / 16 September 2023
Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival
Dedicated to showcasing the work of first-time and emerging filmmakers hailing from around the world, the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival sees dozens of industry figures including directors, producers, writers and cinematographers come together for this celebration of the silver screen. As well as more than 125 screenings of features and shorts spanning all genres, there are special guest appearances, panel discussions and presentations, happy hours and evening parties, plus a juried prize-giving ceremony for winners across various filmic categories.
Venues across Middlebury / 23-27 August 2023
If you find yourself in the vicinity of Vermont’s beautiful Mad River Valley in July then you may want to come and cheer on the tireless participants in the 12th annual Mad Marathon. With the 26.2-mile course designed to enhance the valley’s unique rural setting, as well as highlight Vermont’s exceptional farmlands and quaint villages, runners will once again traverse this extraordinary rural community on back and dirt roads, with breath-taking views of the Green Mountains. Along the way they’ll be required to negotiate several tough climbs and descents, as well as historic barns, summer corn fields, covered bridges, and fields full Vermont’s famous cows and majestic horses. Bring a picnic and find a scenic spot to wave the runners past.
Mad River Valley / 9 July 2023
A Call to Serve: Vermont and Unexpected Voices from the Civil War
This exhibition features a unique set of artifacts showcasing the contributions of Vermonters to preserving the Union amidst the nation’s deadliest conflict. In the process, it celebrates the impact of African Americans, Native Americans, Canadians, and women on Civil War history, telling stories of their contributions that often remain unheard. Other notable items include material on the raid on St. Albans, Portus Baxter, Martin Warner Davis, and Stephen Perry Jocelyn.
Old Stone House Museum & Historic Village, Brownington / Through summer 2023
Killington Wine Festival
Over the past decade, the Killington Wine Festival has grown to become one of the biggest events of its kind in Vermont. Now featuring 500 wines from over 40 wineries from around the world, festival-goers can taste as many as they can handle while enjoying the scenic backdrop of Killington Peak and the Green Mountains of Vermont. There’s also the chance to meet professional vintners and wine representatives, while many restaurants in the area use the occasion to host special culinary events. Golf fans can round off their festival experience by taking part in Wine and Nine, a 9-hole golf outing at the nearby Green Mountain National Golf Course.
Killington Resort, Killington / 21-23 July 2023
The Cabot Arts and Music Festival
The second edition of this multi-genre music festival comes to the town of Cabot this summer, featuring live bands, dance, arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, a mural project, and an eye-catching sculpture exhibit. Taking place near the headwaters of the Winooski River, featured performers will include Barika, Vance Gilbert, Bon Débarras, Scottish Fish, For the Love of Pete, The Larkspurs, and Kate Campbell. There’ll also be an on-site tent devoted to fun games and activities for children.
Cabot Village Common, Cabot / 28-29 July 2023
Among the permanent displays at the American Precision Museum is this exhibition which explores how the machinists and tool builders of Vermont’s so-called “Precision Valley” played an important role in determining the course of American history. The exhibit examines how advancements in machining drove industrialization, changed the face of war, and allowed for the development of today’s modern consumer culture. Among the items on display are many of the earliest machines – as well as the stories of the people behind them – that helped change the way the world manufactures and the way we live.
American Precision Museum, Windsor / Permanent
Art in the Park
Vermont’s oldest continuing arts tradition will once again feature a diverse assortment of fine artists and craftspeople when this summer festival returns to Main Street Park for a fun-packed weekend in August. For two full days, thousands of festival-goers from far and wide assemble to enjoy a huge variety of events, as well as to sample the wares of local vineyards, breweries, distilleries and speciality food purveyors. There are also kids’ activities and live music performances to keep everyone entertained.
Chaffee Art Center, Rutland / 12-13 August 2023
Spruce Peak Summer Concert Series
Featuring an impressive line-up of musical artists performing in a magical Green Mountain setting, the Spruce Peak Summer Concert Series draws large numbers of revellers every year. Notable names set to appear in 2023 include Natasha Bedingfield, Ripe, Futurebirds and Wild Rivers. As well as general admission tickets, guests can also upgrade to secure designated table seating, or really push the boat out for a private VIP Pergola with lounge seating, firepit, picnic basket and complimentary cocktail or beer on arrival.
Spruce Peak Village Green, Stowe / 29 July – 31 August 2023
Brandon Independence Day Parade
The city of Brandon has been celebrating America’s Independence Day with a grand parade for decades. In 2023, as well as the colourful procession through the streets, there will be several notable additions to the entertainment, including live bands performing in the city’s parks, a Heritage train offering rides up Park Street two auction venues, a beer garden serving local craft beers, and – not to be missed – the hotly-contested Swiss cake roll-eating contest. Later on, the fun dial is turned up several notches further with an evening street dance followed by fireworks at dusk.
Brandon Central Park, Brandon / 1 July 2023
By Paul Joseph