January 15, 2019

Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival Offers Full Day of Art, Music, Food, & Family Fun; Fireworks Tonight

Friday night’s concert at the Florence Griswold Museum attracted the usual large crowd.

The 32nd annual Old Lyme Midsummer Festival returns this year on Friday evening, July 27, and Saturday, July 28, with new offerings and returning favorites for its attendees. The Festival is produced by the newly-formed Old Lyme Arts District. All events and activities are free unless otherwise noted.

Saturday Morning 5K

There is always a large crowd thronging the starting line prior to the 8am start of the traditional 5K Run, which this year benefits the Timothy P. Buckley Memorial Fund.

Saturday’s festivities begin with a morning 5K Run/Walk and Kid K. produced by the Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau (LYSB) and benefiting the Timothy P. Buckley Memorial Fund, the 5K Run & Walk begins at 8am at 59 Lyme Street and brings participants through the historic Old Lyme village. The Kid K takes place on the high school track at 9am. Registration fees for the 5K (run and walk) are $30 for adults, $15 for youth (18 and under). Registration for the “Kids K” fun run is $10. Chip timing will be provided by Timing Plus New England for 5K runners only. Commemorative T-Shirts will be available for the first 200 registered participants. Registration is online at lysb.org or onsite beginning at 6:45am behind LYSB. The 5K’s lead sponsor is Simpson Healthcare Executives.

Classic Car Show

The Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club will host their Classic Car Show on the lawn of the Bee & Thistle Inn from 9am to 2pm on Saturday.

At 9am, the annual Classic Car Show begins on the lawn of the Bee & Thistle Inn. Produced by the Lyme-Old Lyme Lions Club, the show supports scholarships and the good works of the Lions. Car Show attendees pay $5 at the gate and submit their ballots for show favorites among the antique, classic and exotic vehicles. To register a participating automobile for $10, go tolymeoldlymelions.org.

Dog Show

The annual Parading Paws Dog Show will be held on the back lawn of the Florence Griswold Museum and will judge participating canines on a number of qualities including best costume, best trick and best smile. Presented by Vista Life Innovations, dog registration will be held from 10am-10:30am, and judging will begin at 10:45am.

Art Sales

The Fence Show Artists display and sell their work at the Old Lyme Inn.

Art is for sale at four locations during the festival. The annual Fence Show Artist Sale begins at 9am on the front lawn of the Old Lyme Inn. Paintings, photography, and more by local artists will be hung Parisian style on a winding fence for customers to peruse and talk to artists on site. Students, alumni, and faculty of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts will present their works for sale as well as demonstrate art techniques beginning at 9am. Paintings of all sizes and price points can also be found at the Lyme Art Association beginning at 10am. Phoebe’s BookCellar will sell vintage posters, framed art and map prints at the Library beginning at 9am. All four art sales conclude at 4pm; however, on Sunday the art sale continues at the Lyme Art Association from 10am-5pm. For a list of participating artists, go to OldLymeArtsDistrict.com.

Festival Partner Vendor and Information Stands

The Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a table at the Midsummer Festival in front of the Lyme Art Association (LAA). Information about the Chamber and also Chamber member businesses will be available and Chamber members will be on hand to answer your questions.  There will also be a gigantic draw taking place for wonderful prizes including:

  • Two tickets to ‘A Chorus Line‘ at the Ivoryton Playhouse
  • Four free admission tickets to the Wadsworth Atheneum
  • $400 gift certificate for advertising on LymeLine.com & ValleyNewsNow.com
  • Old Lyme wall plaque from The Carousel Shop
  • Gift certificate for Old Lyme Wellness
  • Tote bag from the Florence Griswold Museum with admission tickets to the Museum and more
  • Gift certificate for Salt Marsh Tours

More prizes are being added daily so come on down and make a donation to the Chamber’s Scholarship Fund that supports seniors graduating from Lyme-Old Lyme High School. You will then be allowed one free entry to the draw.

Three organizations from Lyme-Old Lyme Schools will be located outside the LAA.

  • The Lyme-Old Lyme High School Softball Team will be holding a hug Bake Sale to raise funds for supplies for the team.
  • Lyme-Old Lyme High School’s Mock Trial Team will be dispensing “Legal Advice” in return for a donation to their team expenses.
  • Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School’s Mentoring Program will be hosting a table full of information about the program and with plenty of volunteers on hand to explain the program in person and hopefully to sign up people willing to be involved in this valuable program.

Artisanal Merchants

There’s always a vast array of flowers, fruit and vegetables at the Bohemian Street Fair on Saturday at the Florence Griswold Museum.

Bohemian Street Fair will be held on the front lawn of the Florence Griswold Museum Saturday from 9am-3pm. Over 40 vendors will be on hand with a selection of artisanal home goods, specialty food items, jewelry, and more. The street fair is named for the bohemian spirit of the artists who once stayed in Miss Florence Griswold’s boardinghouse at the turn of the 20th century. A list of vendors can be found at OldLymeArtsDistrict.com.

Other outdoor shopping includes a variety of merchant tents on the lawn of the Lyme Art Association, and the annual “Midsummer Book Sale” at the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library where “gently loved” paperbacks and more will be available from 9am-3pm. The Library is located at 2 Library Lane.

Patricia Spratt for the Home opens its workshop at 60 Lyme Street for its annual Midsummer Warehouse Sale Thursday, July 26 through Saturday, July 28 from 9am-4pm. The annual three-day sale offers up to 80 percent off Spratt’s high-end table linens, pillows, and more.

Musical Performances

In addition to the Friday night concert, a full afternoon of live music will take place Saturday afternoon at LYMESTOCK 2018 on the Lieutenant River Stage at the Florence Griswold Museum. Produced by MusicNow Foundation, the concert begins at 12 noon and will feature select award-winning musicians from the New England Music Awards and the New England Radar Awards. Also featured will be emerging Connecticut young artists (under 25 years old) performing singer/songwriter, jazz, blues, folk, classical guitar, and indie rock.

A full lineup of performers can be found at OldLymeArtsDistrict.com. The concert is suitable for all ages, and attendees may choose to bring a blanket or chair to sit and enjoy the music. The concert is made possible through a grant with the Connecticut Office of the Arts and sponsors Reynolds Marine and Black Hall Outfitters.

Other musical performances include the funk music of festival favorite Mass-Conn-Fusion, beginning at 11am under the food tent at the Old Lyme Inn.

At Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds, festival attendees will enjoy a dynamic modern dance performance by GUSTO Dance, IMMIX Dance Project and Mystic Moves Dance Theatre at 2 p.m., followed by the engaging vocals of local acoustic duo Jekyll & Hyde from 4 to 5 p.m.

Hands-on Participation

Participatory art will take place at three locations during the Saturday Festival. The Lyme Academy College will have Open Figure Drawing available on the Academy front lawn from 12 to 3pm.Easels will be set up in front of a live model and attendees are encouraged to step up to any available easel and sketch the model.

A Community Sculpture invites participation at the driveway entrance to Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds.

A community sculpture will be on display at the entrance of Studio 80, and participates can use available markers to draw on the sculpture.

The Hands-On/Minds-On Station will once again be at the Florence Griswold Museum’s Hartman Education Center. With over a dozen participating nonprofit organizations, including Arts District partners Old Lyme Historical Society, OL-PGN Library, and the Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau, children are sure to find a creative or thought-provoking activity to enjoy.

The Hands-On_Minds-On Station at the FloGris has something for everyone regardless of age or ability!

The OL-PGN Young Adults Librarian will also have on the lawn of the Museum a screen-printing activity for all ages. Bring your own t-shirt or purchase one for $5 and try your hand at screen printing.


As a celebration of Old Lyme’s artistic heritage, attendees are encouraged to visit art exhibitions during the Festival. Studio 80 + Sculpture Grounds presents its Summer Sculpture Showcase 2018: An Exhibit of Unique Landscape Sculptures on its outdoor sculpture grounds. The Lyme Art Association features American Waters: A Marine Show and Hudson Valley Art Association. The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, in addition to its Student Showcase, presents the remarkable Cities of Peace. At the Florence Griswold Museum, see Art and the New England Farm and tour the historic home of the Lyme Art Colony (Special Museum admission $5).

Outdoor Dining

In addition to food trucks with a variety of options at the Florence Griswold Museum, three restaurants will be open for lunch during the Saturday Festival. Café Flo, at the rear of the Museum, offers seated lunch on the veranda overlooking the Lieutenant River. The Bee & Thistle will offer a special lunch menu for service in its sunken garden. The Old Lyme Inn will serve on the patio and indoors through lunch until 9pm.

The Town of Old Lyme’s fireworks display rounds of a wonderful day for all.


The Town of Old Lyme hosts its annual, free fireworks display around 9:15 p.m. behind the Lyme-Old Lyme High School.  Spectators should stand on the LOL Middle School field.

Directions, Parking and Shuttle Buses

The Festival takes place on historic Lyme Street, which is immediately off Exit 70 on I-95 South, or left off Exit 70 on I-95 North, then right onto Halls Road to Lyme Street. Although the festival length is considered a walkable distance, a shuttle bus will be available to all locations. Parking is available at the Museum, High School, Old Lyme Marketplace, and Lyme Academy College. Most activities take place between 80 Lyme Street and 100 Lyme Street.

The 32nd annual Festival is a production of the Old Lyme Arts District, a partnership of 17 arts and cultural organizations and businesses on Lyme Street.

For a complete list of participants, sponsors, as well as a printable guide to the Festival, visit OldLymeArtsDistrict.com.

Platinum Sponsors of the Arts District include Pasta Vita, The Day Publishing, Essex Financial Services/Essex Savings Bank, and LymeLine.com.


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