Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/ Cosmopolitan Travelingmom

Fine  Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/ Cosmopolitan Travelingmom

Do you love festivals that showcase local culture and artistic talent? The Westport Fine Arts Festival is one such annual event that you want to mark on your calendar.

Going on its 41st year, the Westport Fine Arts Festival is a well known festival in Connecticut that brings visitors mostly from New England and New York. The two day event happening on the weekend of July 19-20 in 2014 is set up close to downtown in Parker Harding Plaza and Gorham Island, a spacious area along the Saugatuck River.

About 150 artists showcase various types of art from watercolor to printmaking to sculpture. Walking through this festival is like visiting dozens of galleries in one day. Due to its sprawling set up with idyllic views of the river, the festival doesn’t feel overly crowded. The outdoor event area is ideal for a stroller walk with a baby.

Children’s Activities at Westport Fine Arts Festival

The festival also includes a children’s program that is coordinated by the energetic volunteers of the Westport Arts Center. When I visited the festival last year with my toddler son, we got to experience what an exceptional children’s program this was. The staff was very accommodating to my son’s temperament and spent a lot of one on one time encouraging him to draw with chalk.

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/ Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/ Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

A dedicated area is set up with art supplies where kids of all ages can take part in hands on craft projects. Several kids worked on individual projects with the help of staff volunteers. Children were also encouraged to make chalk art on the ground by working together fostering a sense of community. Parents could choose to relax in the nearby seating area while keeping an eye on the kids or work with them on an art project.

This is a free event that can be great for a multi-generational activity. Even if you’re not in the market for art, this festival is a great opportunity to sample a diverse collection of original work and perhaps encourage kids to interact with artists in person. Looking through art and discussing them can be a nice way for grandparents or parents to share creative ideas with kids.

Picnic tables are set up so families can have lunch together. Food stalls from local vendors are set up on site. Street performers and live music give it a carnival-like atmosphere.

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/ Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Photo credit: Anuja De Silva/ Cosmopolitan TravelingMom

Discover Westport

The Fine Arts Festival was our impetus for discovering the historic town of Westport. The downtown area is small and conducive for exploring on foot. We discovered beautiful architecture in buildings such as the Town Hall which was reminiscent of the town’s colonial past.

Named “the best shopping destination in state” by Connecticut Magazine, the downtown boasts of quite a collection of name brand stores. There are lots of casual and high-end dining options right along Main Street if you wanted to stop for a meal.

The Westport Fine Arts Festival is a wonderful way to support and appreciate local talent while also igniting creativity in young minds.