In the hills of Connecticut’s Litchfield County is Kent Barns – a sprawling complex of antique barns that are home to a variety of stylish art galleries, shops, and top-notch eateries. Visitors flock there for Second Saturday – a family-friendly community event, which kicked off May 14 and runs through October 15.
Be sure to stop by on the second Saturday of each month for a bite, some shopping or socializing with friends, or for some inspirational gallery hopping. The bucolic setting will be bustling with seasonal markets, unique events such as author and designer lectures, and fun activities for people of all ages. This event, which is open to the public, supports local businesses and artisans.
“Second Saturday is like stepping out onto your favorite piazza with street musicians playing in the background and shoppers bustling about with bouquets and baguettes en route to another market, shop, or gallery. It’s a day to be enjoyed by everyone. Each monthly event will offer an entirely new experience for visitors,” says Karolene Carlson, integrated marketing consultant for Kent Barns. Visit Kent Barns’ website for news about upcoming pop-up shops, demonstrations, and talks.
Community Farmers Market (10am to 2pm)
Located in the iconic Big Red barn, this enticing market offers a stunning selection of specialty plants, herbs, and colorful blooms. An assortment of delectable dairy products and meats will be available from South Kent’s Rock Cobble Farm.
House of Books Storytime Under the Big Maple Tree (10am to 11am)
Children ages eight and under are welcome to gather under this charming tree to listen to live book readings. Each session will be followed by a fun craft event. The tree is located outside 109 Cheese Market.
Kent Flower Market at RT Facts (10am to 1pm)
Flower power! Attend flower design workshops and watch demonstrations by leading florists and makers. “The last few years, the outdoor flower market has been hugely successful. It attracts people from all over the NW Corner – from families looking for a cool day out to discerning designers, and sometimes, one can catch a glimpse of Martha Stewart,” says Carlson. Some of the local growers and florists include Anderson Acres Farm and Cobble Well Farm, both in Kent; Falls Village Flower Farm in Falls Village; Loam Floral Design Co. in New Preston; and Honeychurch Home in Salisbury.
Scribble Art for All Ages Under the Big Maple Tree (11am to 1pm)
Celebrate summer and art by participating in a collaborative craft for all ages. These art projects will change for each Second Saturday event. All materials are provided.
Art Galleries, Shops & Eateries-New Exhibits and Offerings (10am to 5:30pm)
All three galleries will showcase the works of contemporary artists. First up: Catch Andy Harper’s Parallel Botany at Carol Corey Fine Art. Harper’s works are described as “arenas for discovery and camouflage.” They depict the exuberance of growth, and the death and decay of botanical subject matters. The show ends June 5.
Through July 3, Kenise Barnes Fine Art will exhibit Melanie Parke’s Flowers for Friends. Pastoral, bucolic still life settings emerge from Parke’s life. The artist reconstructs familiar interiors and filters them through the ideology of memory. Her often captures the beauty of flowers, birds, decorative objects, gardens, and domestic settings–”safe places for pleasure.”
Through July 10, Craven Contemporary will feature Alex Katz – New Flowers – seven new large flower works by the artist. The show will spotlight the 94-year-old artist’s signature minimalist aesthetic, which feature flat planes of rich, lovely color. In October 2022, Katz will have a major retrospective at Manhattan’s Guggenheim.
Live Music Under the Big Maple Tree (12pm to 3pm)
Live music will be played on a patio under the majestic tree. Before grabbing a seat under the ol’ maple tree, pick up a tasty breakfast or lunch at one of Kent Barns’ award-winning eateries. Head to No. 109 Cheese Market for artisanal cheeses; Swyft for farm-driven pizzas, shareable small plates, and seasonal entrees; Wilson’s Bakery & Café for coffee, all-day breakfast, sandwiches, salads, baked goods, and more; or Woodford’s General Store, which has a temporary pop-up location at 4 North Main Street. Head there for specialty gifts and locally sourced foods.
Save the date!
Literary buffs can visit House of Books in its new and renovated space at 10 North Main Street.
Save the date! A upcoming book talk is scheduled for July 9. Tune into the conversation led by Eric D. Lehman and Amy Nawrocki, who have co-authored several great reads about Connecticut. Connecticut Farms and Farmers Markets—Tours, Trails, and Attractions, details the farms that dot the Constitution State – from Salisbury to Stonington and everywhere in-between. Whether you’re seeking authentic agricultural experiences, the most sustainable options, or fun farm experiences, this book will help you in your quest. The discussion will be presented on the plaza next to Craven Contemporary.
To learn more, visit in person at 6 North Main Street, Kent, CT. Call (860) 866-8066 or visit online at kentbarnsct.com.