As the saying goes, Connecticut is Still Revolutionary. And as history buffs will remind you, at the time of the Revolutionary War, France was on our side. Which brings us to Saturday, July 28 (from 9am to 3pm) when the abundance of a French country market comes to Connecticut. For the 14th year, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts Market En Plein Air, a place for artisan bakers, organic farmers, and specialty food producers to show off their specialties. Last year, over 6,000 people attended the event, part of Old Lyme Midsummer Festival. A chefs’ competition, an artisan craft fair, dog contest, book signings, and hands-on activity area round out the food-focused experience! Modeled after the outdoor markets found in villages throughout France, Market En Plein Air features fresh organic fruits and vegetables, flowers, breads, fine cheeses, herbs, and specialty foods -- all of the highest quality and all produced in Connecticut. There will be 28 specially selected vendors on hand with items to sample and take home. Festivalgoers can enjoy a prepared lunch by Gourmet Galley and stroll the Museum’s 11-acre historic site along the banks of the Lieutenant River.
Next to the Market on the grounds of the Museum is Hands-On/Minds-On, where visitors of all ages enjoy fun, creative projects provided by area cultural organizations from 10am to 3pm. At 12pm the Bee and Thistle Inn and Spa presents BEAT Shoreline Chef Competition. Just like on TV, four local chefs are given secret ingredients selected from Market En Plein Air vendors. Using those items, they prepare a dish to be judged on taste and presentation. Spectators watch as the chefs prepare their items. The winner will be selected at 1:30pm.
Entrance to activities is free. Admission to the Museum and riverfront gallery, which features the special exhibition, On Hudson: Highlights from the Albany Institute of History & Art will be reduced to $5 for the day. The Florence Griswold Museum exit 70 off I-95. More info at (860) 434-5542 and www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org.