Enriching the Experience of Hammonasset Beach State Park

Hammonassett Festival

September 30 – October 1 2017 
10 AM-7 PM, Saturday and 10 AM-5 PM Sunday


Building on past success, the Hammonassett Festival has expanded to better honor Native American traditions and cultures and celebrate our Natural World.

Madison, CT, September 5, 2017 — The Hammonassett Festival comes to the Guilford Fairgrounds this fall for two days of celebration, education and entertainment. Honoring nature and Native America, the 7th Festival will take place on Saturday, September 30, from 10 AM to 7 PM and Sunday, October 1, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Each day will begin with a Native American blessing and smudging ceremony, led by Allan Saunders (Mohegan), followed by music, dance, art and craft vendors, exhibits and demonstrations, activities for the whole family, storytelling and a variety of food choices.

“Word of the Festival has spread, and we have been approached with dozens of exciting ideas and opportunities. To accommodate that interest, this year’s event offers more attractions and extended hours,” says Barbara Hanson, Co-Chair of the Hammonassett Festival. She adds, “The event has traditionally taken place at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, but ongoing construction at the park prompted us to take the event to the nearby — and spacious –Guilford Fairgrounds.” It is Barbara’s feeling that “the Festival isn’t about Place, but that the heart of the event is the gathering together of many peoples to share and celebrate and honor and learn.  We hope to raise community awareness of the culture and time-honored traditions of the Indigenous Peoples, as well as issues they face today.  We hope to raise awareness of how we can work together to repair the balance between people and nature, and preserve the beauty and abundance of Mother Earth for those who live with the land and the seven generations that are coming. “

Featured performers:

  • The popular Native Nations Dance Troupe, led by Erin Meeches (Schaghticoke), will gather in the Dance Circle to share their dances and interpretations. There will be multiple presentations on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli will present Aztec Dance. Each dance is a prayer, a way of life utilized to communicate with each other and the world. There will be multiple presentations daily.
  • The Chankas of Peru will present the Scissors Dance, a cultural expression of the Andean of Peru. There will be one presentation each day.

Featured wildlife shows:

  • Live raptor show by A Place Called Hope, a raptor rehabilitation center in Killingworth, CT.  Christine Cummings and Todd Secki will introduce you to the “ambassador birds”, those that cannot be returned to the wild due to injuries, who help educate the public on ways to better co-exist with all wildlife.  Birds will be on-site Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 – 5:00; there will be one raptor show daily.
  • Live reptile show presented by the Meigs Point Nature Center of Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, CT.  Ranger Russ Miller will present exhibits and lead discussions on the snakes and turtles you see throughout Connecticut.   There will be two live reptile shows on Saturday and one on Sunday.


Other special attractions:

  • Multiple performances of Native American flute music and guitar by Allan Madahbee (Ojibway) in the Concert Area
  • Performance on Saturday by local music group, Ponybird with Jennifer Dauphinais, Jason Bates, and Rob Dauphinais
  • Expanded Children’s Area offering stories, games and crafts presented by the Institute for American Indian Studies (IAIS), local libraries, and Friends of Hammonasset; also a mock dig, teepee painting, scavenger hunt, and touch table.
  • The New England Atlatl Championship, where attendees can also try their hand at the ancient skill of spear-throwing
  • Native American artists, craftspeople and traders displaying and selling authentic handmade beadwork, silver jewelry, wampum jewelry, pottery, dream catchers, woodcarvings, baskets, clothing, and much more
  • Environmental exhibits, museum outreach programs, and demonstrations presented by organizations such as Menunkatuck Audubon, CT DEEP, Friends of the Office of State Archaeology, Shoreline Outdoor Education Center, Trout Unlimited, and the US Coast Guard
  • A variety of food choices in our Food Court

The above features and special attractions are subject to change.

Exhibitors and vendors: pre-registration is required. Contact: HammonassettFestival @gmail.com

The Festival is presented by Friends of Hammonasset, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and is sponsored by Friends of Hammonasset and the Robert F. Schumann Foundation.

Parking: Free on-site parking

Admission: adults, $5; children under 12, free

Note: No pets or alcohol at the Fairgrounds, including the parking lots


Look for more information on the Friends of Hammonasset website, hammonasset.org or Hammonassett Festival Facebook page.

Questions? email: HammonassettFestival@gmail.com


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Admission: Adults, $5; Children under 12, free

Parking: Free on-site parking

Hammonassett Festival December 25, 2016