Outdoor festivals heating up in Southwestern Connecticut

Summer is officially underway, and for us party people, that means cookouts, concerts, bonfires and beach parties. You can host your own sun-drenched celebration, but why not enjoy the season — and a heaping plate of food — in the company of your community?

Southwestern Connecticut has no shortage of outdoor fetes — from sizzling barbecues to craft beer blowouts to open air arts festivals — coming up this season. Check them out, below:

Pork in the Park This inaugural event, which takes place at Stamford’s recently-opened Mill River Park, boasts a 15-team BBQ competition, food vendors, craft beer, cooking demos, live music and a kids’ play zone. Performances by High & Mighty Brass Band, Gas House Gorillas, Cosmic Jibaros, Barbecue Bob and the Spareribs, The Juicy Grapes, Nardy Boy and more. Saturday, July 13, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, July 14, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. $15, $5 for children, free for kids 5 and younger. Mill River Park, Mill River and West Broad streets, Stamford. 917-446-2921.

Bridgeport Arts Fest The Park City’s art scene comes together each year for this celebration of arts, music and culture; featuring dozens of vendors, live music, hula hoopers, dancers, craft beer, food trucks an after party and more. Performances by Bearstronaut, The Spinto Band, Body Language, Girls on Bikes, Pocket Hotties, Alpaca Gnomes and more. Saturday, July 13. McLevy Green, Bank Street, Bridgeport. 203-576-3972.

Milford Oyster Festival Blues Traveler headlines this annual free celebration of all oyster everything; features oyster shucking and eating contests, a food court, craft beers and arts and crafts tent. Also performing is Frank Viele and Mullett. Saturday, Aug. 17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Downtown Milford and Milford Harbor, High St., Milford, 203-878-5363, milfordoysterfestival.com.

Blues, Views and BBQ Festival Imagine if every family in your neighborhood got together for one massive backyard cookout. Add a robust musical line-up, craft beers and heaping helpings of ribs and, well, you get the idea. Performances by Cactus, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Poppa Chubby, The London Souls and more. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. $15-$45. Levitt Pavilion For The Performing Arts, 40 Jesup Road, Westport, 203-505-8716.

Norwalk Oyster Festival This annual three-day seaside bonanza features live musical acts (headliners have yet to be announced), arts and crafts, Pirates Coast Adventure, New England Seaport Village, Kids’ Cove and oh yeah — oysters galore. Friday, Sept. 6, 6-11 p.m. $5; Saturday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. $12; Sunday, Sept 8., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. $12; $10 for seniors any day, $5 for children 5-12 any day. 203-838-9444, info@seaport.org.

Harbor Brew Fest “Well over 50 brewers” are expected for this second annual beer-lovers extravaganza; features performances from local bands and food trucks. Saturday, Sept. 28, noon-5 p.m. $60 for Brewer’s Special, $40 for general admission. Ballpark at Harbor Yard, 600 Main St., Bridgeport. 203-257-6403, kellyscinto@gmail.com.

Scott Gargan