Around the first weekend of June, just under a hundred heifers are doused in flowers and paraded down Main Street, all clean and pretty, to highlight the festival and its important aspects. This is the polar opposite of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain but makes a good point: eat local and encourage local family farms to keep producing food for "locavores." The requisite performers, music, dance, food, balloon artists and face painters are all present along with demonstrations, exhibits and "The Hammys." Over 40,000 visitors enjoy a farm tour, food market, farm summit, dairy princess pageant and top-shelf entertainment. Can you really pass this up?

Around the end of May and the first week of June, Burlington puts on a 10-day jazz extravaganza that celebrates local talent and world-class jazz performers so that "civilians" and musicians can enjoy various forms of live jazz. Stages indoors and out are filled with talent from around the globe during this 30-year tradition, and many events are free. From the Church Street Marketplace to the Flynn Center, live jazz fills the air, reflecting Vermont's active jazz community.

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    Quechee, VT

A three-day weekend in mid-June brings 20 hot air balloons to the Village Green, and rides can be booked online in advance or during the event. Over 60 craft artisans and other vendors show their wares, and there is plenty of food and a beer and wine garden. Many kids' activities keep the young ones busy with a bounce house, train rides and freeze dance. Yankee Magazine listed this festival in the "top 20 events of the summer." Music and entertainment run continuously, so no one is bored. Celebrate the summer!

This largest and oldest quilt festival in New England runs for three days over the last weekend of June. For over 30 years, this annual event has hosted over 80 vendors and has displayed 400 quilts for our visual pleasure. Learn all there is to know about quilting from the 75 or so classes and lectures available and find supplies at more than 70 booths devoted to quilting. Bring quilts to be appraised and find out their value; compare and contrast antique and contemporary quilts. The air-conditioned Champlain Valley Exposition hall keeps everyone comfortable during demonstrations and gift-buying forays. Come in and be amazed.

Over a long weekend in mid-July, at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, about 25 colorful hot air balloons ascend and descend morning and evening into the valley. Food, live music and a beer garden provide other diversions, and balloon rides are available. Kids' activities add to the mix as visitors peruse the tethered balloons while they're on the ground.

Just after the July 4th holiday, a week of musical performances regales area residents with concerts every evening from 7p-10p. Noontime Brown Bag events are family-friendly, and there is a kids' hour daily. Contemporary pop, Bluegrass, Spanish folk music and big band music can be heard in evening concerts. The Vermont Jazz Ensemble plays for the Saturday night Street Dance to close out the festival. About 1,000 visitors attend nightly, sitting on their blankets on the grass, eating ice cream and watching the kids dance around. It's all on the Village Green and it's all free.

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