6/25-6/27: Festivals, Fests and more

FEEL THE WARMTH:  There are few honors in the world that sting quite so much as the honor of being made fun of by Mr. Warmth himself, Don Rickles.  This weekend, you have the chance to experience that sting.  The legend that is Don Rickles is bringing his 50 years of comedic experience to the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Friday and Saturday nights.  But Rickles isn't the only comedy icon that will be on stage.  The one-and-only Joan Rivers will also perform.  Rivers, who may be known more for her ever plasticizing face these days, is still one of the funniest women in the world.  Tickets are $40-$65.  The show starts at 8 p.m.

GETTING STEAMY:  Come on ride the train.  Head down to Essex and make your way to the Steam Train and Riverboat this weekend for the Hot Steamed Jazz Festival.  The three-day, four-session festival is sure to help you embrace the music.  The performers include pianist and Ragtime composer William Bolcom & vocalist Joan Morris (Sat evening); Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band; Firecracker Jazz Band; James Langton’s The New York All Star Big (14 piece) Band; Galvanized Jazz Band; Riverboat Ramblers; Three Benny Opera - Dan Levinson, Molly Ryan and Matt Hoffman; Sugarfoot Youth Band; Annette St. John and Pianist Naoko Onopic.  Tickets are $25 for Friday and Sunday sessions, $50 for all day Saturday, $30 for Saturday night, or $90 for the entire weekend.  Click here for more info.

OFF TO THE MOUNTAINS:  After you enjoy the jazz in Essex (or before), head to the Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows for the Talcott Mountain Music Festival.  The 2010 version of the Festival is Friday night, featuring an evening of classical music under the stars.  The selections Friday will include Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Pachebel's Canon and Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks.  And there will even be real fireworks.  Besides the music, there will be plenty of other family fun.  And don't miss future installments of this summer's Festival.  Tickets are $25.  The gates open at 6 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. show. 

DO YOU BELIEVE IN GHOST STORIES:  Well you can be in one.  Apologies for ripping off "Pirates."  This weekend begins a summer filled with creepy delights at the Mark Twain House in Hartford.  Friday night, step off on a Graveyard Shift Ghost Tour through the historic mansion.  The tours feature paranormal investigations, encounters with the unexplained, tales of Victorian traditions surrounding séances and death and tragic tales from the Clemens family’s haunted history.  Tickets cost $18 (reservations are required).  Tours begin at 7 p.m., 7:45, 8:30 and 9:15.

IRISH EYES ARE SMILING:  Another paragraph, another festival for you to enjoy.  The North Haven Fairgrounds will play home to the 2010 Connecticut Irish Festival, Feis, & Agricultural Fair.  The festival highlights the best in Celtic dance, sports, music and culture.  The dance competition will feature hundreds of competitors in traditional costumes performing feats of grace and skill.  There will be plenty of live music provided by the likes of Enter the Haggis, Cliudan, Kitty Kelly, the Moonshiners and More.  Plus there's a road race, Gaelic football, hurling games, and well, you get the idea.  Tickets are $12.  The Festival runs from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. 

COMICAL:  We're keeping you down in the New Haven area, for yet another Fest!  The New Haven Summer Comics Fest is Saturday at ORBIT Art Gallery.  The event features artist and publisher tables, panel discussions, short films and animations, comics slide shows and even free beer!  The Fest runs from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., but there's an after party that runs to 2 a.m. with music, drinks and more. 

OLD SCHOOL:  Before the likes of A-Rod and Big Papi, baseball was a game played purely for enjoyment of the sport.  Or at least, that's what the players told people.  Still, the game was a little different back before the turn of the century (the 20th century that is).  But vintage is in, and the Friends of Vintage Base Ball (it was two words back then) will show off their stuff at the Hartford Baseball Grounds at Colt Meadows in Hartford.  Head to the field to see what America's Past Time was like when it was new.  Games are Saturday at 10 a.m. and noon. 

STARR POWER:  Former Beatle Ringo Starr is heading back to Connecticut this weekend with his All-Starr Band.  Starr's band of merry-musicians will hit the stage Sunday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.  The band includes the likes of Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, Rick Derringer, Richard Page (of Mr. Mister).  The evening will include music from the Beatles-era classic "With A Little Help From My Friends" to cuts off of Ringo's latest solo studio effort.  Tickets are $35-$50.  The show starts at 7 p.m.

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