Festival of Fools
Ages: 0 - 14+
Cost: All events are free to the public. Performers in all areas accept tips and gratuities through the tradition of “passing the hat”.
Parking: No - Street Parking Only
Features: Snack Stand, Restrooms
The Festival of Fools features the best international street performers from around the globe. Four main stage locations surrounding the Church Street Marketplace and City Hall Park will feature continuous street theater and music, performing to over 10,000 visitors to Church Street each day. The Festival wraps up on Sunday, August 2nd with a grand finale featuring all the performers of the festival.
Festival of Fools brings the age-old tradition of busking to Burlington. Busking is the practice of performing in public places for tips and gratuities. Performers will be conducting their acts on various locations called pitches throughout the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While the entertainment is free, festival goers should feel free to donate to the performer if they like what they see.
There are many new and exciting events happening this year at the Festival. Friday evening at 8pm, Live Nation presents comedian Lewis Black on the Flynn Main Stage. Also on Friday at 8pm, don’t miss the Afinque Salsa Social with special guest Ray Vega and Dsantos VT at North End Studios. Friday also features music by Robert Resnik, Starline Rhythm Boys and Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band, all performing on Church Street. New this year is a Late Night Cabaret called P Project with Paul Schnabel at the Off Center for the Dramatic Arts. It’s just for adults and at 10pm on Friday. The 31st is also a full moon, which brings the Full Moon Masquerade to Signal Kitchen, featuring music by Slow Magic and Madaila and masks by artists Beth Robinson and Eric Roy. Saturday features Farmers Market performances and a movie under the stars, Metropolis, with original live score by Randal Pierce and friends in front of Ben & Jerry’s on Church Street.
On Sunday, Kids Rock The Park! with music and performance by kids… for kids. From 12-5:30pm, enjoy performances from Burlington’s own, Very Merry Theater Company and Young Traditions Vermont bands on two big stages! Mike and his Big Blue Trunk will have foolish activities and festive face painters will be ready to paint your kids silly, along with the PinBox 3000 interactive DIY gaming and performance from Diversity Rocks! There is truly something for everyone.
Reviewed on 08/22/2013
What an awesome idea! My kids enjoy this every year....this year my son got to be part, they duct taped him to a chair then balanced a chair on his chin lol too funny. Great times on church street
Reviewed on 08/22/2013
This is such a great event. The shows that I put on here just amazing. There's all different kinds of performances from all over the world to see.
Reviewed on 08/19/2013
I have attended this festival 3 years in a row now and I have to tell you it is absolute fun! Although it is free i usually bring a bunch of ones so that i can give each of my kids a few to toss in the buckets of a good performer. You never know what your going to get at this event because they seldom have repeat performances from year to year. I have seen performers that had me in tears laughing as well as some duds too. The only problem...more
Reviewed on 07/27/2012
Love this festival. My husband and I travel all the way from New Jersey for this. Performers are excellent. Food is great. People are so friendly in Burlington we love to get away here. Our favorite show is the yo yo show. They always put on an amazing performance. Every year the festival seems to get even better and there is a bigger croud every year.
Reviewed on 08/08/2011
What a ton of fun! My husband and I laughed and enjoyed 4 shows plus the end of the day "best of..." show. Thank you BCA for all the fun!
Reviewed on 08/12/2008
Wow, what a Saturday we had. This festival was the perfect way to spend all day in Burlington. We met a friend in City Hall Park, caught a show, and decided to plan the day around the rest of the shows. It was wonderful! So kid-friendly, they laughed hysterically at the humor, facial expression, and stunts that the performers delighted us all with throughout the day. We met my husband for a to-go dinner on the lawn in City Hall Park...more
Reviewed on 08/12/2008
What a great way to spend a Saturday. We happened on the Festival of Fools, in Burlington to look for school clothes. This event was a blast. Great performers who were very entertaining and professional . The kids loved it, I enjoyed it also. There were many performances all happening at the same time, but repeated throughout the day, so all you had to do was wander around Church Street and beyond to catch an act. The Farmers Market...more
Reviewed on 07/18/2008
This is a brand new event for Burlington, but if you like street performers (and who doesn't) I think this is going to be a fun event. Our family experienced all the street performers at Key West at sunset a couple years ago and it was a blast to see so many people out performing. And if you have seen Waldo Woodhead at First Night, you know his festival will be fun.