- New Hampshire
- Jessica Dawdy
New Hampshirites are known for being the kind of people who proudly march to the beat of their own drum. Combine this sense of independence with the state’s stunning natural scenery, which ranges from lakes and valleys, to hills and mountains, and it’s no surprise that New Hampshire puts on numerous one-of-a-kind festivals, events, and celebrations. Here are ten events not to miss this summer.
Art l Annual League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair
2 – 10 August
The country’s oldest craft fair, the Annual League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair features traditional and contemporary fine craft work created by more than 350 state-juried members of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. In addition to the opportunity to buy crafts handmade in New Hampshire, visitors can meet the craftsmen and learn about their techniques. There are demonstrations of glassblowing, blacksmithing, wood-carving and other techniques, along with more than 18 hands-on workshops for adults and children. The festival also features performances by musicians, storytellers and theatre groups, as well as a sculpture garden. Three exhibitions focus on practical crafts, including ‘Living with Craft’, which features room settings decorated with handmade furniture and accessories; as well as ‘Craft Wear’, which highlights unique clothing and jewelry produced by the fair’s artisans.
Food l Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest
Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest features more than 30 of the area’s best chilis, with local and regional chefs cooking up every kind of chili, from veggie to Texas-style. The event features two chili tasting contests, one for amateur chefs and one for professionals, with the best chili in each category determined by a panel of judges, along with votes from visitors. This family-friendly event also features local craft vendors, games, live musical performances, and a children’s activity centre. In addition to chili, visitors can enjoy dishes from a number of other local food vendors, including ribs, pulled pork, and other BBQ favourites. Now in its 12th year, proceeds from the event are donated to local charities.
Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest, Pat’s Peak Ski Area, 686 Flanders Road, Henniker, NH, United States, +1 603-428-3245
Culture l Hollis Flea Market
14 April – 27 October
Taking place on Sundays throughout the summer, the Hollis Flea Market is the largest and longest running flea market in New Hampshire, in operation since the 1960s. With over 400 vendors spaces spread across more than 20 acres, the outdoor market features everything from antiques and collectibles, to yard sale-style merchandise, including both new and used items. The selection at this family-owned market is a little different each weekend, with new vendors setting up each week, and some remaining throughout the entire season. The on-site snack bar offers a selection of sandwiches, burgers, and pizzas to satisfy hungry bargain hunters.
Hollis Flea Market, 436 Silver Lake Rd, Hollis, NH, United States, +1 603 465 7677
Food l Newmarket Olde Home & Oyster Festival
Newmarket Olde Home & Oyster Festival is all about eating and appreciating oysters. Located in Newmarket, an old mill town situated on the Lamprey River, a tributary of the Great Bay, the festival features live music on two stages, an oyster tent and beer garden, along with plenty of street food vendors. Although oysters are the main dish offered, the event is aimed at raising awareness of the need to restore the Great Bay’s oyster population in order to protect the important role oysters play in the ecosystem, as well as ensure their continued availability for consumption. The event also showcases Newmarket’s vendors, with jewellery, clothing, kitchenware, artwork, and other locally-made products available for sale.
Music l Summer in the Street
28 June – 2 August
Summer in the Street is a weekly performance and music series that takes place on Saturday evenings throughout the summer in Portsmouth. Pleasant Street is closed after 5pm each evening, creating space for music, theatre and dance shows to be performed right in the streets. The event is ‘BYOC’ (bring your own chair’) with locals and tourists of all ages invited to gather together and enjoy the free outdoor ‘block party’. The genres range from maritime music to jazz, along with one night devoted to kids entertainment, with this year’s line-up including Jeff Warner & Friends, Seacoast Civic Dance Company, and Kate Redgate. The full performance schedule can be found on the Summer in the Street homepage.
Pleasant Street, Downtown Portsmouth, NH, United States, +1 603 433 4398
Music l New Hampshire Music Festival
8 July – 14 August
The New Hampshire Music Festival aims to showcase the best of classical and modern music. The festival features musicians from across the US playing a mix of time-honoured classical pieces and contemporary works, with this year’s festival including concertos by Mozart, Conus, Vivaldi and Copland. The event takes place in multiple venues across central New Hampshire, with the Silver Center at Plymouth State University acting as the main venue, hosting full orchestra performances on Thursdays and Saturdays, as well as chamber performances on Tuesdays. Celebrating its 62nd year, the festival’s theme this year is ‘The Romantic Spirit’, with performances exploring Romanticism from the 18th century to the present.
Art l Lakes Region Fine Arts and Crafts Festival
23 August – 24 August
The Lakes Region Fine Arts and Crafts Festival is an annual juried arts and crafts exhibition that takes place in the quaint town of Meredith. Featuring more than 80 local painters, jewellers, potters, photographers, painters, and quilters, the festival is one of the largest arts and crafts events in the area. Visitors can browse a selection of metal and wood sculptures, stained glass, leather work, paintings, and other handmade items, with the opportunity to meet and talk to the artists. This outdoor event also features ongoing musical performances and diverse food options, with Main Street closed to vehicle traffic to accommodate the festivities.
Culture l Prescott Park Arts Festival
27 June – 24 August, each Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Prescott Park Arts Festival is a unique event featuring music, theatre, dance, art, and other entertainment on the banks of the Piscataqua River. Celebrating its 40th year, the free event features a variety of different programming, including an ongoing open air theatre production of Shrek the Musical; exhibitions of local and regional artists in the park’s Sheafe Warehouse Gallery; an outdoor Monday night movie series; and music festivals ranging from jazz and folk, to country and Americana. The summer-long event series also features a number of food festivals, including the Chowder Festival and NH Fish & Lobster Festival.
Culture l World of Chocolate Exhibit
5 July – 31 January
An essential event for chocoholics everywhere, the World of Chocolate Exhibit presents the global history of chocolate through folk art, photography, timelines, and multimedia displays. Showcased across three floors of the Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center, the exhibit examines the first uses of chocolate in ancient Mexico, tracing its history through to its role in modern life. Events associated with the exhibit include cooking, taste tasting, and performances. The exhibit includes a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, presented in partnership with the Roald Dahl Literacy Estate, which explores Dahl’s role in the chocolate industry and the story behind the creation of his literary classic.
Music l White Mountain Boogie N’ Blues Festival
15 – 17 August
Winner of Blues Foundation, Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Best U.S. Blues Festival in 2012, the White Mountain Boogie N’ Blues Festival is New Hampshire’s largest outdoor blues festival. Set in a natural amphitheatre in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the event features award-winning blues artists, local craft vendors, a climbing wall, firework displays, and plenty of food. Entering its 18th year, highlights of the line-up this year include Samantha Fish, winner of the Blues Music Awards’ Best New Artist in 2012; and Shakura S’Aida, nominee for five Maples Blues Awards in 2014.