Strawberry shortcake, balloon festival, music in the park — everybody has their list of things they absolutely must do during the summer. Whether your thing is chili or chowder, you’ve gotta make it to a food festival in the next three months. And whether you’d rather hike into the forest or check out a Shaker-style garden, you need to spend at least one day appreciating nature (and the fact that it is, at least for the moment, not covered in a foot of snow).
For this year’s summer guide, we’re presenting a list of 10 things you have to do before the leaves change color and it’s time to pull out the sweaters again. We tell you where you can get, for example, some music under the stars or a chance to browse for art in the open air. Some events may require tickets or reservations, so highlight your picks for the perfect summer and give a call or go online to lock in your spot.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day — the unofficial season for summer here in New Hampshire — there are only about 15 weekends to get in some serious fun. Here are some suggestions for making the most of our outdoor season.
1 Snack on something tasty at a food fest. There are food festivals aplenty in the summer, starting with the farmers markets, which have become places to pick up snacks or even heat-and-eat meals. Some, like seacoast farmers markets, kicked off the season in May, but many get going for the year in June. See www.nhfma.org for a list.
The 9th Annual Chili Cookoff hosted by the Alvirne Friends of Music is scheduled for Saturday, June 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event, which is sanctioned by the International Chili Society, will send its winner to the World Championship Chili Cookoff. The Fiesta will be held at 211 Derry Road in Hudson, rain or shine. Admission costs $7. See www.ahsmusic.org.
Keasarge Area Eat Local will host “Eat Local Week” in Warner from Friday, June 3, through Sunday, June 12. Tasty events will include the opening of the Warner Farmers Market on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. See kearsargechamber.org/EatLocal.
The Friends of the Library of Windham will hold their 28th annual Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Windham High School. The day will feature strawberry shortcake and other food as well as music, activities and the final day of the book fair (8 to 11 a.m.). See www.flowwindham.org.
Prescott Park in Portsmouth holds several food festivals throughout its season. Most of them — a chili festival, a seafood festival and a brewfest — are in the fall. But the 27th Annual WOKQ Chowder Festival is on Saturday, June 4. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. and goes until the chowder’s gone; tickets cost $10 for adults, $12 for kids 12 and younger. See www.prescottpark.org.
In the Merrimack Valley area, summer food fests really seem to kick off with the Nashua West Rotary’s annual Rock ’N Ribfest at the Anheuser Busch facility in Merrimack. This year’s Ribfest runs Saturday, June 17, through Sunday, June 19. In addition to the ribbers’ competition, there is food from other vendors, music, activities for kids and more. Admission costs $7; bring more money for the eats and activities. See www.rotaryribfest.org.
Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. 1160 Bridge St., Manchester, 625-6115, www.stnicholas-man-nh.org, will hold its annual lamb barbecue on Saturday, June 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Look for marinated lamb, pastries and other Greek dishes as well as Greek music.
The Friends of the Town of Bedford Cemeteries will hold their third annual Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will take place by the performance stage near the Bedford town pool. See friendsofbedfordcemeteries.org.
The annual Hollis Strawberry Festival and Band Concert will be held Sunday, June 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. featuring strawberry shortcakes and sundaes along with arts and crafts, activities for the kids, and music at the Hollis Town Common. See www.holliswomansclub.org.
The Ujima Collective will hold its annual African/Caribbean Celebration on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Manchester. Look for tasty foods from the islands, Africa and the African Diaspora as well as music, dancing and more. See ujimacollective.mysite.com or call 627-4631.
The New Hampshire Winery Association will hold its second NH Wine Festival on Saturday, Aug. 6, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Rochester Fairgrounds in Rochester. Admission costs $20 per person and gets you 10 tasting tickets to try wine from 17 Granite State wineries. The event will also feature New Hampshire-made eats. See www.nhwineryassociation.com.
And then there’s that magical weekend — the third in August (Friday, Aug. 19, through Sunday, Aug. 21) — when the schedule is packed full of food fests. Last summer, the weekend included six.
Our Lady of the Cedars Melkite Catholic Church, 140 Mitchell St., Manchester, will hold its annual Middle Eastern festival Friday, Aug. 19, through Sunday, Aug. 21. The menu of eats usually includes lamb, beef and chicken kabobs, falafel and tabbouleh, and traditional Middle Eastern pastries. The event also features Arabic music, dancing, wine tasting, a bazaar with gifts, a tour of the church, and games and activities for children. Visit www.mahrajan-nh.com.
The Latino Festival of New Hampshire will run from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, in Veterans Park in Manchester and feature foods from across Latin America (bring cash) as well as music and dance. See www.latinosunidosnh.org.
The Southeast Asian Water Festival, held in downtown Lowell, also takes place the third weekend of August on Friday and Saturday and features the cuisine of Cambodia, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries as well as dance, parades, long boat races, crafts and more. See www.lowellwaterfestival.org.
Greekfest 2011 at Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, 111 Island Pond Road in Manchester, 623-2045, www.assumptionnh.org, will be held Saturday, Aug. 20, and Sunday, Aug. 21. Look for gyros and Greek dinner plates as well as pastries and other goodies.
The Church of Our Savior, 10 Amherst St. in Milford, 673-3309, www.coosmilford.org, has its annual Peach Festival and Lobster Supper on Saturday, Aug. 20. The day starts with a peach festival full of peach pies, peach jam and other peach goodies as well as crafts, activities for kids and a silent auction. Then later in the day, it’s lobster time for a dinner of Maine lobster, corn on the cob, potato salad, breads and a peach dessert.
Henniker Rotary Club has scheduled its annual Chili Fest for Sunday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. at Pat’s Peak in Henniker. In addition to a chili cookoff competition, the event often includes a car show, performances, activities for the kids and more. See www.chilinewhampshire.org.
2 Enjoy some music outdoors. Summer brings out the free or nearly free (donations are often encouraged) outdoor concerts.
As part of Nashua’s free SummerFun program, there will be free concerts Mondays at 7 p.m. at the Greeley Park Bandshell from June 6 (with the Amherst Town Band) through Aug. 22 (Marcus Gale playing children’s music). There will also be some Friday concerts in Greeley Park in June at 7 p.m., and check the schedule at gonashua.com for mid-week concerts in Greeley and in the plaza outside the Nashua Library.
Concord’s Summer Music Series runs Thursdays in Eagle Square from 7 to 9 p.m. A “’60s Invasion” concert is scheduled for Thursday, June 23. See www.ci.concord.nh.us — click on “Parks & Recreation” and then look for “Special events.” (The concert is free but a $2 per person contribution is suggested.) A Tuesday concert series begins at 7 p.m. and travels to different city parks.
Friends of Stark Park will run a summer concert series in the park (off River Road in north Manchester). Scheduled shows include the Manchester Community Summer Band Concert on July 14 (from 6 to 8 p.m.) and a series of Sunday concerts at 2 p.m. starting with Bedford Big Band on Sunday, June 26, and running through the end of August.
Hampstead’s Meetinghouse Summer Series has a series of concerts on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. starting on June 28 with All Together Now (a Beatles tribute band) and running through a special bluegrass festival Saturday concert on Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. See www.MeetinghousePark.org. Admission is free; bring blankets or lawn chairs.
Intown Manchester will present a four-concert Summer Music Festival in Veterans Park in downtown Manchester on Thursdays at 7 p.m. — July 7, July 21, July 28 and Aug. 4. See intownmanchester.com.
The free Lowell Folk Festival will run Friday, July 29, through Sunday, July 31, at a variety of locations in downtown Lowell, Mass. In addition to a variety of musical performances with styles ranging from Cajun to Celtic, the weekend includes an ethnic food festival, art, crafts and activities for kids. Visit www.lowellfolkfestival.org or call 978-970-5000.
Of course, if you’re willing to spend some cash, you can catch some big-name concerts in the area. At Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane in Gilford, 293-4700, meadowbrook.net, the Eastern Propane Concert Series starts on Saturday, May 28, with Country Throwdown featuring Willie Nelson and Jamey Johnson (see an interview with Lukas Nelson, who is also performing, on page 58). Other scheduled shows include Styx and Yes on July 9, Lucinda Williams and Amos Lee on July 24, Bright Eyes on July 28, Alison Kraus & Union Station on Aug. 5, Selena Gomez & The Scene on Aug. 16, ZZ Top on Aug. 27 and Lady Antebellum on Sept. 4.
The Lowell Summer Music series (www.lowellsummermusic.org) at the Boarding House Park on French Street in Lowell, Mass., will begin its season with Chris Isaak on Saturday, June 18, and then the Indigo Girls on Thursday, June 23, and Friday, June 24. Other shows include Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on July 8, moe. on July 22, Toad the Wet Sprocket on Aug. 6, Steven Page (formerly of Barenaked Ladies) on Aug. 27 and Matisyahu on Sept. 3.
Prescott Park in downtown Portsmouth (www.prescottpark.org) offers a series of concerts and festivals during the summer. The concerts kick off with Tom Rush on Thursday, June 23. Admission is a recommended donation of $8 to $10. The festivals include the Showcase Festival (July 9, performers include Patty Larkin), Americana Festival (July 16), Jazz Festival (July 10), Folk Festival (July 30), Country Festival (Aug. 6), Roots and Rhythm Festival (Aug. 14) and two kids’ music festivals (July 17 and Aug. 21).
Soulfest, a Christian music and worship festival, comes to Gunstock in Gilford from Wednesday, Aug. 3, through Saturday, Aug. 6. The line-up of musicians includes Switchfoot, Glenridge and Jars of Clay. See thesoulfest.com.
Head to Portsmouth on Saturday, Aug. 6, for RedhookFest 2011 at the Redhook Brewery at the Pease Tradeport. Tickets cost $30 in advance and $40 at the door. It’s an all-ages show but those under 21 must be accompanied by a parent. Doors open at 2 p.m. and music (the headliner is scheduled to be announced soon) will go from 2:30 to 10 p.m. See www.hookfest.com.
3. Make a run for it. Lace up your sneakers and hit the road in one of this summer’s road races. Many are 5Ks, perfect for the new runner. Some offer more challenges. Many races have listings and registration at www.coolrunning.com.
The annual Relay for Life of Greater Manchester brings participants from Manchester, Bedford, Goffstown and Hooksett together to celebrate those who have faced cancer and fight back against the disease. This year’s event starts Friday, June 3, at 6 p.m. in Livingston Park in Manchester. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.relayforlife.org/manchesternh. Walking, not running, is the way to move at the 8th Annual Blind Awareness Walk-A-Thon on Saturday, June 4 (www.sightcenter.org). As part of its SummerFun program, Nashua will have runs and walks this summer including Ride to Read … And Walk Walkathon/Bikeathon on June 5 and the Revolution Run on July 4. See gonashua.com. The Salvation Army 5K Race and Fitness Walk happens Saturday, June 11, starting at 10 a.m. in Nashua See www.3craceproductions.com for all race details or call 889-5151. The Windham Rail Trail Alliance will hold its Flat ’N Fast 5K on June 12 (www.windhamrailtrail.org). Margarita’s of Dover will hold a Father’s Day 5K on June 19; wear a necktie in honor of Father’s Day (www.avisgoodwinchc.org). The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life will start Friday, June 24, at 6 p.m., at the Pinkerton Academy football field (19 North Main St., Derry). See www.relayforlife.org/derryandlondonderrynh. The 19th Annual CIGNA/Elliot 5K Corporate Road Race takes place in downtown Manchester on Thursday, Aug. 11, at 6:20 p.m. See www.elliothospital.org/_newsite/cigna/index.htm.
It’s a bit of a drive but the Hero Half Marathon to benefit Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth is on Aug. 28 and will take place at Dartmouth College. The event will include an attempt to recapture the Guinness World Record for the “most people dressed as superheroes in one place at one time.” See www.chadhalf.org. For something a little different than the standard road race, check out the Renegade Playground Challenge at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on June 4. A 5K obstacle course will include a mud crawl, waterfalls, a web made of rope, stacks of hay, monkey bars, cargo nets, walls, etc. See www.renegadeplayground.com.
4 Browse for some new art in natural light. Outdoor art shows and art exhibits abound this summer. The Concord Arts Market, an outdoor juried artisan and art market, will move to Bicentennial Square in downtown Concord. It starts for the season on Saturday, June 4, along with the city’s farmers market (which runs from 8 a.m. to noon on Capitol Street). The Arts Market will run Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit concordartsmarket.com.
The Milford Keyes Art Festival will be held Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5, in the Milford Oval. The event includes works from members of the Milford Keyes Art Group as well as children’s works on Saturday. See www.milfordmainstreet.org.
The Manchester Artists Association has summer events on the schedule. On Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s the An Art Affair in the Country at Harmony Learning Center in Bedford. On Saturday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., it’s Art in the Park in Veteran’s Park in Manchester. See www.manchester-artists.org.
The 14th Annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit at Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden, 236 Hopkinton Road in Concord, 226-2046, www.themillbrookgallery.com, opens Sunday, June 26, and runs through Oct. 16.
See artists and artisans from all over New Hampshire at the League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair Saturday, Aug. 6, to Sunday, Aug. 14, at the Mount Sunapee Resort, Newbury, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. rain or shine. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for seniors, students and active military. Children under 12 get in free. See www.nhcrafts.org.
The 58th annual Greeley Park Art Show and Competition will be Saturday, Aug. 20, and Sunday, Aug. 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Greeley Park in Nashua. The outdoor art show features dozens of fine artists and their works including paintings, photographs, sculpture and more. See www.naaasite.org.
5 Cheer on competitors. You don’t have to go to Boston to root for the boys of summer. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the AA minor-league affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, play at the Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, 1 Line Drive, Manchester, 641-2005, with regular-season home games through Aug. 28. Games are scheduled every day of Memorial Day weekend against the New Britain Rock Cats; game time is 7:05 p.m. on Friday, May 27, and Saturday (look for post-game fireworks) and 1:35 p.m. on Sunday and Monday. See www.nhfishercats.com.
The New Hampshire Motor Speedway, 1122 Route 106 in Loudon, 783-477, www.nhms.com, has a packed summer schedule featuring Indycar, NASCAR, club events and more. On Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29, it’s the Sports Car Club of America Regional. On Monday, June 13, it’s USCRA Vintage Motorcycle Racing. Friday, June 17, through Sunday, June 19, it’s the 88th Loudon Classic. On Friday, July 15, it’s New England 125 Oval — NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
Cheer on old-school games at the 13th Annual International Classic Videogame Tournament Thursday, June 2, through Sunday, June 5, at the Funspot Family Entertainment Center on Route 3 in Weirs Beach, 366-4377. Tournament hours are Thursday, noon to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs $40 and includes 200 game tokens. Register at the door; the first 200 to register will receive a T-shirt and a goodie bag. See details at www.classicarcademuseum.org or www.funspotnh.com.
The Manchester Freedom, New Hampshire’s full-contact all-female professional football team in the Independent Women’s Football League, plays a regular-season home game on Saturday, June 11, against the Philadelphia Firebirds. Games are played at 4 p.m. at West Memorial Field, 9 Notre Dame Ave. in Manchester. Tickets cost $5. See www.manchesterfreedom.com.
The Lowell Spinners, the Red Sox single-A minor-league affiliate, begin the home season on Friday, June 17, at 7:05 p.m. Games are played at LeLacheur Park, 450 Aiken St., Lowell, Mass. For tickets and a complete schedule, go to www.lowellspinners.com.
June 18 will be a hot night for roller derby in Manchester. The ManchVegas Roller Girls (MVRG) go against the Seacoast-based Poison Pixies in their next home bout, Saturday, June 18, at West Side Arena, 1 Electric Ave. in Manchester. Doors open at 5 p.m.; bout starts at 6 p.m. Tickets cost between $6 and $18. See www.mvrgnh.com. Or see the ladies of the New Hampshire Roller Derby at the JFK Coliseum, 303 Beech St. in Manchester, at their next home bout on Saturday, June 18, when the Garden State Roller Girls take on the Skate Free or Die! All-Stars and the CT Roller Girls go up against the Queen City Cherry Bombs. Doors open at 4 p.m.; bouts start at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $12 at the door. See www.nhrollerderby.com.
Watch cowboys and cowgirls show their skills on horseback as they race through obstacle courses for prizes at the Cowboy Race at Gelinas Farm, 471 4th Range Road in Pembroke, on Sunday, July 10, at 10:30 a.m. Bring your horse and compete or just come to watch. Contact Gelinas Farm at 225-7024 or visit www.gelinasfarm.com.
The Concord Criterion Bike Race, sponsored by the NH Cycling Club and Team NH, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 6, on the roads surrounding White Park. Races start at 8 a.m. See www.nhcyclingclub.com or call 225-8690 or go to onconcord.com/recreation.
The Granite State Senior Games, an annual series of events for over-50 athletes, usually takes place in August. Check www.nhseniorgames.org for dates and registration information.
6 Get back to nature. Whether you’re looking to get out in the garden or get out in the forest, there are lots of opportunities to get closer to nature this summer.
The Massabesic Audubon Center, 26 Audubon Way in Auburn, 668-2045, www.nhaudubon.org, offers trails open dawn to dusk daily and exhibits at the center (open Tuesday through Saturday). In addition to summer youth programs, the center offers family events such as the Creatures of the Night Campfire (May 27 from 7 to 9 p.m.) focusing on nocturnal animals, events for adults such as coastal birding trips and programs for people over 50.
Saturday, June 4, is Free Fishing Day in New Hampshire — state residents and nonresidents can fish any inland water in New Hampshire that day without a fishing license. (Season dates, bag limits and all other fishing regulations must be followed on Free Fishing Day; anglers fishing for brood stock Atlantic salmon in the Merrimack and lower Pemigewasset rivers must have a fishing license and a special permit.) Free Fishing Day kicks off 2011 National Fishing and Boating Week in New Hampshire (June 4 - 12). See www.fishnh.com for rules and info on where fish have recently been stocked, tackle tips, lake depths and fishing forecasts for various parts of the state.
Amoskeag Fishways Learning Center, 6 Fletcher St. in Manchester, 626-3474, www.amoskeagfishways.org, is in the middle of fish season (through the middle of June) when its fish ladder, which helps spawning fish travel upstream past the dam, is in operation. Upcoming events include Lamprey Appreciation Day on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Fishways has a summer vacation series for kids (including weeklong events and one-time events for kids 4 and 5 years old) and a monthly Family Friday night event (Incredible Insects on June 24, Full Moon Hike on July 15 and Campfire Tales on Aug. 12). On Aug. 13, the Fishways will turn its focus to the forest with Play in the Woods, an event that will include a trip to Hackett Hill.
The Beaver Brook Association, 117 Ridge Road in Hollis, 465-7787, www.beaverbrook.org, offers summer youth programs as well as a trail system for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Upcoming events include a Summer Solstice Celebration on Saturday, June 18, which has the theme “Rendezvous with Rhubarb,” and National Trails Day event on Saturday, June 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
NH Herbal Network will hold its annual Spring Herb and Garden Day in partnership with Canterbury Shaker Village on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The day will feature workshops about growing and using herbs as well as local vendors and an organic lunch. Admission costs $17 per person with a $42 family rate. See www.nofanh.org/herbday.
Canterbury Shaker Village, 288 Shaker Road in Canterbury, 783-9511, www.shakers.org, will also present programs this summer including lavender day (July 9), Traditional Arts Day (Aug. 6), Mother Ann Day celebrating the founder of the Shaker movement in America (Aug. 7) and a fundraising dinner (Aug. 27). A concert series will also run throughout the summer.
The NH Audubon’s McLane Center, 84 Silk Farm Road in Concord, 224-9909, offers hiking trails as well as summer camp programs. A lecture series this summer includes a presentation about white nose syndrome in bats on July 26 and a discussion about climate change on Aug. 17.
The Peabody Mill Environmental Center, 66 Brook Road in Amherst, 673-1141, offers summer programs for kids as well as hiking trails (see map online).
7 Go to the fair. In addition to food fests, there are festivals, fairs, expos and celebrations of all kinds during the summer.
Castleberry Fairs & Festivals presents the 20th annual Memorial Day Weekend Craft Festival Saturday, May 28, through Monday, May 30, in the Mill Falls Marketplace on Route 3 in Meredith. Then, Saturday, July 2, through Monday, July 4, it’s the Gunstock Summer Craft Festival in Gilford. For details and directions to both, see www.castleberryfairs.com/index.php. Show hours are Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Monday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
Nashua will kick off its SummerFun series of events on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Greeley Park. Other events this summer include a Fourth of July celebration including kids’ events at 10 a.m. at Holman Stadium and fireworks that evening at 9 p.m.; the Fairy Tale Festival on July 16 and Children’s Day on Aug. 13. See the full schedule of SummerFun events at www.gonashua.com.
Learn more about the green side of trash at the Northeast Recycling Conference and Expo at Radisson Hotel Manchester/Center of New Hampshire, 700 Elm St., Manchester, on Monday, June 6, and Tuesday, June 7. This year’s theme is “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Call 800-223-0150 for more information, or visit www.nrra.net.
Concord will hold its annual Multicultural Festival on Saturday, June 18, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Statehouse lawn and city plaza on Main Street. The event will include food, music, dancing and crafts. See MultiCulturalFestivalNH.org.
Hillsborough Balloon Festival and Fair will be held Thursday, July 7, through Sunday, July 10, at Grimes Field in Hillsborough. Hot air balloons offer flights and tethered rides as well as a chance to see many balloons in one location. The fair will include live music, a parade, carnival, four-wheeler mud bogs, fireworks, mini tractor pulls, horse pulls, a firemen’s muster, an artists’ fair, sky-divers, a car show and a 5K road race. Admission to the festival is free, though some events do have a fee and parking costs $5 per car. Call 464-0377 or go to www.balloonfestival.org.
Concord’s Market Days and Summer Music Festival will run two days this year — Friday, July 15, and Saturday, July 16, , from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Concord both days. This free event (though bring money for all the food) features shopping, music family performers and more. See www.mainstreetconcord.com.
The 20th American Independence Festival will be held Saturday, July 16, in Exeter at American Independence Museum (One Governors Lane in Exeter) and Swasey Parkway. $7 gets you admission to events at both for ages 10+ (under age 10 free). Musical entertainment and fireworks follow. Visit www.independencemuseum.org.
The 44rd annual Stratham Fair runs from Thursday, July 21, through Sunday, July 24, in Stratham Hill Park on Route 33 in Stratham and includes 4H shows, oxen-pulling events, a lobster bake, pork and chicken barbecue and the ever-popular pig scramble (which sounds tasty but is actually an event). A four-day pass costs $20 for adults. See Strathamfair.com for daily schedules.
Canterbury Fair (in Canterbury, Exit 17 off Interstate 93) is always the last Saturday in July (July 30 this year) and features crafts, kids’ activities, live entertainment, canoe polo, square dancing, a bake sale, a 5K race and more. Food includes chicken barbecue, shrimp rolls, hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers, veggie burgers, a frappe bar and more. Admission is free (parking cost is $5 per car). Visit www.canterburyfair.com.
The 54th New Hampshire Antiques Show®, presented by the New Hampshire Antiques Dealers Association (NHADA), will take place Thursday, Aug. 11, through Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. Visit www.nhada.org or call 585-9199.
The 10th annual River Jamboree will be held Saturday, Aug. 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Waterfront Park at Everett Arena in Concord (rain date is Aug. 14). This free event will feature music, amusements, kids’ games, face-painting, pontoon boat rides and free canoe and kayak rentals. At 1:15 p.m. there will be a rubber duck race. Call 225-8690 or go to onconcord.com/recreation.
Head to Portsmouth International Airport at Pease for the Boston-Portsmouth Air Show on Saturday, Aug. 13, and Sunday, Aug. 14. The weekend will feature appearances by the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team and local aerobatic performer Michael Goulian. See www.bostonportsmouthairshow.com.
Spend a weekend celebrating silent and early sound comedy films at Mirthquake Thursday, Aug. 18, through Saturday, Aug. 20. Events take place in Manchester, Wilton and Concord. See www.silentfilmlivemusic.blogspot.com.
Manchester will celebrate its diversity at People Fest on Saturday, Aug. 27, in Veterans Park. Look for food, musical performances and more. See peoplefestnh.org.
Finish the summer off in blue suede shoes at the New England Elvis Festival at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, 700 Elm St. in Manchester, Friday, Sept. 2, through Sunday, Sept. 4. The weekend features an Elvis Tribute Artist along with a memorabilia sale, a big Saturday night show and more. See the complete schedule and find ticket information at www.newenglandelvisfest.com.
8 Take a day trip. With the sun shining late into the day and clear roads, summer is the perfect time to take a day trip for some fun a little outside your hometown. Here are some events worth penciling in the drive for.
Head just a few miles down Interstate 93 for Canobie Lake Park in Salem, which opens for the season on Thursday, May 26. The park offers more than 85 rides as well as games, live shows and a water park, according to a press release. The park is set to launch a new roller coast on June 11, the release said. Memorial Day weekend, members of the armed forces can purchase park admission for $10. See canobie.com.
When you head to the New Hampshire coast, you can choose beach or city. In addition to Portsmouth’s usual offering of historical and cultural attractions, there are some events this summer that make it worth the drive. The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St. in Portsmouth, 436-2400, www.themusichall.org, has a variety of events on its summer schedule including music (Jim Brickman: An Evening of Romance on June 3), writers (Ann Patchett on June 10), broadcasts from the MET (Madame Butterfly on June 25) and movies all summer long.
On Sunday, June 5, from 4 to 8 p.m., it’s the Portsmouth Signature Cocktail Competition. Tickets cost $20; see www.portsmouthcocktail.com. On June 11, it’s Market Square Day (www.proportsmouth.org/MarketSquareDay.cfm), which features a road race, festival, music, art and more. From June 25 through July 30, head to Pleasant Street on Saturdays starting at 5:30 p.m. for the Summer in the Street music series (see the above website). Or check out the previously mentioned goings on at Prescott Park (www.prescottpark.org), including the production of the musical Wizard of Oz, concerts and festivals and food events.
Over at Hampton Beach (www.hamptonbeach.org), a variety of events are scheduled, including the Hampton Beach Catamaran Regatta (June 18 & 19), the Sand Sculpting Competition (June 18-June 29), the Children’s Festival (Aug. 15-19) and the Hampton Beach Talent Competition (Aug. 26-28).
While you’re at the beach, check out music or comedy at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Blvd. in Hampton, 929-4100, www.casinoballroom.com. Upcoming shows include Bullet for My Valentine (May 26), comedian Richard Wright (June 3) and .38 Special with the Ron Noyes Band opening (June 9).
Stop off a few miles inland to let the kids learn while they play at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, 6 Washington St. in Dover, 742-2002, www.childrens-museum.org. Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 28, through Monday, May 30, the museum is offering free admission for military families.
If you’re looking for an excuse to head up to the Lakes Region, how about Laconia Motorcycle Week (www.laconiamcweek.com), which this year runs Saturday, June 11, through Sunday, June 19. A full schedule of the week’s extensive events — including tons of food, music, promotions, rides, races, guided tours, demos, stunt shows, rallies, exhibits and the “blessing of the motorcycles” — is on the website.
9 See theater made especially for summer. Some theater companies are offering productions specifically made for the season, including children’s series, outdoor theater and summer stock.
The Prescott Park Arts Festival will run of The Wizard of Oz as its outdoor production this summer. The play will run Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from June 24 through Aug. 21. Call 436-2848 or visit prescottpark.org.
Nashua Theatre Guild (www.nashuatheatreguild.org) will present A Winter’s Tale as its annual Shakespeare in the Park event on Saturdays and Sundays, July 23-24 and July 30-31. Admission is free and open to the public.
The Actors Circle Theatre will present As You Like It for their annual Shakespeare in the Park production. The play will run Aug. 6-7 and Aug. 13-14 in Depot Square Park. See www.actorscircletheatre.org
On Sunday, Aug. 14, New England Shakespeare will present Measure for Measure at Boardinghouse Park, 40 Fresh St. in Lowell, Mass. The event is free. Visit www.lowellsummermusic.org.
Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St. in Concord, 225-111, www.ccanh.com, offers productions for kids with the Little Smiles Children’s Summer Series (pictured), which starts June 28 with The Frog Prince. Show are at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and are produced by the adult actors from the Papermill Children’s Theatre Company. Other shows include The Secret Garden (July 5), The Ugly Duckling (July 12), The Princess and the Pea (July 19), Arabian Nights (July 26), Beauty and the Beast (Aug. 2), The Pied Piper (Aug. 9) and Cinderella (Aug. 16).
The Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St. in Manchester, 668-5588, www.palacetheatre.org, will present its summer children’s series starting with magician BJ Hickman June 28-29. Other shows include Cinderella (July 5-6), Beauty and the Beast (July 12-13), The Wizard of Oz (July 19-20), Aladdin (July 26-27), Snow White (Aug. 2-3), The Little Mermaid (Aug. 9-10) and Alice in Wonderland (Aug. 16-17).
The Peacock Players Project: Young Company will present its show Aug. 12-14 at 14 Court Street Theater in Nashua. See www.peacockplayers.org. The Players also have a summer show, title to be announced, scheduled for July 22-24.
The Majestic Theatre, 281 Cartier St. in Manchester, 669-7469, www.majestictheatre.net, will continue its season into the summer. Next up: Just So (featuring actors ages 12-19 from the Majestic Academy of Dramatic Arts) June 2-5 at the Majestic Theatre. Other scheduled shows include The Odd Couple (June 17-26), Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (July 15-24) and Nunsense (Aug. 12-21).
Peterborough Players, 55 Hadley Road in Peterborough, 924-7585, www.peterboroughplayers.org, have a variety of shows planned for the summer. The Players will present Last Train to Nibroc (June 22-July 3), Oh, Coward! (July 6-17), Ancestral Voices: A Family Story (July 20-31), Arms and the Man (Aug. 3-14), Doctor Knock (Aug. 17-28), Measure For Measure (Aug. 31-Sept. 11) and The Lady with All the Answers (Sept. 14-25). The Ascending Stars (a collaboration between professional actors and high school students) will present Father of the Bride (June 8, 10 and 11 at 8 p.m.; June 12 at 2 p.m.). The Second Company will present Stuart Little (Fridays and Saturdays, July 1-23) and Puss in Boots (Aug. 20, 22, 23, 26 & 27).
The Winnipesaukee Playhouse, a professional summer season at Alpenrose Plaza, 36 Endicott St., East Laconia, 366-7377, www.winniplayhouse.com, will begin its season with Butterflies Are Free, June 22 through July 2. Performances run Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Monday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $24. Upcoming shows include The Tempest (July 6-16), Shipwrecked (July 20-30), Gigi (Aug. 3-13), Steel Magnolias (Aug. 17-Sept 3) and The Guys (Sept. 8-11; this production runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 & 7:30 p.m.). On Saturday, June 11, the playhouse will hold an event that is part performance, part festival — Pirates of the Winnipesaukee: A Pirate and Princess Adventure. The event has three start times — 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m.— and takes place at 50 Reservoir Road in Meredith.
The Barnstormers, 104 Main St., Tamworth, 323-8500, www.barnstormerstheatre.org, will begin their summer season of performances with You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (July 5-9). Performances are Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with an additional Saturday show at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $24.50 or $29.50 for evenings; $15 or $20 for matinees. Future shows include Lend Me a Tenor (July 12-16), A Life in the Theatre (July 19-23), Gold in the Hills (July 26-30), Bus Stop (Aug. 2-6), Murder on the Nile (Aug. 9-13), Bedroom Farce (Aug. 16-20) and The 39 Steps (Aug. 23-27).
10 Spend an evening in the city. In thoughts of the beach or the lakes, you might forget that there are some pretty good reasons to hang out in town. Make dinner reservations at a local restaurant. Check out the music or comedy at a downtown venue. Or make places like the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester (www.currier.org) or the Museum of New Hampshire History in Concord (www.nhhistory.org) part of a day of city fun. Here are a few happenings worth working into your city excursions. Try out the food from a bunch of different downtown restaurants at once during the Taste of Downtown Nashua on Wednesday, June 1. And head to the Oval in Milford to get a Taste of Milford on Friday, June 3. (See stories on page 46.)
The Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester, 669-6144, www.currier.org, will offer a summer barbecue event on Thursday, June 2, from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. The event will feature a 15-minute gallery talk about the scenes of summer, 90 minutes of music from the Steve Smillie Jazz Trio and barbecue from Z food and drink. Admission costs $10. Come early and spend some time at the exhibit “Jon Brooks: A Collaboration with Nature,” which closes June 12.
In addition to its kids’ productions, Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St. in Manchester, 668-5588, www.palacetheatre.org, has shows scheduled throughout the summer, including concerts with Phil Vassar and Farren-Butcher (June 3) and the Philharmonic for Spring Pops (June 4) and the Palace Teen Company’s Godspell (May 26, May 31 and June 2).
Boynton’s Taproom, 155 Dow St. in Manchester, 623-778, www.boyntonstaproom.com, has a lineup of comedy and music including a three-comedian show on Friday, May 27, at 8 p.m.; musician Danielle Deckard on May 27 at 10 p.m.; Dueling Pianos on May 28 and comedy with Beth Lapides on June 2.
Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St. in Concord, 225-111, www.ccanh.com, has a variety of events to build a summer date night around, including theater (Fiddler on the Roof on June 9), music (Blues Summit featuring the Robert Cray Band and special guests Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters on June 22), the writer series (Roy Blount Jr. on July 7) and programs broadcast from the Met (Madame Butterfly on June 15). The Late Night at the Spotlight series continues through the summer (next up Coyote Kolb, Down the Well and Kieran Ridge Band on May 27).
Enjoy burgers without grilling them yourself at Burgerfest, an annual benefit for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth at the Barley House, 132 N. Main St. in Concord, www.thebarleyhouse.com. The Burgerfest, which features a special menu of gourmet burgers, will run Friday, June 10, through Saturday, June 18.
At the Verizon Wireless Arena, Elm Street, Manchester, 800-745-3000, www.verizonwirelessarena.com, shows this summer include Michael Bublé (June 17), KISS (July 12) and American Idol Live (Aug. 31).
Come to Manchester for an early Independence Day fireworks celebration — the city always holds its show the night before, this year Sunday, July 3. The show starts about 9:15 p.m. (or whenever it gets dark enough). Fireworks explode over the river and are shot from Arms Park (which is closed to vehicular traffic around 5 p.m. but open to viewers). In Arms Park, vendors will sell food and drink. High land throughout downtown and some of the lots on the other side of the river get good views. Diehard fireworks fans set up chairs on some parts of Elm Street.
Concord will celebrate Monday, July 4, at Memorial Field with fireworks and entertainment. Vendors open at 5:30 p.m., a radio DJ will begin a set at 6 p.m. and a band concert begins at 8 p.m. At dusk (approximately 9:15 p.m.) the fireworks will start. Bring blankets and lawn chairs. A $2 donation will be collected at the gate. The rain date is July 5. Call 225-8690 or go to onconcord.com/recreation.
Nashua also will celebrate July 4 on Monday with a Field Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Holman Stadium, 67 Amherst St. There will be bounce houses, a caricaturist, carnival games and prizes, relay races, magic shows, snow cones and food. The annual City of Nashua fireworks will start about 9 p.m. Contact Parks & Recreation at 589-3360.
See arts and cultural sites in downtown Manchester at the Open Doors Cultural Trolley on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. Call 669-7469 or visit www.majestictheatre.net.