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Celebrate the Seasons at Annual New Hampshire Festivals
There’s nothing cookie-cutter about events and festivals in New Hampshire. They encompass diverse passions and age groups based on natural or cultural phenomenon throughout the state. Do you love riding your ATV? There’s an annual festival for that. Ever wonder what it would be like to pet a reindeer? Again, and your little ones will approve, New Hampshire offers weekend events for that. From the Art and Brew Fests to the Wildquack Duck River Festival, New Hampshire offers a variety of ways to celebrate the seasons.
Fall in New England is like receiving a child returning home. Vibrant splashes of color line the roadsides and the air is crisp with a freshness. Apples are in harvest and pumpkins too, making Fall the perfect time to celebrate the flavors of New Hampshire.
When the apples are ripe on the trees it’s time to make cider and taffy. No one does this better than the city of Dover, located north of Portsmouth on the eastern side of the state. Every year, the citizens of Dover host Apple Harvest Day in early October and revel in the seasons’ pickings with hundreds of craft tents, live entertainment, and great food for an all-day celebration. Over 50,000 people flock to the downtown square, making Apple Harvest Day one of the most popular festivals in the region.
In the south-central town of Warner, New Hampshire, attend a three-day festival celebrating the state’s spectacular multicolored leaves. The Warner Fall Foliage Festival has been held annually for 70 years and features events like open-air concerts, two parades, a five-mile race, amusement rides and art and food vendors galore. Enjoy lobster or BBQ chicken before attending a woodmen’s contest of ultimate strength. This event is typically held in the beginning of October.
Ranked by New England Today as one of the five best pumpkin festivals in New England, the annual NH Pumpkin Festival in downtown Laconia combines a street festival with local artistry and all things pumpkin. The festival is known for jack-o-lantern jubilation, having had clinched the world record for the most lit jack-o-lanterns for consecutive years, but now runs head-to-head with Boston.
If it’s art you are looking for, head to Nashua, off Route 3, to attend over ten years in celebrating the freedom of creative expression. Art Walk takes place mid-October and features over 100 local artists, music, entertainment, and family activities.
Portsmouth hosts the best of local hops and barley at its annual New Hampshire Brewfest held in October on the picturesque grounds of Redhook Ale Brewery. In partnership with the Master Brewers Association of America, this fun event gives you the opportunity to taste regional suds while enjoying live entertainment and music.
Snobs flock to Concord once a year for the annual SNOB (Somewhat North of Boston) Film Festival at Red River Theatres. Film buffs can take in indie films, sip on craft beer and listen to live musical entertainment. Held in November, the festival showcases both short and feature-length films covering multiple genres from comedies to wildly artistic or documentaries.
SNOB Film Festival
Film buffs north of Boston have a reason to celebrate in Concord. The SNOB (Somewhat North Of Boston) Film Festival, is an annual event featuring independent films, feature length documentaries, animated films, short comedies.
Short comedies 15 to 45 minutes, short documentaries, and short drama under 10 minutes. The films are shown at multiple venues throughout Concord.
After watching a variety of films, stick around for the question and answer sessions with some of the filmmakers, by attending one or several of the events. It's a wonderful opportunity to dig deeper into the making of the films.
Another great event hosted at the SNOB Film Festival, is the KNOB (Kids North of Boston) Film Session. This is a great experience that allows kids to showcase their film or documentary. Enjoy your time in New Hampshire.
Winter in New Hampshire is a snow lover’s dream. From ice skating to snow sculptures, New Hampshire events offer you a variety of blustery havens where you can get outdoors and fully enjoy the splendor of the season.
The motto for the Newport Winter Festival is ‘There’s Snow Place Like Newport!’ and during this festive event, we tend to agree. The city of Newport in the western region of New Hampshire pulls out all the stops for this annual event held in February. For four days, the town is transformed into a winter wonderland showcasing a fishing derby, ice hockey games, murder mystery dinner, fireworks, children’s fair, and more.
Also in February, the Keene Ice & Snow Festival is the perfect event to lure you away from home on a cold winter day. Watch the competitive award show for ice sculptures before you cozy up to a warm campfire and roast marshmallows with your loved ones. Enter the competitive snowshoe race or test your skills at carving a snow sculpture. The Ice & Snow Festival is your ode to everything chilly and fun!
Perhaps one of the most magical places to go during the winter season, Santa’s Village in northern New Hampshire, near Franconia is a replica of the bustling North Pole. Complete with helper elves, reindeer and of course, Santa. Thatched roof houses line the streets among shops and dining outlets like Dasher’s Delights and Nutcracker Sweets. Kids can take a ride on the Christmas Carousel, catch a show at Jingle Bell Theater, and pet live reindeer at Santa’s Reindeer Rendezvous Barn. The park is open in the summer and most weekends year-round. It hosts many annual events throughout the seasons, with a special emphasis on Christmas.
A massive holiday theme park, Santa's Village is located in northern New Hampshire, just beyond the White Mountains National Forest near Franconia. Open throughout the year, the village is home to 26 helper elves, and of course, Santa Claus.
Visitors to Santa’s Village enjoy rides on the Christmas Carousel, the petting zoo at Reindeer Rendezvous, and live shows like “The Polar Theater” and “Mistletails.” Guest may also get some holiday shopping out of the way at Snowball Mall and the Stocking Stuffer Shop.
Spring is a time for awakening in the Northeast. People shed their winter overclothes eager to feel the warm sun on their faces and look for signs of summer’s anticipated return.
The Wildquack Duck River Festival in Jackson, New Hampshire in the White Mountain National Forest provides a scenic backdrop in which to welcome sunnier weather. Laugh as 3,500 yellow rubber ducks race down Wildcat River toward a finish line. Crafts and food tents spawn the grounds of Jackson Village augmenting a silent auction and parade. This annual event typically takes place during Memorial weekend; a great time to travel with friends and family!
Summer in New Hampshire means longer days and what better way to spend them than at events and festivals outdoors?
From June until August, enjoy weekend art festivals in the vibrant seaside city of Portsmouth. Every weekend Prescott Park offers live music, theater, art and cultural venues showcasing the best talent in the region. Park events draw in hundreds of thousands of visitors each summer who attend the live entertainment venues among the park's pristine fountains and gardens.
The New Hampshire Music Festival has been honoring classic and emerging musicians since 1952. Held throughout the summer at the Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University it presents world-class performances including symphonies and choral and chamber music. Supporting community collaboration and musical education for all ages, the festival raises money and support during its concert season near the White Mountains.
Finish off your summer season in August with the Jericho ATV Festival in Berlin, New Hampshire. Located in the Androscoggin Valley, this annual event brings in ATV enthusiasts from all over the country. With more than 80 miles of trails through Jericho Mountain State Park and over 1,000 interconnected OHRV trails in the Ride the Wilds network, this is an ATV riders dream. The festival includes a poker run, food vendors, vintage ATVs, a beer tent, and live music.