Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
One look at this year’s summer events calendar and it becomes clear: when the temperatures rise, we like to celebrate. From fun community events to headliner festivals that draw visitors from across New England (and around the world), summer in New Hampshire can feel like a non-stop party. And you and your kids are invited! Some of the best “fests” around are family friendly happenings that you won’t want to miss. Here’s a rundown of some of the most exciting events taking place this summer.
Even the humble frankfurter gets a celebration of its own this summer, thanks to the Loon Mountain Hot Dog Festival (Aug 6). Along with face-painting, a jumpy house, and all the hot dogs you can eat, visit Loon’s popular zipline, Gondola rides, and bungee jumps (you should probably do these high octane activities before chowing down). To add some musical entertainment to your day in the White Mountains, head back down to Campton, home of the Pemi Blue Grass Festival, taking place this year from Aug. 4 to 7 at Branch Brook Campground. There’s even a free three-day kids’ music camp to learn blue grass basics.
Still up in the Whites? On Aug. 8, celebrate the Mount Washington Auto Road’s 150th Birthday. Cake for all will be served in the afternoon and vintage vehicles will be on display. Plus, any vehicle arriving at the tollhouse with the famous bumper sticker already affixed to the car will receive free passage up the Auto Road. The US Postal Service will be on site with a special commemorative pictorial post mark station. Fireworks will close the day.
And what’s summer without a little monkeying around? Come celebrate everyone’s favorite monkey at the Margaret and H.A. Rey Center fifth annual Curious George Cottage Family Festival in Waterville, a weekend event full of family friendly activities including a banana pancake breakfast, family nature walks, planetarium shows, photo opportunities with Curious George, petting zoo, live music, face painting, games for kids, Curious George story hour and movie viewing (Aug.14 to 15). For kids who love the books or the PBS show, this a can’t-miss!
A celebration of surf, sun and summer fun, the Hampton Beach Children’s Festival (Aug. 15 to 19) is a jam-packed five days of non-stop activity and entertainment, including mini-golf and sand castle building competitions, talent show, dancing, story tellers and puppeteers, balloons and face-painting. The annual festival kicks off with a magic show and builds up to a Giant Costume Parade that marches almost the length of Hampton Beach on Friday, Aug. 19. Every child gets a prize just for being in it.
Who says fireworks are only for July? On Aug. 22, it’s time for the 22nd annual Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks. Come early and enjoy live music, dancing, food and novelty items, sky diving exhibition and games for children of all ages. And then after nightfall, be prepared for a dazzling fireworks display that draws in visitors from all over New England.
Manchester’s summer offering to the festival scene is People Fest, a unique event celebrating the heritage, cultures and global diversity of the Queen City (Aug. 28). Head to Veterans Park, and get ready for a day of intense cultural learning, cleverly disguised in the form of games and activities for kids, music and entertainment. Henna tattoos, anyone? Or how about dancing to the beat of drummers from Burundi?
And as summer starts to wind down, it’s time to warm up your moose calling skills. Yes, the end of August brings Colebrook’s annual Moose Festival, a North Country tradition since 1992 (Aug. 26-28). Your reward for trekking to the northern reaches of New Hampshire includes two days of moose calling contests, moose-themed games and crafts for kids, an antique-classic street rod auto show, hot air balloon rides, a Mardi Gras street parade and family friendly entertainment. Start practicing!