Art is all around at the League of N.H. Craftsmen’s annual fair at Lake Sunapee Resort.
Photo Credit : League of N.H. Craftsmen
EDITORS’ NOTE: The nation is still dealing with COVID-19 at the time of this post, meaning it’s not known whether the 2020 dates for these events are confirmed. We’re hoping for the best, but please check with organizers before making your summer travel plans!
From a seafood extravaganza to the country’s biggest motorcycle rally, our list of the top 10 New Hampshire summer events has something for everyone. Read on to see our picks, then tell us about your favorite New Hampshire summer events in the comments!
The streets of downtown Portsmouth fill with locals and visitors alike for this celebration of the city’s renovation and beautification efforts. Expect live tunes from musical acts on two performance stages, and about 170 booths featuring artists, craftspeople, nonprofits, downtown and Seacoast-area merchants and restaurants. SEE MORE:Best of Portsmouth, NH | Restaurants & Dining
The largest motorcycle rally in the U.S. — and reportedly the oldest in the world — comes roaring back to life in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region for nine days in June. The New Hampshire Motor Speedway plays host to the racing action, while Lakeside Avenue in Laconia is the traditional hot spot for the street scene. Charity rides and events, swap meets, and live music are all on tap; plus, on Monday and Thursday the Mount Washington Auto Road will be closed to all traffic except motorcycles.
Held at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire Magazine (part of the Yankee Publishing family) hosts one of the state’s biggest parties as it celebrates the winners of its annual editor and reader poll. Enjoy food samples from more than 65 booths, plus live music and an evening fireworks display. Event proceeds benefit Stay Work Play New Hampshire.
Watch as 200 tons of imported sand is transformed into monumental works of art by the participants in this venerable invitation-only competition — and even take a free tutorial on how to do it yourself. At night the sculptures are lighted for viewing, turning Hampton Beach into a magical oceanside art gallery. Rounding things off is a fireworks show on closing night.
SEE MORE:Guide to Hampton Beach
View a rare original printing of the Declaration of Independence, listen to a dramatic reading at the American Independence Museum, then step to the beat of fife and drum while enjoying an arts and crafts sale, kids’ activities, tasty food, and more.
Showcasing the talents of more than 300 juried artisans, this annual event at the Mount Sunapee Resort represents a wonderful chance to peruse and buy — but also to learn and make, thanks to all the demonstrations, do-it-yourself workshops, and lunchtime education sessions. Along with the dozens of craft booths, there will be special exhibits on artisan clothing and jewelry and on decorating your home with handcrafts, plus a sculpture garden. SEE MORE:Exploring the League ofNH Craftsmen’s Fair
The New Hampshire Antiques Show has earned a reputation as being the best event of its kind in New England. The 60-plus vendors are known to put aside merchandise for this event all through the year, ensuring that they’ve got plenty of wow-worthy wares — from glassware, pottery, and ceramics to clocks, furniture, fine art, and much more.
The largest outdoor blues festival in New Hampshire takes place in the heart of the White Mountains, in a natural amphitheater amid a 72-acre pasture. Along with a lineup of award-winning blues artists, there’s also a climbing wall, fireworks, and food and craft booths.
SEE MORE:Best of the New Hampshire White Mountains | Editors’ Choice Awards
Miles of Hampton Beach’s main drag, Ocean Boulevard, are closed to traffic for this event, creating a lively pedestrian mall bordered by beautiful ocean views. There’s plenty to do and see, from skydiving demonstrations to performances by more than a dozen local bands, but food is definitely the star here. Food vendors including top Seacoast restaurants lay out quite a spread — fried clams, lobster, shrimp, and more — while professional eaters test their mettle in the lobster roll eating contest. Don’t miss the spectacular fireworks show on Saturday night. SEE MORE:Best Summer Seafood Festivals in New England
What are your favorite New Hampshire summer events? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.