The 10 Best Free Events Happening in August

Where you can have fun on (less than) a dime this month

photo bt althea haropulos
A solo show from Rosemary Conroy, one of New Hampshire Magazine's 2017 Remarkable Women, is one of the best free events of the month.

1. Monsters on the Loose, Manchester, August 5

There's a monster infestation in the Queen City, and who ya gonna call to fix it? New Hampshire's kids. The folks at Studio 550 will hide 100 little clay creatures around downtown Manchester for this event, and the public is invited to seek them out. Finders keep their quarry (one monster per person), and they can bring it by the studio or Dancing Lion Chocolate for raffle entries and edible rewards. (603) 232-5597;

2. Rock On Fest, Concord, August 11-12

At a festival put on by two Granite Staters-turned-pro basketballers, you can expect a bit of b-ball — but that's not all this free festival offers. The fete takes over downtown Concord with a three-on-three basketball tourney and an outdoor screening of "Space Jam," but also a free fresh-air yoga class, family activities and live performances from a slew of indie rockers.

3. Denali Challenge, Waterville Valley, August 11-13

Who says the Whites aren't real mountains? In this weekend-long challenge, hikers are encouraged to bag five Waterville-area peaks to claim the honor of "alive after five" — and a total elevation equaling that of the 20,000-foot Denali. If you don't have five mountains' worth of energy in you, no worries; the free hiking weekend also encourages visitors to tackle whatever smaller-scale walks tickle their fancy. (800) 468-2553;

4. Budweiser Open House, Merrimack, August 12

If you hadn't heard, Budweiser (in keeping with their popular America-themed cans) debuted a series of packaging this summer devoted to the states where they brew their beer. And, in case you've been living under a rock, New Hampshire is one of those states. Celebrate the local launch with this free open house at the Merrimack brewery, complete with live music, talks from the Brewmasters, and an appearance from the company's famous Clydesdales.

5. Paint Wolfeboro, Wolfeboro, August 16

With the kids headed back to school in the coming weeks, lake-lounging season is almost over. Soak in the last of it with this free arts fest. Plein air painters will be hard at work all day downtown, along the lakeshore, and on the town walking trails. Catch them mid-painting as you stroll, or bring your wallet to snatch up one of their finished works. (603) 569-4994;

6. Rosemary Conroy: Never Can Say Goodbye, August 18-September 17

Wondering what our Remarkable Women have been up to since making our list? For Rosemary Conroy, it's this show. The Weare artist's signature animal paintings form the basis of this exhibition, from bison and bears to bobcats. Check out her works and a concurrent show featuring pieces fired in the center's Fushigigama woodkiln. (603) 836-2585;

7. Railway to the Moon Steampunk Festival, Mt. Washington, August 19

From a movement inspired by Victorian-era science fiction, it's perhaps no surprise that the world's first mountain-climbing cog railway holds particular appeal. Dress up in your steampunk finery (think corsets and top hats meet spyglasses and mechanical accessories) or just take in the revelry. Festivities for the day include displays on cycling and steam power and a costumed reenactor portraying Sylvester Marsh, the inventor of The Cog. (603) 278-5404;

8. Greeley Park Arts Show, Nashua, August 19-20

Not many art fairs can claim a six-decade history, but this one can...and then some. The 64th annual iteration of this show will feature more than 50 artists from genres of all kinds, plus paint-alongs and a raffle that helps fund scholarships for local high schoolers. Best of all, the fest is pet-friendly, so Fido can get in on the art action too. (405) 698-1951;

9. All About Archie, Center Harbor, August 24

One of the most famous characters in comics was born right here in New Hampshire, thanks to Meredith's Bob Montana. Archie and his pals are seeing a resurgence at the moment, what with the series-inspired teen drama "Riverdale" and the recent push for a Montana monument in Meredith, and right at the peak of this popularity, Montana's daughter Lynn will give this free and exclusive talk on how her dad got the inspiration for his famous characters while working here in the Granite State. (603) 968-3902;

10. Rochester Pride, Rochester, August 26

Pride fests aren't just for big cities anymore. The Seacoast town of Rochester is hosting their own gay pride celebration this month, and the day promises a vendor fair, live performances from the New Hampshire Gay Men's Chorus and other groups, and remarks from community and LGBT-community leaders. Stick around after the main event for an after-party at the Garage at the Governor's Inn.

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