The 10 Best Free Events Happening in February

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



stock photo
Party with some famous NH puppy-athletes at Anheuser-Busch's Puppy Bowl Watch Party on February 5.

1. Winterfest Craft Fair, Waterville Valley, February 4

Get a head start on your spring cleaning by scoping out the local artists to make room for in your home. The free-admission fair features 25 crafters, live music from Barry Weymouth and Jeff Webb, and activities and games to keep the kids occupied, and, best of all, it's for a good cause. If you do unload some cash at the fair, you can rest assured that 100% of it benefits Bridge House, a veterans' housing center in Plymouth. (603) 320-0552


2. Pop Up Museum: Celebrating Oddness!, Marlow, February 5

Part curatorial exhibit. Part show-and-tell. All free. This inventive event from the Marlow Historical Society and the Historical Society of Cheshire County is a temporary museum created by the people who visit it. Think of the odd things you've encountered in your life or on your travels. Find an object or write a poem to represent that oddness. Bring it in, share it with the group, and listen to the tales of everyone else. Voila! Instant mini-Smithsonian. (603) 352-1895; hsccnh.org


3. Puppy Bowl Watch Party, Merrimack, February 5

Did you know the Pats aren't the only locals competing on Super Bowl Sunday? Animal Planet's adorable Puppy Bowl has three competitors from New Hampshire this year, and they'll be at the Anheuser-Busch brewery to watch their big game. Kids and adults alike can watch with the pups and enjoy provided food and drink free of charge, but donations will be accepted for the critters' home at the Humane Society for Greater Nashua. (Here's their wish list, if you're looking for ideas.) budweisertours.com/locations/merrimack-new-hampshire.html


4. Gibson's Book Club: Shakespeare's "The Tempest," Concord, February 6

O brave new world that has such book lovers in ‘t! In keeping with their annual February tradition, the resident book club of Gibson’s in Concord will read excerpts from a Shakespeare play — this year, “The Tempest.” No preparation is needed and all the boring parts will be skipped, so stop by for a snappy, communal reading of one of the Bard’s finest. (603) 224-0562; gibsonsbookstore.com


5. "Underwater" Screening and Discussion, Keene, February 8

Despite appearances, this free event is not a subterranean movie viewing. Rather, the screening — held firmly above sea level — is of "Underwater," one of the first films of Keene native turned Hollywood producer Harry Tatelman. Film historian Larry Benaquist will lead a discussion following the treasure-hunting-themed flick. (603) 352-1895; hsccnh.org


6. Full Moon Hike, Moultonborough, February 10

Grab some snowshoes and a head lamp (or just some cozy boots and a flashlight) and head to a fittingly celestial spot for this month's full moon: Moultonborough's Castle in the Clouds. Visitors can enjoy a free hike timed to view the penumbral eclipse, and, afterwards, dig in to s'mores and hot cocoa by the fire to warm up. Talk about walking in a winter wonderland. (603) 476-5900; castleintheclouds.org


7. Downtown Nashua Chocolate Stroll, Nashua, February 11

Spend your pre-V-Day weekend eating your way through one of New Hampshire’s finest downtowns. More than 20 participating shops and boutiques — including Cava de Vino, WineNot Boutique, and the League of NH Craftsmen's gallery — will be handing out free chocolates to visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, so sample and shop to your heart’s content. If you're up for spending some coin, you’re perfectly located for a romantic dinner at Surf or Stella Blu — where, if you order dessert again, your secret’s safe with us. Facebook


8. Winter Family Fun Fest 2017, Amherst, February 18

It's rare that a festival really has something for everyone, but this one comes pretty darn close. Visitors can enjoy hours of activities ranging from a green screen photo booth and face painting to sledding and s'mores by the bonfire. Among the many highlights are nature-themed painting for the little ones led by Canvas Roadshow and guided snowshoe tours (with shoes provided) of LaBelle's vineyard for the grown-ups. Best of all, it's all at a winery — so, if the kids start wearing you out, you're never far from a glass of red. (603) 672-9898; labellewineryevents.com


9. 30 Pages in 30 Days Staged Readings, Portsmouth, February 24

Back in November, playwrights across the state dove into 30 Pages in 30 Days. The project was a contest from the Prescott Park Arts Festival, encouraging would-be Bards to compose original one-act plays to be considered for inclusion in the festival's 2017 theatre schedule. The contenders have been narrowed to three, and this production is your chance to see them all. Each work will receive a staged reading, the playwrights will engage in a talkback with the audience, and, finally, judges will announce the lucky winner whose play will hit the main stage this summer. A small donation is requested, but trust us — it's worth it. nhhumanities.org


10. Andi & Lance Olsen: There's No Place Like Time, Manchester, February 24 to April 1

If you like your art a little bit trippy, this may be the show for you. Brother and sister duo Andi and Lance structured this exhibition as one part filmmaker retrospective and one part immersive novel, dedicated to the life and work of an artist who never existed. It's one of the coolest art shows you'll find in New Hampshire this year, and admission is free. Consider your contemporary art street cred officially boosted. (603) 623-0313; nhia.edu

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