The 10 Best Free Events Happening in March

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



courtesy of millennium running
Manchester's St. Patrick's Parade is one path to free fun this month. Here, a festive runner participates in the (registration fee required) Shamrock Shuffle that precedes the parade.

1. Maple Sugar Shack, Intervale, March 4-April 30

It's maple month here in New Hampshire, and the maple harvesters at Intervale's 100 Acre Wood are opening their doors for you to see the maple sugaring process firsthand. Stop by the shack to meet the makers and sample the sweet stuff, and enjoy self-guided or guided ($5) tours of the trails where the maple trees are tapped. You can pop in for a self-guided tour any time, but come on Saturdays and Sundays to go in the sugar shack or avail of a guided tour. (603) 356-9980; believeinbooks.org


2. Faculty Concert Series: Jenni Cook and Hsiang Tu, Durham, March 7

Start your month with some great (and gratis) classical music as performed by two stars of the UNH Department of Music. Department chair and soprano Jenni Cook is accompanied by piano lecturer Hsiang Tu in an intimate concert featuring the works of Christopher Kies, Francis Poulenc, Alberto Nepomuceno, Francisco Mignone, and Waldemar Henrique. (603) 862-2404; cola.unh.edu


3. Tax Talk with Mike Koppel, Waterville Valley, March 10

Have you filed your taxes yet? Learn a bit about the hows and whys of federal income tax in this talk themed around "everything you were afraid to ask" Noted tax lecturer and Boston-based accountant Mike Koppel leads the lecture in this latest of the Margret & H.A. Rey Center's Winter Speaker Series. A sexy topic it is not, but just think how smart you'll look when you can explain to your friends the difference between a 1095-C and a 1099-MISC. (603) 236-3308; thereycenter.org


4. Passover: The Jewish Festival of Freedom, Keene, March 15

Members of the Judeo-Christian traditions probably have some vague knowledge about Passover, but we could all use a refresher course. Rabbi Amy Loewenthal of Keene's Congregation Ahavas Achim will catch you up on all things Pesach a few weeks before the eight-day holiday begins (hint for gentiles: it overlaps on the calendar with Easter). While you're there, be sure to check out the Cheshire County historical society's museum exhibit on the history of Monadnock-region Judaism, on view now through April 28. (603) 352-1895; hsccnh.org


5. Cat in the Hat Birthday Party, Concord, March 18

Gather your little one's best party duds — this Seussian fête surely won't land with a thud! Celebrate Theodor Geisel's birthday with a partying cat who just won't go away. Hear stories, make crafts, and bring your iPhone — for visiting the Cat in the Hat photo zone. (603) 224-0562; gibsonsbookstore.com


6. Traditions and Techniques of Building Stone Walls, Conway, March 20

In our February issue, experienced stonemason Kevin Gardner wrote all about the heritage art of stone wall building. Now, you can hear him chat about the art form in the flesh. In this talk from the Mountain Garden Club, you'll learn about many of the topics from his story for our magazine, from history and construction techniques to the ins and outs of why stone walls are so popular in New England. It's like having an NH Magazine podcast, but live. (603) 264-9068; mountaingardenclub.org


7. Art Show Open Reception, Chichester, March 24

Mingle with community members and peruse some local art at this free reception and exhibition. The theme of the show is "Every Creature Big & Small," so the works, fittingly, center on animals. The furry-critter love doesn't stop with the canvases, though: a percentage of the proceeds from works sold go to Live & Let Live Farm Rescue, a Chichester animal shelter and rehab center marking its 20th anniversary with this special event. Come on Friday night for the free opening party, and return wallet in hand on Saturday if you're inclined to buy a piece. (603) 545-7414; wildwomanwellness.center


8. Spring Fair, Penacook, March 25

If down-home craft fairs are more your style, this fest from the United Church of Penacook will have something for you. Peruse the craft wares, Mary Kay-style vendor items, and baked goods of your exhibiting friends and neighbors, and, if you're feeling generous, come armed with cash to snap up some of the treats and bid in the silent auction. Fair proceeds support the church's food pantry, and silent auction monies help send local kids to summer camp. (603) 753-9246; ucpnh.org


9. St. Patrick's Parade, Manchester, March 26

When Irish eyes are smiling...it's usually because they're having fun for free. This longstanding Queen City tradition celebrates St. Patrick's Day with bagpipe bands, parading fire and police brigades, and more men in kilts than you'll see all year. Pull up a lawn chair and enjoy — and if you indulge in a Guinness-fueled brunch before the noon kickoff, your secret's safe with us. saintpatsnh.com


10. Take a hike!

Spring is here! Pick a sunny day this month — there are bound to be a few scattered between mid-march clouds and snow — and celebrate the season with a hike on one of New Hampshire's mountain or flatland trails. Here are a few of our favorite trails to try, and here are some tips for getting the whole family ready for a day in the great outdoors.

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