The 10 Best Free Events Happening in May

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



The Fells Historic Garden and Estate celebrates this National Public Gardens Day with free admission on May 11. Photo courtesy of The Fells


1. 16th Annual Pittsfield Fiddle Contest, Pittsfield, May 4

Who says you have to fork over pricey ticket fares to enjoy some fiery fiddle tunes? This evening-long fest features a beginner showcase and youth competition followed by an open competition welcoming fiddlers of all ages. A $5 donation is suggested, and your Lincoln will go to a good cause: Monies from admission and the night's silent auction benefit the empowerment programming of the Pittsfield Youth Workshop. (603) 435-8272; pittsfieldyouthworkshop.org


2. Allison May Kiphuth: Allemansrätten, Portsmouth, May 4-27

Bring the outside in with this ecosystem of an art show. Seacoast creative Kiphuth painstakingly created a gallery inspired by the Swedish countryside. It's based on photographs that she took during her solo travels, and is "an amalgam of the meditative nature of driving alone on foreign roads, the discomfort of exploring strange places by one’s self, and the odd but wondrous bliss that inevitably follows." (603) 433-1705; nahcotta.com


3. International Migratory Bird Day at Weeks State Park, Lancaster, May 10

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day by participating in a morning guided bird hike with the Weeks State Park Association. Look out for warblers, flycatchers and vireos, and later look out over Martin Meadow Pond for loons, eagles and osprey. (603) 224-9909; nhaudubon.org


4. National Public Gardens Day, Newbury, May 11

Also in the floral vein, this Mother's Day weekend promotion gets Granite Staters free access to one of the state's finest professional gardens. The actual holiday falls on Friday, but the kind folks at The Fells extend their celebrations all weekend long. Bring Mom and a sandwich or two: Picnic dining as you explore the estate's 1,000-acre grounds is encouraged. (603) 763-4789; thefells.org


5. Plant Sale, Auburn, May 12

You could theoretically just wander through the sale to enjoy the great outdoors, but this plant extravaganza includes locally grown annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and herbs that will be available for sale. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Auburn Historical Association and Friends of the Griffin Free Public Library. auburnhistorical.org


6. Spring Art Pop-Up, Harrisville, May 12-13

Save the date for the first Spring Art Pop-Up in the historic Granite Mill in the picturesque town of Harrisville. The work of 12 New Hampshire artists will be on view and for sale featuring glass, paintings in numerous mediums, quilts, photography, jewelry and woodworking. Enjoy meeting the artists, complimentary refreshments and the charming restored Mills of this iconic New England village. business.keenechamber.com


7. Mother's Day Weekend Craft Festival, Hampton Falls, May 12-13

The scenic Town Common in Hampton Falls will come alive with color, flavor and music for the 9th Annual Mother's Day Weekend Craft Festival. Bring mom with you or simply find the perfect gift for her at this outdoor craft spectacular. (603) 332-2616; castleberryfairs.com


8. Lilac Festival, Portsmouth, May 26

Enjoy free tours of the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, a guided walk on the nature trail and a scavenger hunt for kids. The mansion is located right on the water and has beautiful grounds to explore, so don't forget to pack lunch and enjoy a picnic. wentworthcoolidge.org


9. Dixville Notch Music, Arts & Crafts Festival, Colebrook, May 26

Kick off the summer with the best arts and music the North Country has to offer. This festival is jam-packed with workshops, demonstrations, art shows and live music by such artists as blues duo Roy-Hudson with White Wolf. Don’t miss the vendor fair for local goods of all stripes from vendors like Anita’s Arts and Wandering Woolies. (603) 237-1898; mohawkfalls.com


10. Wildquack Duck Race & Music Festival, Jackson, May 27

Watch more than 3,500 rubber yellow ducks race down the Wildcat River to the finish line during this wild event. Along with the infamous duck race, there will be delicious food, music, games, face painting, traveling train rides and a parade. Bring your dancing shoes, blankets, chairs and your fastest rubber duck for a fun-filled day in the park. (603) 383-9356; jacksonnh.com

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