Back and Better Than Before: Hit the Decks Returns as a Five-day Celebration
Five days of fun to kick off the summer season
Enjoy some well-deserved time out shopping, eating, drinking and supporting your favorite businesses and attractions during the 2021 “Hit the Decks” celebration.
Portsmouth’s annual event will be extra special this year, after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“Come out to play! It’s about sunshine filled days and warm nights outside. It’s about the restaurants, shops, hotels, activities and attractions that are welcoming you to kick off YOUR Summer on the Seacoast,” organizers write.
Typically a one-day event, this year Hit the Decks will feature five days of fun. This will spread the love across all participating businesses, and avoid having throngs of people flooding into Portsmouth for one day. From May 12 through 16, guests can get outside, enjoy the sunshine and support local business across one of New Hampshire’s favorite cities.
The celebration will feature restaurants, retail, lodging, arts, attractions and activities, each offering specials for Hit The Decks. The Seacoast Region is anticipating a banner season, according to a press release. Portsmouth has granted a historic number of outdoor dining permits, and the performing arts are expected to thrive as well.
Following the many hardships of the pandemic, including impacts on small businesses and local restaurants, the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth has planned an imaginative, COVID-safe celebration this year. Over 50 Seacoast businesses will participate, and they are feeling encouraged and optimistic, says Martha Sullivan, spokesperson for Hit the Decks.
“[We’re] trying to spread the love, spread the activities, open up the space,” says Sullivan. “For a lot of us, it’s our first time coming out to eat and going out shopping,” she adds.
Hit the Decks will be different this year in light of the pandemic and “Seacoast Safe” practices, says President of the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth Valerie Rochon in a press release.
“In the past, our membership loved hosting a huge one-day party along the decks, which we all embraced enthusiastically. But those embraces are just not possible this year, as we all know. So it has been gratifying and exciting, actually, to see local business leaders coming together to support one another, and to shine a light on what makes Portsmouth and the Seacoast a unique destination here in New Hampshire,” Rochon says.
Each day of the celebration will have a specific focus — Wednesday will be Restaurants, Thursday will be Retail, Friday will be Arts & Culture, Saturday will be Historic Homes and Sunday will be Activities & Attractions.
Aqua-colored Hit the Decks flags will both identify participating businesses and add a festive air to town, says Sullivan. Some shops will have outdoor displays as well, and outdoor dining will be offered in many of Portsmouth’s renowned restaurants.
While live music would usually be held centrally in one place, this year performers will be spread out across Portsmouth, playing on the street corners.
Another new, exciting element to Hit the Decks is the raffle. Simply scan the QR code found on posters or cards at participating businesses, and enter for a chance to win Buoy Local gift cards, “Deck Boxes” from local restaurants, and potentially a $500 travel voucher for Allegiant Airlines.
Can’t wait until May 12? Even better! “The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth, City Hall and local business owners have worked incredibly hard to find innovative ways to keep Portsmouth and the Seacoast open for business. The region is open for business right now — with a record number of outdoor dining options featuring beautiful decks, porches, patios and secret gardens.”
The city of Portsmouth has a mask ordinance in effect through the end of June. Hit the Decks will follow the city’s COVID-19 guidelines, and the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth supports #SeacoastSafe, social distancing and wearing masks in public, and the city’s mask ordinance.
The entire event is being put on in a way that is “Seacoast Safe,” including many COVID-19 precautions.
“The pandemic is still upon us. The scientific evidence is clear: Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing slows the spread of COVID-19, therefore saving lives, keeping our economy strong, and supporting our work force, residents and visitors. We have seen encouraging progress with people making plans to visit the region — our #SeacoastSafe policies are working. We encourage everyone to do their part to protect the health of our workforce, our residents, our visitors and our economy,” says Rochon in a press release.
Click here the full list of 2021 participants and all the latest updates.
Connect with Hit The Decks on social media, and share photos using the hashtags #GoPortsmouthNH and #HitTheDecksPortsmouth