The 10 Best Free Events Happening in August

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

Don’t miss the 38th Annual Suncook Valley Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally happening August 2-4 in Pittsfield, NH.

There’s no getting around it and pulling the wool over our readers’ eyes, this month’s list features 11 not-to-miss FREE events. The truth is, there were just too many events to choose from that we had a hard time narrowing it down to 10, so consider this bonus event an end-of-the-summer gift from us to you.

1. Kingston NH 325th Birthday Celebration Event, Kingston, August 1-4

Don’t miss the final days of this town birthday bash! On Thursday enjoy some live music, and then head over on Friday for the Smuttynose Beer Fest and Kingston Fire Department lobster dinner. Saturday and Sunday are fun-filled with a local parade staring at 10 a.m., horseshoe contest, festival rides, the 6th Maine Battery Militia Re-enactment, Lion’s Club pancake breakfast, birthday cake and speeches from local politicians. Saturday night continues the good times with a performance by the NH Philharmonic followed by a laser light show. There will also be festival rides from Thursday night through Sunday. More information:

2. McLane Center Art Show – Adele Sanborn and Lois De Luca, Concord, August 1-15

This special exhibit features the work of calligrapher and mixed media artist, Adele Sanborn and Lois De Luca, illustrator of the New Hampshire Audubon book “The Butterflies of the White Mountains of New Hampshire.” As the title of Adele’s show “A Taste Of Nature” reflects, this unique pairing of artists brings their respective passions for the natural world together where each art form complements the other.
More information: (603) 224-9909 and

3. Tall Ships Festival, Portsmouth, August 1-4

The Piscataqua Maritime Commission hosts an annual Sail Portsmouth event each summer and this year they’ll bring the US Coast Guard Eagle to New Hampshire. Activities planned include the Parade of Sail, deck tours, day sails, exhibits and more. Deck tours are free and the Parade of Sail is not to be missed. The Parade of Sail, on August 1, also includes other vessels, including schooners Roseway and Lynx.
More information:

4. 38th Annual Suncook Valley Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally, Pittsfield, August 2-4

Head to Drake Field in Pittsfield for this popular annual event. Besides dozens of hot air balloons, festival-goers can look forward to helicopter rides, carnival rides and midway games, pancake breakfast, local crafters and more. Attendees won’t want to miss the night glow on Friday and Saturday evenings and fireworks on Saturday night.
More information:

5. Covered Bridge Dance, Jackson, August 3

Dance the night away under the stars by the Jackson Covered Bridge during a special evening with Jon Sarty and the White Mountain Boys. Bring your friends and family, your own chairs, blankets and, of course, your dancing shoes. Make sure you come hungry so that you can enjoy a wonderfully delicious menu prepared by Apple Buns.
More information: (978) 580-0905 and

6. Discovering New England Stone Walls, Sunapee, August 6

Stonewalls are an iconic part of New England. Kevin Gardner, author of “The Granite Kiss,” explores why we are so fascinated with these handmade dividers. He explains how and why New England came to acquire its thousands of miles of stonewalls, the ways in which they and other dry stone structures were built, how their styles emerged and changed over time, and their significance to the famous New England landscape. Gardner will also be building a miniature wall or walls on a tabletop using tiny stones.
More information: (603) 763-2210 and

7. 43rd Alton Bay Boat Show, Alton Bay, August 10

Are you a fan of classic wooden boats? Then this one’s for you. Boat owners are encouraged to bring their wooden or fiberglass boats (up to 1975) to show off at the town docks for all to see. Bring your family and friends to stroll the docks to see the wonderfully restored boats. Don’t forget to cast your vote to help pick the first, second and third place winner for the People’s Choice Award.
More information: (603) 569-4554 and

8. Paint Wolfeboro, Wolfeboro, August 14

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.
More information: (603) 569-4994 and

9. Railway to the Moon Steampunk Festival, Mt. Washington, August 17-18

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.
More information: (603) 278-5404 and

10. Greeley Park Arts Show, Nashua, August 17-18

Not many art fairs can claim a six-decade history, but this one can … and then some. The 66th 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.
More information:

11. North Country Moose Festival, Colebrook, August 23-24

Head to Colebrook the weekend before Labor Day to celebrate all things “moose.” This year’s festivities include live music, arts and crafts vendors, horse and wagon rides, and rumor has it there is even a moose calling contest. There will also be a dog show, maple syrup tasting contest and the classic car show. Bring the whole family to this old-time fun event that showcases the many diverse talents and services in the North Country.
More information:

Categories: Guide to Summer