The 10 Best Free Events Happening in August

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

Don’t miss the 37th Annual Suncook Valley Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally happening August 3-5 in Pittsfield.

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. Discovering New England Stone Walls, Windham, August 2

Kevin Gardner, author of “The Granite Kiss,” explores why we are so fascinated with stone walls. He explains how and why New England came to acquire its thousands of miles of stone walls, 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. (603) 432-7154;

2. 37th Annual Suncook Valley Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally, Pittsfield, August 3-5

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.

3. Rock On Fest, Concord, August 10-11

At a festival put on by two Granite Staters-turned-pro basketballers, you can expect a bit of b-ball — but that’s not all this free festival offers. The fête takes over downtown Concord with a three-on-three basketball tourney and an outdoor screening of “Space Jam,” but also a free fresh-air yoga class, family activities and live performances from a slew of indie rockers.

4. 42nd Alton Bay Boat Show, Alton Bay, August 11

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. (603) 569-4554;

5. 26th Annual Lincoln Summer Craft Festival, Lincoln, August 11-12

Over 100 artisans will be display and sell their traditional American-made works, including fine jewelry, pottery, scarves, toys, baskets and so much more. You can also sample specialty foods such as kettle corn, herbal dips, maple syrup, candy and chocolate. Pets are also welcome, just make sure they are on a leash.

6. Hampton Beach Children’s Festival, Hampton, August 13-17

This festival is all about the kids. The event of the summer kicks off with a magic show by BJ Hickman at the Hampton Beach Seashell Stage, and builds up to a giant costume parade that marches almost the length of the entire beach. Every child gets a prize just for taking part. Each day there will be filled with nonstop activity and entertainment, including mini-golf, free ice cream, balloons, dancing, storytellers and even a kids’ bumper sticker contest.

7. Paint Wolfeboro, Wolfeboro, August 15

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. (603) 569-4994;

8. Fisher Cats Food Truck Festival, Manchester, August 17-18

Have you ever been to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and dreamed of having a picnic in the outfield or playing corn hole on the warning track? Well, friends, your dreams are about to come true! The Fisher Cats are hosting a Food Truck Festival at the stadium and after you’re done filling up on tasty foods from food truck vendors, you’re invited to sprawl out in the outfield with a blanket or partake in lawn games. Entrance is free, trucks will charge for food.

9. Railway to the Moon Steampunk Festival, Mt. Washington, August 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. (603) 278-5404;

10. Greeley Park Arts Show, Nashua, August 18-19

Not many art fairs can claim a six-decade history, but this one can … and then some. The 65th 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. (405) 698-1951;

11. North Country Moose Festival, Colebrook, August 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. (603) 237-8939;


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