The 10 Best Free Events Happening in February

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

Embrace winter with the 104th Newport Winter Carnival from Newport February 12-16

Keene Ice and Snow Festival, February 1

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visit lovely downtown Keene for ice carving, snow sculpting, s’more making, face painting, train riding, shopping and so much more. This family-friendly event is the perfect way to get outside and enjoy a cold New England day. Find more information here.

Nourish? Arts Address Mind, Body, Spirit, Plymouth, February 1-15

The arts can provide personal sanctuaries, life giving inspiration and physical therapy. Simultaneously, art experiences can create common ground and opportunities to connect us to each other. This exhibit brings together creative work from all over New Hampshire that tells the story of the power of art at this time, in this place.

Cut Up/Cut Out, Exeter, February 1-March 4

From an excavated comic book to a hand-cut decorative rubber tire, the works in this exhibit use historic techniques of paper cutting to reflect contemporary concerns in transformative ways. It features over 50 artists working across the United States and internationally, who repurpose such things as leaves, Tyvek, maps, plywood and cash register rolls to reimagine the world. Artists including Charles Clary and Nikki Rosato employ a variety of methods to produce their work, from cutting shapes by hand using X-acto knives, to creating intricate, large-scale works with computer-aided design software and plasma cutters.

“Olive Kitteridge,” Concord, February 2

Gibson’s Book Club will read “Olive Kitteridge” for their February get-together. The book club is open to the public and newcomers are encouraged. Join them for every meeting, or deal yourself in as the spirit moves you. Free. 5:30 to 7 p.m., Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 South Main St., Concord. (603) 224-0562;

Dartmouth College Winter Carnival, February 6-9, 2020
This storied winter tradition began at Dartmouth College in Hanover in 1911. The annual fête celebrates Dartmouth’s impressive winter sports history and the beauty of the Upper Valley in the snow. Organizations around campus host events during the carnival, so make the rounds to enjoy an ice-sculpting contest, the 99-cent ski day at Oak Hill and the Skiway, and quirky traditions such as the human dogsled race on the green. This year’s theme celebrates folklore and mysterious creatures around the world with “A Blizzard of Unbelievable Beasts.” More information:

mirror IV, Portsmouth, February 7-March 29

This interactive installation asks participants to complete the imagery, and perpetuate and resolve the installations in specific ways. Once dismantled, each work will exist through the documentation and memory of its participants. Each installation uses guidance to influence, alter, maintain, progress and distinguish each part of the work. “We affect everyone and everything, while everyone and everything affects us, no matter how small or fleeting the impact.” (603) 766-3330;

Granite State Gallery: New Hampshire Art and Artists Through the Years, Henniker, February 9

New Hampshire has attracted and inspired artists since the colonial era. What is distinctive about the art made here? This program will consider works by itinerant and folk painters, landscape artists drawn to the state’s scenic vistas, and modern artists that adopted bold styles to depict everyday life in the Granite State. Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Childe Hassam, and Maxfield Parrish are some of the artists discussed in the program. (603) 428-3471;

104th Newport Winter Carnival, Newport February 12-16

The small town of Newport will be transformed into a winter wonderland for four days of winter activities. There will be events ranging from a winter carnival pageant and midnight ice skating to winter parades and pancake breakfasts.

NH Astronomical Society: Sky Watch, Laconia, February 25

Join the NH Astronomical Society in a “beginner-friendly,” enjoyable, and educational experience using a telescope to observe the night sky. Join them at 6 p.m. for a presentation that will precede the sky watch and then head outside. Society members will set up their equipment and choose their celestial targets for you. All are welcome to this free community program. (603) 366-5695;

Abby Hutchinson’s Sweet Freedom Songs: Songs and Stories of the Struggle for Abolition and Woman Suffrage, Concord, February 29

Deborah Anne Goss appears as Abby Hutchinson Patton, recalling mid-19th century US and New Hampshire history and performing rousing anthems, heartfelt ballads and humorous ditties sung during anti-slavery and early women’s rights struggles. In the 1840s and 1850s the Hutchinson Family Singers strongly influenced the opinions of the era with their popular songs promoting healthy living and social justice-most prominently the abolition of slavery. Participants are encouraged to join in the singing on several choruses or read a poem or political diatribe of the time. (603) 228-6688;

Bonus event!

Read and Discuss Robert Frost’s Early Poems, Portsmouth, February 12-March 4

Join Pontine Theatre’s Co-Artistic Directors, Greg Gathers and Marguerite Mathews, to read and discuss a selection of early poems by  Robert Frost. Pontine will premiere a new work based on Frost’s early poems in March 2020. Poems included in the production include:  “The Witch of Coos,” “Maple,” “The Housekeeper,” “Hill Wife” and “The Code.” These workshops are free and open to the public, no experience necessary. Workshops are offered on Wednesdays from 2-3:15 p.m. and are open to the public free of charge. Location is the Historic 1845 Plains Schoolhouse, #1 Plains Ave., Portsmouth. The space is fully accessible with free parking adjacent. For more information, please attend the first workshop scheduled for Wednesday 12 February at 2 p.m.

Learn more about Robert Frost and his life in New Hampshire with this recent story by Anders Morley, which features beautiful illustrations by students from The Institute of Art and Design at New England College.



Categories: Winter Events