The 10 Best Free Events Happening in July

Where you can have fun on (less than) a dime this month
The Hillsboro Balloon Fest & Fair from July 11-14 is one of the best free events of the month. Photo by Karen Booth

1. Fourth of July Weekend, statewide, July 1-4

Happy Independence Day! Celebrate America’s birthday and open the month with a Fourth of July parade, community celebration or fireworks display near you. Wondering where to go? Check out our list of Fourth of July fireworks displays and events.

2. The Making of Strawbery Banke, Holderness, July 10

Local legend says Strawbery Banke Museum began when a Portsmouth librarian gave a rousing speech in 1957. This is a dramatic tale of economics, urban renewal, immigration, and historic architecture in New Hampshire’s only seaport. J. Dennis Robinson, author of an award-winning “biography” of the 10-acre Strawbery Banke campus, shares the history of “America’s oldest neighborhood.” Tapping into private letters, unpublished records, and personal interviews, Robinson explores the politics of preservation. Using colorful and historic illustrations, the author looks candidly at mistakes made and lessons learned in this grassroots success story. (603) 968-7487;

3. Trolley Arts Night, Manchester, July 11

Manchester’s semiannual communal arts open house is a classic way to have free fun. (603) 232-5597;

4. Hillsboro Balloon Fest & Fair, Hillsboro, July 11-14

Soar up, up and away at this popular summer event. Besides hot air balloons, there are food vendors, live entertainment, activities for the kids and fireworks. Insider tip for this fan-favorite festival: the balloons take off at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. (603) 464-5858;

5. New England Vintage Boat and Car Auction, Wolfeboro Falls, July 13

Stop by the New Hampshire Boat Museum for this one-of-a-kind summer auction. Auction items include vintage cars, vintage boats, fiberglass boats, sailboats, canoes, vintage car memorabilia and maritime antiques. If you’ve ever wanted the perfect boat or car to cruise around the Granite State, now is your chance so don’t miss out. Proceeds will benefit the museum. (603) 569-4554;

6. 30th Annual Craft Fair at the Bay, Alton, July 13-14

Over 75 juried artisans from all over New England will display and sell their American made arts and crafts including wreathes, pet accessories, photography, furniture, jewelry and so much more. There will also be a sampling of specialty foods such as herbal dips, maple syrup, kettle corn and lemonade. This event will take place rain or shine, and friendly pets on a leash are welcome.

7.  42nd Annual Loon Festival, Moultonborough, July 20

For more than 40 years, the Loon Preservation Committee has worked to preserve the common loon and its habitat in the Granite State through research, education and management activities. Attend this event and learn about these marvelous and mysterious birds and how you can help protect them.

8. Movies on the Green, North Conway, July 23-August 13

This seven-week series features such family favorites as “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and a surprise throwback film, and it’s totally free — if you can resist the lure of the outlet stores surrounding the viewing area. (603) 356-7031;

9. Hebron Fair, Hebron, July 27

This fair boasts that their fair is the place to be for the last Saturday in July. Festivities include more than 100 craftspeople, pony rides, children’s games, white elephant, delicious foods, baked goods, plants and a silent auction. It is held on the picturesque Hebron Common at the north end of Newfound Lake and will happen rain or shine. (603) 744-5883;

9. 20th Annual Chocolate Fest, Waterville Valley, July 27

While each piece of chocolate at this fan-favorite fest is doled out for an individual purchase price, admission is free — a good thing given how much of the sweet stuff you’ll want to snatch up and devour in the 2.5-hour local chocolate smorgasbord. (800) 468-2553;

10. 9th Annual Summer Psychic Fair, Laconia, July 27 and 28

We can’t see into the future, but we can predict that you will have fun at this event. Take part in a day filled with presentations, a marketplace and some of the finest nationally known psychics. There will also be door prizes, indoor and outdoor attractions, concessions and a great, unique atmosphere. (603) 321-4818;

Categories: Featured Events, Features