The Best Events Happening in June

This month brings a variety of events, from sand sculpting competitions to concerts to festivals
Belafleckprescottparkaerialjuly2016 Credit Clear Eye Photo

An aerial view of the Bela Fleck concert at Prescott Park Arts Festival in Portsmouth. Photo by Clear Eye Photo

Prescott Park Arts Festival, Portsmouth, June through October

The state’s most sprawling summer arts festival returns in 2023 for yet another season of world-class entertainment for the whole family. A chili cook-off, jazz festival, movie screenings, theatrical productions, big-name musicians and a whole lot more make this one of the Granite State’s best summer outdoor gatherings. At the time of writing, the only confirmed event for 2023 is a theatrical production of “Disney’s 101 Dalmations and The Aristocrat Kids,” but check out their website as more events pop up. To avoid fighting for a spot in the first-come, first-serve outdoor space, don’t forget to reserve a blanket or table in advance. Free (donation suggested). Dates and times vary, Prescott Park, 105 Marcy St., Portsmouth. (603) 436-2848;

NH Maker Fest, Dover, June 3

This festival is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and love sharing what they do. From engineers and artists to scientists and chefs, the Maker & Food Fest is a venue for these “makers” to show off hobbies, experiments and projects, and for attendees to enjoy fantastic grub. The team at the Children’s Museum call it “The Greatest Show and Tell on Earth” — a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. Suggested donation of $5 per person. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, 6 Washington St., Dover.

WOKQ Chowder Festival & Summer Social, Portsmouth, June 3

Prescott Park Arts Festival welcomes the Granite State to chow on some chowder and get jiggy with it. This event features restaurants from throughout the Seacoast in a delicious chowder competition for the ages. The festival also offers music, merch and other family-friendly activities for friends young and old. And for those non-chowder chompers, a host of other delicious treats will be available, including handmade ice cream sandwiches, fresh-pressed lemonade, oysters and more. Prices vary. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until the chowder runs dry), Prescott Park, 105 Marcy St., Portsmouth. (603) 436-2848;

NH Bacon & Beer Festival, Merrimack, June 3

A fundraiser for High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire — an organization dedicated to providing life- enhancing experiences and medical equipment to New Hampshire’s terminally and chronically ill children — this 7th-annual event celebrates the savory grease of some good ol’ bacon alongside the endless flavor possibilities that have come to define well-crafted beer. Featuring local restaurants pulling up with their finest pork products, live music from The Slakas and over 60 breweries slinging their delicious brews, the Bacon & Beer Festival is an artery-clogging time for the ages. $35-$125. 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., Anheuser-Busch Brewery, 221 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack.

Winnipesaukee Volleyball Classic, Laconia, June 3

Hosted by the Akwa Marina Yacht Club, this competitive sand classic combines the fun of beach volleyball with making a difference in the lives of young children with special needs. All proceeds go to Crotched Mountain’s CMF Kids, an initiative that supports children with autism and other disabilities from the communities of greatest need. Prices vary. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Akwa Marina Yacht Club, 95 Centenary Ave., Laconia. (603) 669-0821;

16th Annual Kitchen Tour, Manchester, June 4

Take a self-guided tour of some of the finest kitchens in Amherst, Bedford and Manchester — all in one day. Dig the decor and enjoy lunch from Baron’s Major Brands. All proceeds from the Kitchen Tour benefit professional and youth theater programming at the historic Palace Theatre. $55-$65. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester. (603) 668-5588; New Hampshire Magazine is a proud sponsor of this event.

46th Annual Market Square Day, Portsmouth, June 10

Created by nonprofit Pro Portsmouth to celebrate the renovation and beautification of downtown Portsmouth and, in particular, Market Square, the festival has grown in size along with the popularity of Portsmouth. It is estimated that 60,000 people walk through downtown Portsmouth on this day enjoying the entertainment, products and food offered by artists, crafters and merchants — many from the Seacoast area. Two performance stages feature local and regional musicians. The day kicks off with a 10K Road Race. Free. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., downtown Portsmouth. (603) 433-4398;

Menopause: The Musical, Nashua, June 10

Four women at a lingerie sale have nothing in common but a black lace bra AND memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more. This hilarious musical parody set to classic tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles. See what more than 17 million women and fans worldwide have been laughing about for over 20 years. $39-$69. Showings at 3 and 7:30 p.m., Nashua Center for the Arts, 201 Main St., Nashua. (800) 657-8774;

Fun in the Sun Color Run, Nashua, June 10

Open to children, adults, families and teams, the event is hosted by the Nashua Silver Knights and benefits the Lil’ Iguana’s Children’s Safety Foundation. Participants run or walk a 1-mile or 5K course around historic Holman Stadium in Nashua. Following the race, participants and their families can enjoy a “Finish Line Luau” with live music, entertainment, food and beverage samples and activities provided by area businesses and vendors. $25. 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Holman Stadium, 67 Amherst St., Nashua. (603) 881-9805;

Laconia Motorcycle Week, June 10-18

Some might know the annual Bike Week as a Lakes Region traffic headache, but if you’ve never stopped in for the festivities, this is your year. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Laconia Bike Week (!!!) and includes as much tasty food, rockin’ live tunes and interesting historical motorcycle programming as rough-and-tumble biker appeal. Prices and times vary, Weirs Beach. (603) 366-2000;

Juneteenth Celebration 2023, Portsmouth, June 10-19

Portsmouth’s Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire offers a weeklong Juneteenth celebration to honor early African settlers and their descendants for their extraordinary contributions to the growth of the region. The celebration includes a tour, a panel discussion, a Reggae festival, a gospel choir
concert, African drumming and more. Prices and times vary. Portsmouth. (603) 570-8469;

New England Wine Spectacular, Manchester, June 15

Celebrate New Hampshire Wine Week with the seven-day celebration’s crown jewel: the Wine Spectacular. It’s New England’s largest showcase of premium wines, featuring over 1,700 wines and 25 restaurants, and drawing a capacity crowd of more than 1,500 guests. The event now benefits the New Hampshire Food Bank, with a portion of proceeds going toward fighting hunger in the Granite State. $65-$135. 6 to 9 p.m., DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown, 700 Elm St., Manchester.

Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Classic, June 15-17

This extravaganza boasts 200 tons of imported sand transformed into sand sculptures that will put little Bobby’s castles to shame. World-class master sculptors come together to create their own unique sculptures and compete for the $15,000 grand prize. Their masterpieces will be illuminated at night for an unforgettable walk down the boardwalk. Free. Hampton Beach, Hampton.

Manchester Pride, June 17

Celebrate pride in the Queen City! This year’s event is moving to Veteran’s Memorial Park to increase the downtown community’s involvement. The festival will feature Queerlective’s Queer Art Extravaganza, youth-focused activities, queer performers and many local community vendors. Free. 12 to 6 p.m., Veteran’s Memorial Park, 723 Elm St., Manchester.

Hike for Hope, Alton, June 17

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Hike for Hope puts a hiking spin on the “Out of the Darkness Walks” — an opportunity to bring people together to generate awareness for the cause, along with raising funds for suicide prevention in the community while fostering connection and generating important conversations. Hike for Hope provides an opportunity to enjoy our natural surroundings and acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental health conditions have affected our lives and the lives of those we love and care about. Join in for a jaunt up beautiful Mount Major in this hope-filled event. Donations encouraged. 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mount Major, Alton. (603) 236-7774;

Bert Kreischer’s Fully Loaded, Gilford, June 17-18

Come to one of NH’s biggest venues for a night of big-time comics. Bert Kreischer, Tiffany Haddish, Jim Norton, Big Jay Oakerson, Dan Soder and Tammy Pescatelli. $52-$500. 7 p.m., Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Ln., Gilford. (603) 293-4700;

Best of NH Party, Lee, June 22

Shameless plug or not, this is a helluva good party you won’t want to miss: This year’s Best of NH celebration returns to its glory days of sampling great food, drink, live music and fun from across the state. The event will be an elegant tent and garden party at one of our most beautiful local treasures: Flag Hill Distillery and Winery in Lee. Sign up for our new VIP hour and private sampling opportunity, limited to 75 guests; spend the night in one of 10 tiny homes on the property; or come just for an evening of sampling and fun. And it’s all to honor the 2023 Best of NH winners and to support our nonprofit beneficiary, the New Hampshire Food Bank. $68-$98. 5 to 8:30 p.m., Flag Hill Distillery and Winery, 297 North River Rd., Lee.

Concord Market Days Festival, June 22-24

Celebrate summer in the Capitol City with this annual free fest. Throughout the weekend, visitors can enjoy over 150 vendors and exhibitors, concerts in both Eagle and Bicentennial Squares and a beer tent smack-dab in the middle of the festival. The weekend also coincides with the Capital City 10K, in case you like your street food served with a side of athleticism. Free. Main Street, Concord. (603) 226-2150;

The Human Rights Reggae Strong Tour, Newmarket, June 23

When it comes to reggae in Canada, nobody does it better — while remaining true to their founding principles — than Toronto’s The Human Rights. Since forming in 2007, around one of the Toronto scene’s true lions, Friendlyness, The Human Rights have developed a distinctively modern, high-energy sound that blends roots reggae with jazz, funk and R&B influences, courtesy of a blazing horn section and the soulful lead vocals of Juno award nominee Tréson. Their new album, Reggae Strong, finds The Human Rights coming as close as they have to achieving a truly Canadian reggae sound. $20-$25. 7 p.m., Stone Church Music Club, 5 Granite St., Newmarket. (603) 659-7700;

White Mountains Triathlon, Franconia, June 24

Not only is this athletic event among the most scenic triathlons in the state, it’s also the only one with a whole festival built around it. Over two days, runner-biker-swimmers can participate in either the sprint, half-Iron man or Olympic distance races, and they can hang around for a Saturday post-race BBQ followed by a mountaintop sunset social. $139-$389. Early packet pick-up and registration begins on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and continues Saturday at 5:30 a.m., with the first race kicking off at 7 a.m., Cannon Mountain Ski Area, 260 Tramway Dr., Franconia. (603) 488-1186;

White Mountains Pride, North Conway, June 24

Head to North Conway for a full day of activities including food trucks, music, kids activities and other celebrations. Check out their website for more details. Free. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., White Mountains Community Center Park, 78 Norcross Circle, North Conway.

Nashua Pride Festival, June 24

Join members of the local LGBTQIA community to celebrate Nashua Pride. The festival is a free celebration of diversity, acceptance, music and fun focused on promoting equality and inclusion of all people. The festival takes place in the Nashua Public Library parking lot and a parade kicks off at 2 p.m. at the Elm Street School. Free. 2 to 6 p.m., Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St., Nashua. Facebook.

Gunstock Trailfest, Gilford, June 24-25

This isn’t your granddaddy’s road race! This epic weekend event hosts some of New Hampshire’s most popular trail runs with a mountain of options to choose from. Choose from The Peak Challenge, the 1.5 Mountain Climb, or the 5K, 10K, 30K, 50K and 80K trail runs. There’s also events for kids and dogs, along with a full day of festivities including a live acoustic folk singer, complimentary BBQ and two free beers. $39-$109. Times vary, Gunstock Mountain Resort, 719 Cherry Valley Rd., Gilford.

Cycling New Hampshire’s Covered Bridges, Lebanon, June 25-29

This five-day journey takes cyclists to 12 of New Hampshire’s beautiful, historic covered bridges while traversing gorgeous mountain vistas and passing sparkling lakes, rivers and streams and includes a visit to Saint-Gaudens Sculpture Gardens, plus a glorious ride on the Northern Rail Trail. Prices vary. 8 a.m., 25 Airport Rd., Lebanon. (315) 316-2453;

Categories: Family-friendly things to do, Guide to Summer