The Best Events Happening in September

This month brings a variety of events, from fairs to concerts to festivals

Don’t miss the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival, happening in Lincoln on September 16-18, 2022

Hopkinton State Fair, Contoocook, September 1-5

New Hampshire has no shortage of storied fairs, and kicking off the season of fall agricultural fun is the over 100 year old Hopkinton State Fair. From demolition derbies and educational exhibits to livestock shows and decadent fried dough, this Labor Day weekend tradition is fun for the whole family.

UFO Festival, Exeter, September 3-4

Did you know that there was a UFO sighting in this quintessential New England town in 1965? The Incident at Exeter inspired this festival, which is both an educational experience for believers and skeptics and a fun time for family and friends. There will be activities for your little ones and, for adults, a lecture series featuring a panel of experts.

33rd Annual Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, Hampton Beach, September 9-11

Close out your summer with the granddaddy of all Granite State food fests. You likely know the drill at this legendary ode to oceanside eats, but if you need a reminder, here’s the gist: 50 Seacoast restaurants offering up lobster, fried clams and other surf and turf favorites, plus skydiving demos, fireworks, a lobster roll-eating contest and three full days of season-ending boardwalk adventures. (603) 926-8718;

Wingzilla, Berlin, September 10

Head north for this annual food and fun fest, featuring a chicken wing cook-off and a Hawaiian-themed ATV poker run, among other festivities. If you’re up for a particular brand of torture, sign on for Killazilla, a competition to see who can snarf down the most blazing hot wings.

River Valley Artisans Art and Wine Tour, Westmoreland, September 10-11

This annual event allows you to enjoy delicious wine and stroll among displays of various paintings by local artists. Poocham and Summit wineries have joined the River Valley Artisans for this weekend of art, fun, wine and food. There will be oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, photography, jewelry, fiber art and woodware among other handmade items.

New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival, Lincoln, September 16-18

Heading north for this beloved fest, you could almost convince yourself that the mountains on the horizon are the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands-and once you hear the bagpipes and spot the sea of tartan on the festival grounds, you’ll really start believing it. Heavy athletics, dancing, music and arts are all on the docket this year, as are other fun festival activities. (603) 229-1975;

Fall Equinox Fest, Exeter, September 17

Celebrate the final days of summer and welcome in the first days of fall with this fun festival. It takes place at Swasey Parkway, and features some of the Seacoast’s finest artistic and musical talent, as well as cultural exhibits and local food. There will also be yoga, dance performances, activities for kids and hooping. (603) 512-8396;

Star Island Gosport Regatta, Portsmouth, September 18

All are invited to this open sailing race from Portsmouth Harbor to Gosport Harbor at the Isles of Shoals. Spectators are welcome to enjoy the sailing competition from the deck of M/V Thomas Laighton, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company. There will also be festivities after the race for the whole family, such as an award ceremony, delicious barbecue, music, kite festival and games and activities for children. (603) 430-6272;

Richard Thompson, Keene, September 23

Powered by evocative songcraft, jaw-dropping guitar playing, and indefinable spirit, this venerable icon holds a coveted spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and counts a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association in Nashville, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC Awards among his many accolades. Thompson’s influence can’t be overstated. (603) 352-2033;

Capital Arts Fest, Concord, September 24-25

The League of NH Craftsmen invites you to this juried craft fair on Main Street in the Arts District of Concord. The event features juried members of the League and invited artisans from around New England, craft demonstrations, exhibition galleries, local music and delicious food. (603) 224-3375; 

Fox Point Sunset Road Race, Newington, September 24

Runners who love to race but hate the break-of-dawn start times, this one’s for you. A 5-mile course winding through Newington Village and around Great Bay, this Seacoast Road Race Series event is designed to align with the sunset — no 6 a.m. registration table in sight. Stick around after you’ve crossed the finish line, where a free post-race BBQ will be waiting to replenish those calories you just burned off. (603) 834-3177;

Seacoast Cancer 5K, Dover, September 25

Join more than 2,000 participants for a morning of family fun benefiting cancer care and services at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. The course starts at the hospital and winds through Dover. Runners and walkers are invited to partake in this event, and there will be pre- and post-race activities like food, entertainment, kids’ activities and more.

Portsmouth Fairy House Tours, Portsmouth, September 25-26

The world’s largest fairy house tour is back for a weekend of magic. Peruse the enchanted fairy and gnome homes, take a seat and watch a ballet, visit Pickwick’s Fairy Bazaar, take a photo in the fairy photobooth, add a bit of whimsy to your outfit at the fairy face painting studio and more. (603) 433-1100;

The Princess Bride: An Inconceivable Evening with Cary Elwes, Concord, September 29

Join Cary Elwes (Westley) for a behind-the-scenes look at life on and off the set of the classic film, “The Princess Bride.” After a screening of the iconic movie, Elwes will engage in a moderated discussion revealing never before shared secrets and tales of inconceivable antics! Journey back to the lands of Florin and Guilder in an adventure filled with fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles and of course, true love. (603) 225-1111; 

Deerfield Fair, Deerfield, September 29-October 2

At 145 years old, the season closes out with the oldest family fair in New England. Last year the largest pumpkin recorded in the entire country was weighed in at the fair – it was a truly ginormous specimen at 2,538 pounds. Find out on opening day at 6 p.m. whether anyone can best Steve Geddes’ massive pumpkin-growing talents. Other non-gourd entertainment includes magicians, high-flying circus acts, music, livestock demonstrations, horse shows, the pig scramble, 4-H events, square dancing and so much more.

Categories: Family-friendly things to do