The Best Summer and Fall Comeback Events for 2021
Last year, these annual events may have gone away, but this year they are back to stay
Events are back, everyone. Not just any events, but a few of our favorite annual events are expected to return over the next few months to their pre-pandemic glory. A couple may look a little different than past years, but we’re still excited to check them out in our safe, slow journey back to normalcy. Make sure you check out each event’s website before you head out for proper COVID-19 rules and guidelines.
10+ annual events that we’re looking forward to in 2021
League of NH Craftmen’s Fair, Newbury, August 7-15
Start clearing out the car — you’ll want plenty of trunk space for this. Artisans and crafters from around the state set up shop at this massive fest, which boasts the title of the oldest continuously running craft fair in the U.S. Come ready to shop or just ready to learn and admire, either in the learn-how-it’s-made workshops scattered throughout the week or in the exhibition building full of curated art shows. There’s also live music, chances to meet artisans one-on-one and other fun events held throughout the week.
More information: nhcrafts.org
Market Days Festival, Concord, August 19-21
Celebrate summer in the capital with this annual free fest. Throughout the weekend, visitors can enjoy hundreds of vendors and exhibitors, concerts in both Eagle and Bicentennial squares and a beer tent smack dab in the middle of the festival.
More information: intownconcord.org
Best of NH Party, Canterbury, August 21
Shameless plug alert! For our 20th annual Best of NH celebration, we’re headed to the beautiful and historic grounds of Canterbury Shaker Village. The evening includes tours of the village, cocktails, catered dinner and entertainment from the state’s beloved Yankee humorists Ken Sheldon and Rebecca Rule, plus live music by Fee and the Evolutionists. Another change this year — tickets are limited (just over 300 are available), so don’t procrastinate. This is an outdoor event, and we’ll be following the CDC guidelines for safe in-person events. Seating at tables will not be limited to single parties. The fun starts at 5:30 p.m., but guests who’d like to take the 45-minute tour will need to arrive at 4:30 p.m.
More information: bestofnh.com
Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, Hampton Beach, September 10-12
Close out your summer with the granddaddy of all Granite State food fests. Even though event organizers are working to adapt the festival to increase safety, you can still expect Seacoast restaurants offering up lobster, fried clams and other surf and turf favorites, plus skydiving demos, fireworks, a lobster roll eating contest and more. Prices and times vary, Hampton Beach, Ocean Boulevard.
More information: seafoodfestivalnh.com
Thunder Over: New Hampshire Air Show, Portsmouth, September 11-12
The 2021 Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show promises to be a weekend packed with heart-pounding air performances and family-friendly activities. This is your chance to get up close to see the aircraft and pilots in action. Although General Admission is free, a limited amount of premium seating is available while supplies last. Get your tickets early to see the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and so much more.
More information: thunderovernewhampshire.com
NH Highland Games & Festival, Lincoln, September 17-19
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. Though things will be a bit different this year (advanced tickets are required, and no tickets will be sold onsite), you can still expect to enjoy athletic feats of strength and endurance, Celtic music, sheep dog trials and more.
More information: nhscot.org
NH Maker & Food Fest, Dover, September 18
This annual event is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists, to chefs, the Maker & Food Fest is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, projects, and for everyone to enjoy fantastic food. New this year, participating Makers can submit online content either in addition to or instead of attending the Fest in-person. These videos, photos, blogs, etc. will be shared here and on CMNH’s social media in the weeks leading up to the Fest and exclusive content will be available online for two weeks after.
More information: childrens-museum.org
Deerfield Fair, Deerfield, September 30-October 3
Apple crisp, fried dough, carousel rides and horse pulls must mean that the Deerfield Fair is back in town. New England’s oldest fair is back with all of your traditional activities and attractions like amusement rides, annual horse show and more.
More information: deerfieldfair.com
Powder Keg Beer & Chili Fest, Exeter, October 2
This year’s event will be the powder keg without the chili, but it will still be one to remember. At this 11-year-old festival, sample brews from more than 20 breweries and cideries during one of two two hour sessions.
More information: powderkegbeerfest.com
New Hampshire Magazine is a proud sponsor of this event.
Apple Harvest Day, Dover, October 2
Pumpkins aren’t the only produce to show a bit of love to this month. Dover’s fall fest focuses on the season’s sweeter favorite, with a noteworthy craft fair, live entertainment and plenty of eats, apple-themed and otherwise. Enjoy signature events, including an apple pie contest and a 5K.
More information: dovernh.org
NH Film Festival, Portsmouth, October 14-17
Lights, camera, action. For a few days each October, Portsmouth transforms itself into an even hipper city than usual for this festival. Though this year’s lineup hadn’t been announced at press time, festivalgoers can expect screenings, panels, red carpet social events and, more likely than not, appearances from film and TV celebs — past guests include Tom Bergeron and John Michael Higgins.
More information: nhfilmfestival.com