Where’s the Party?
Most years, around this time, the magazine office looks like a warehouse filled with supplies for our annual Best of NH Party, held each June for the past 19 years. For our 20th year, we’re shaking things up.
First of all, the party is being held on the evening of August 21 and, secondly, for the first time ever we’re taking it on the road, a little ways north of our Manchester home base to lovely, historic Shaker Village in Canterbury (see ad on page 63). Both changes were inspired (or required) by the challenges of the pandemic, but the resulting plans have been so fresh and exciting, I wonder why we haven’t thought of them before.
The “vibe” of our Best of NH Party has always been one of cheerful excess — too much food and drink, too many booths, too much music for a person to get through it all in an evening. That formula has kept people coming back year after year, but it’s always seemed a shame there wasn’t a more intimate version of the Best of NH experience to share with fellow lovers of the Granite State.
And now there is.
Our Shaker Village party will be an outdoor, sit-down affair under a giant tent on a green lawn with a limit of 300 tickets for sale. We’re offering tickets to this year’s winners first since this is largely a celebration of their work, but also because winners of the Best of NH are the kinds of people you’d want at a great party. Of course, they are also busy folks, so we should still have a number of seats for those with different reasons to come.
Here are a few good reasons why you might want to be among them.
1. Shaker Village is one amazing spot: If you’ve ever been there on a beautiful summer evening, you’ll have an idea of how charming and fascinating a place it is and how blessed the state is to have it. We’ll have free tours of the village for attendees (they will start early) and a chance to explore the grounds and walk down to the famous Shaker ponds.
2. Canterbury is packed with Best of NH stuff: This one small town is home to some of the finest artists and artisans of the state, including Furniture Master David Lamb, the Fox Country Smokehouse (famous for adding its own smoky touch to local meats and cheeses), and two of the state’s most famous fiddlers — Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki and legendary contra-dance caller Dudley Laufman. We’ll be tapping into the local talent pool for a number of surprises for this year’s party.
3. Our Granite State “Summit of Humor”: Faithful readers of our “Ayuh” page and lovers of Yankee humor alike will know the names Rebecca Rule and Ken Sheldon. Both are award-winning and beloved storytellers who have spent their lives explaining “what’s so funny” about New Hampshire to its own inhabitants. These two comic icons will perform together for the first time on the Best of NH stage with a show designed to warm your heart while making you laugh. This is one for the history books, and only our lucky 300 guests will be able to say “I was there.”
4. Great music and other festive offerings: Along with a variety of local food and drink on hand, we’ll have demonstrations and displays from the keepers of local culture and art showcasing their talents and products (with many samples and giveaways in the mix), so guests will take more home with them than just memories and insights.
Instead of the fun bustle of a noisy party at the ballpark in June, we’re planning a cool and invigorating soirée — picture the kind of event where you’re just happy to soak it all in and where you’ll have stories to tell for the rest of the year about the things you saw and did on one sweet, delicious and delightful evening in August.
I wish you could all join us, but with space limited, visit bestofnh.com and check availability. I think this party will be just what we all need to shake off the COVID blues.