The Hippo


Feb 27, 2020








Tree Time

• The 15th Annual “Fez”tival of Trees runs now through Sunday, Nov. 29, at the Bektash Shrine Center (189 Pembroke Road, Concord). The festival includes themed, decorated trees up for bid and raffle, children’s games, a gift shop, refreshments and visits with Santa. It will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 27 and Nov. 28, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 29. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and free for children under 12. Visit
• Plaistow’s Festival of Trees will be held at Plaistow Fish and Game (18 May Ray Ave.) from Friday, Nov. 27, to Sunday, Nov. 29. The festival features a craft fair, breakfast with Santa, holiday stories, Santa’s workshop, caroling for children, a snack bar and many special visits from Santa throughout the weekend. Admission is free. Visit
• There’s plenty of holiday fun to be had at the Southern New Hampshire Festival of Trees, open from Friday, Nov. 27, to Saturday, Dec. 5, at Sherburne Hall in the Pelham Municipal Building (6 Village Green, Pelham). There will be new live entertainment each day, many visits from Santa and treats available at the Candy Cane Cafe. Don’t forget that Tuesday, Dec. 1, is Polar Express Night — come in pajamas and receive a free goodie bag. Daily admission to the festival is $5, and free for kids under 12. Visit for a full schedule of events.
• The Antrim Festival of Trees display will be open at the James A. Tuttle Library (45 Main St., Antrim) during regular library hours from Saturday, Nov. 28, to Saturday, Jan. 2., with a free open house event on Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit
• Catch the Bow Community Tree Lighting Celebration on Sunday, Nov. 29, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the town bandstand. There will be a holiday sing-along, photo opportunities with Santa, s’mores, hot chocolate and cookies. Visit
• See New Boston’s Holiday Tree Lighting on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m., on the town common. There will be light refreshments and holiday songs. Visit
• The Warner Festival of Trees, held at Warner Town Hall (5 E. Main St.), will run from Monday, Nov. 30, to Friday, Dec. 25. Visit 
• Catch the Penacook Tree Lighting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m., at Boudreau
Square in Penacook Village. Santa will arrive via fire truck, the Penacook Elementary Chorus will sing holiday favorites and refreshments will be served. Visit  
• Stop by the Exeter Town Hall (9 Front St.) for the 17th Annual Exeter Festival of Trees on Thursday, Dec. 3, beginning at 11 a.m. Tour the decorated trees and place a bid to take one home. Visit
• Kick off the holiday season at Rochester’s 5th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting on Friday, Dec. 4, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Central Square. Downtown festivities will include a reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” cooking-decorating, dance performances, hot chocolate and cookies, a nativity scene, a photo booth, caroling and a visit from Santa. See
• The Dover Festival of Trees will be held on Friday, Dec. 4, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Dover City Hall Auditorium (288 Central Ave.). Come check out 35 elaborately decorated trees to be auctioned and raffled, plus a live choir performance, children’s activities, holiday carols, refreshments and more. Visit
• Ring in the holidays with Christmas carols, hot chocolate and visits with Santa at the Sandown Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m., at the Town Hall (320 Main St.). Visit
• Head to the Wright Museum (77 Center St., Wolfeboro) for the Wolfeboro Festival of Trees, held Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 12 and Dec. 13, and Wednesday, Dec. 9. The fest features more than 65 decorated trees, continuous entertainment and light refreshments. A preview gala will be held on Thursday, Dec. 3. Daily admission costs $5, $2 for children 8 and under and $12 for families. To see the full schedule or reserve your spot at the gala, visit
• See Windham’s Annual Tree Lighting at the town commons on Saturday, Dec. 5. Santa will be around for photos from 3 to 5 p.m., the Windham Community Band will perform from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and there will be carols by the WMS Chorus at 4:45 p.m. The tree lighting will take place at 5 p.m. Visit  
• Lyndeborough’s Santa Visit and Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, beginning at 4 p.m. Check for updates.
• Catch Durham’s Annual Tree Lighting Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m., on Main Street. There will be raffles, bonfires and s’mores, hot cocoa, ornament-making and visits with Santa. See
• The annual Tree Lighting at Pelham Public Library (24 Village Green) will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. Enjoy cookies and hot chocolate and join in singing some favorite Christmas carols. At 7 p.m., the English Handbell Choir of First Congregational Church will give a special performance. Visit
• The Amherst Tree Lighting Festival will be held from Friday, Dec. 11, to Sunday, Dec. 13. The tree lighting ceremony is Friday at 6 p.m. on the WWI Common. There will be various events happening throughout town on Saturday and Sunday, including concerts, meals, fairs, meetings with Santa and more. Visit
Parade Around
• The 29th Annual Derry Holiday Parade will take place on Saturday, Nov. 28, beginning at 1 p.m. This year’s theme is “The Magic of the Holidays.” There will be more than 80 marching bands, festive floats, clowns and costumed characters. The parade will kick off at the corner of West Broadway and Maple Street and end at Hood Commons on Crystal Avenue. Visit
• Catch the Salem Christmas Parade on Sunday, Nov. 29, beginning at 1 p.m. on Main Street. Updates will be posted at
• See bands, floats, Santa and more at the Laconia Holiday Parade on Sunday, Nov. 29, kicking off from Wyatt Park on South Main Street at 4 p.m., and ending with the tree lighting in Veterans Square. Visit
• Sunday, Nov. 29, is Deerfield’s Sit with Santa, Fireman’s Parade & Holiday Lighting. From 2 to 4 p.m. at the Town Hall (8 Raymond Road), kids can sit with Santa while families enjoy carols, hot cocoa, home baked goods and other holiday activities. There is no charge for this event, but bring a baked good to contribute if you can. At 4 p.m., the holiday lights will be unveiled in Gazebo Field and the Firemen’s Parade will begin making its way through the village, beginning at the Deerfield Penguin Mart and ending on Church Street. Email for more information.
• The Exeter Holiday Parade is set for Saturday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m. The theme this year is “Fire & Ice.” Watch for updates.
• Don’t miss the Nottingham Holiday Parade & Party, happening Saturday, Dec. 5, at 10 a.m. The parade winds through town near the Community Center (139 Stage Road), led by the Police Department and selectmen and followed by Santa. After the parade, there will be a free party with refreshments, a children’s craft workshop and pictures with Santa in the Community Center. Visit
• The Portsmouth Illuminated Holiday Parade will take place on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m., at Market Square. The theme this year is “Unity.” The tree lighting will precede the parade at 5 p.m. Visit
• What’s your favorite Christmas movie? Come celebrate the best of holiday cinema at the Somersworth Christmas Parade & Winter Gala on Saturday, Dec. 5. The theme this year is “Favorite Christmas Movie Memories.” The Somersworth Plaza will be turned into a Winter Gala from 1:30 to 4:45 p.m., with performances, exhibits, events and a parade-viewing area. The parade will begin at 2 p.m. A fireworks display will close out the event. Visit
• The Merrimack Annual Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place
on Sunday, Dec. 6. The parade will begin at 3 p.m., at the Commons Shopping Plaza and will end at the Town Hall parking lot. The tree lighting ceremony will start at 3:45 p.m. at Abbie Griffin Park. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be making an appearance as well. Visit
• Santa and his Christmas elves will be joining the march during the 2nd Annual Seacoast Toys For Tots Christmas Parade on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. The theme this year is “A Beam of Light.” The parade kicks off from the Chop Shop parking lot (920 Lafayette Road, Seabrook) and continues to the new Walmart center for a community gathering with hot cocoa, live bands, pictures with Santa, giveaways for the kids and more. Visit
• Get in the holiday spirit at one of the largest parades in New Hampshire. Rochester’s Holiday Parade is on Sunday, Dec. 6, beginning at 3 p.m., in the downtown area. The theme this year is “Out of This World Christmas!” You’ll see nearly 100 youth, organization and commercial floats, V.I.P.s, color guard and marching units and equestrian and marching bands. Visit
• The Hampstead Firemen’s Association Annual Christmas Parade will be held on Sunday, Dec. 13, beginning at 2 p.m., along Main Street. The theme this year is “Hampstead in the Future.” Visit

Holly Jolly Happenings
’Tis the season for fairs, lights, trains and more

By Angie Sykeny

 There are tons of fun activities for the whole family this season, whether you want to take the Santa Express or stroll through a Christmas Village, watch a parade or attend a tree lighting.

• The Gift of Lights is now open at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1122 Route 106 North, Loudon). This drive-through Christmas light park spans over two miles and features over 60 holiday scenes and over 400 light displays. It’s open from 4:30 to 9 p.m. every day now through Jan. 2 except for Nov. 30, Dec. 1, Dec. 7, Dec. 8 and Christmas Day. Purchase tickets online or at the gate. The cost is $15 per car Monday through Thursday and $20 per car Friday through Sunday and holidays. Visit
• Climb aboard Santa’s Holiday Express on the Conway Scenic Railroad (38 Norcross Circle, North Conway), where you’ll get to ride with Santa and his elves and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Rides are offered Nov. 27 to Nov. 29, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, and Dec. 19 to Dec. 23. Tickets range from $16.50 to $25 for adults, $11.50 to $21 for kids 4 to 12 and up to $12 for kids under 4. You can also catch a ride on the Journey to the North Pole, running Nov. 27 to Nov. 29, Dec. 4 to Dec. 6, Dec. 10 to Dec. 13, and Dec. 18 to Dec. 22. Passengers will enjoy hot chocolate as they ride to Santa’s headquarters, where they will be greeted by Santa and his elves. On the return trip, there will be a Christmas sing-along. Tickets range from $47 to $67. For more information about both of these train rides, visit
Castle in the Clouds (Route 171, 455 Old Mountain Road, Moultonborough) will be hosting its Christmas at the Castle event Friday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Nov. 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Experience a 1920s-style Christmas at the Historic Lucknow Estate with festive decor, live music, costumed guides and role-players, family activities, crafts and more. Admission costs $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 5 through 17. The last tickets will be sold at 2 p.m. each day, and lunch will run 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visit
• Don’t miss out on the Ho-Ho-Hobo Santa Express holiday train rides at the Hobo Railroad (64 Railroad St., Lincoln), which start Friday, Nov. 27, and continue every weekend through Sunday, Dec. 20. Once seated, each passenger will receive a cup of hot chocolate, and each family will receive a box of holiday cookies to enjoy on the one-hour-and-twenty-minute tour. Santa and his elves will visit with each child on the train and hand out gifts. Be sure to bring a camera for photos with Santa on the station platform after the ride. Tickets cost $20 per seat in coach class and $25 per seat in first class, which is seating at a table. Children ages 2 and under are free. Visit
• Plunge into the holidays the weekend after Thanksgiving at Waterville Valley. Events include a Turkey Shot Free Throw Contest on Friday, Nov. 27, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., and the 3rd Annual Cold Turkey Plunge on Sunday, Nov. 28, at 1 p.m., where you can take a dip in the icy waters of Corcoran Pond to benefit athletic programs for people with disabilities. Stick around in Town Square for cookies and hot chocolate and to greet Santa and his dog sled team at 3:30 p.m. There will be a tree lighting and fireworks show at 7 p.m. Visit
• DeMeritt Hill Farm (66 Lee Road, Lee) will continue its Reason for the Season event this year on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 28, Nov. 29, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 12 and Dec. 13, beginning every hour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Take a wagon ride with Santa to find your family’s perfect tree. Mrs. Claus will read “'Twas the Night Before Christmas” to little ones and hand out apple ornaments and candy canes. Warm up with some hot apple cider and get your family photo taken. Registration is required. Visit 
• Everyone is invited to Santa’s Big Party at Charmingfare Farm (774 High St., Candia), held every weekend from Sunday, Nov. 29, through Sunday, Dec. 20, with check-in times from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The party is held at a secret location, accessible only by a 30-minute horse-drawn ride through the Christmas trail. At the party, there will be sugar cookies and hot cocoa, a bonfire, music and performers. Santa himself will be DJ-ing and mingling with guests alongside other costumed characters. When families are ready to leave, they can hop aboard the tractor train ride to see Santa’s reindeer. Admission costs $19 per person and is free for children under 23 months old. Visit
• The Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce 29th Annual Holiday Open House will take place on Thursday, Dec. 3, beginning at 4 p.m., in downtown Exeter. There will be a visit from Santa, Roaming Railroad train rides, food, music, shopping and more. Visit
• Play bingo and shop at the same time at the Amherst Junior Women’s Club’s Holiday Vendor Bingo Night on Thursday, Dec. 3, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. There will be 20 vendors set up at Granite State Cabinetry (384 Route 101, Bedford) selling jewelry, gourmet products, body lotions and many other unique items. Play 20 rounds of bingo for a chance to win a prize from one of the vendors. Email for more information.
• Check out Laconia’s Christmas Village, where the Community Center is transformed into a holiday wonderland, on Thursday, Dec. 3, and Friday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 5, and Sunday, Dec. 6, from 2 to 5 p.m. Visit 
• This year marks the 12th anniversary of Starry, Starry Weekend in Contoocook and Hopkinton. There will be shopping and festivities from Friday, Dec. 4, to Sunday, Dec. 6, including church fairs, food, gingerbread house-making workshops and more throughout the two villages. A preview night will be held Thursday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m., when, for a donation of $5, you can get the first pick of many local artisan gifts and decor. Visit for a full schedule. 
• Ladies are invited to the Grace Ministries International (263 Route 125, Brentwood) 19th Annual Christmas Tea on Friday, Dec. 4, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy a night of live jazz, short comedy skits, a photo booth and a 50/50 raffle. This is an upscale, classy event, so dress in formal attire. Tickets cost $25. Seats are limited, so reserve your spot early by calling 642-7848.
• Experience the Lighted Winter Wonderland at Charmingfare Farm (774 High St., Candia), open weekends from Friday, Dec. 4, to Sunday, Dec. 27, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with check-in times from 5 to 9 p.m. Guests will travel through beautiful lights, holiday scenes and costumed characters on their way to the North Pole, where Santa himself will be waiting to greet them. Admission costs $25 per person and is free for children under 23 months. Visit
Christmas at Canterbury returns on Saturdays, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12, from 3 to 8 p.m., at Canterbury Shaker Village (288 Shaker Road). The annual event demonstrates how Christmas was celebrated during a simpler era. Get creative with activities like making Christmas cards, decorating gingerbread cookies and creating ornaments for your Christmas tree. Interact with costumed characters, admire a toy train display, listen to fiddlers and see an old-fashioned 19th-century magic show. Then, enjoy hot apple cider and sing Christmas carols while you watch the lighting of the Village Christmas tree. Admission is $18 for adults, $8 for children ages 6 to 17 and free for children under 5. Visit to purchase tickets. 
The Deerfield Fair Christmas Stroll will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Deerfield fairgrounds (34 Stage Road). Stroll through a Winter Wonderland of displays, get your picture taken with Santa, take a hayride, visit the live manger and sing along with carolers. Children can stop at Santa’s workshop to make holiday crafts and write letters to Santa. There will be Christmas trees and wreaths for sale, free hot chocolate and cookies and other refreshments available for purchase. Admission costs $2 for children and $5 for adults. Visit
• Strawbery Banke Museum (14 Hancock St., Portsmouth) is carrying on tradition with its 36th Annual Candlelight Stroll, held on weekends, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 19 and Dec. 20, from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Take a stroll through 350 years of history by visiting historic houses with costumed role players and performers who will recreate the holidays of old. Enjoy hearth-cooking and craft demonstrations, winter projects for kids, a bonfire, refreshments and hot apple cider. The cost is $25 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 5 through 17 and $60 for families. Visit
• Enjoy a day of family fun at the Pine Hill Waldorf School’s (77 Pine Hill Drive, Wilton) annual Holiday Fair on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fair features a variety of seasonal activities like children’s crafts, storytelling, puppet shows and a circus performance. Be sure to meet the Pocket Lady and pick a small treasure from one of her many pockets. Stop by the Crystal Cafe for a homemade waffle, lunch or dessert. Admission is free. Visit
• Travel back in time at Hillsborough’s Old-Fashioned Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 5, beginning at 8 a.m., in the downtown area. There will be family activities, shopping, entertainment, crafts and food, all with an old-fashioned feel. The event ends in the evening at Butler Park with the Christmas tree lighting and a visit from Santa. Visit
• Visit the Millyard Museum’s (200 Bedford St., Manchester) Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., for children’s crafts, holiday storytelling, raffles, old-fashioned board games, cookies and cider and a guest appearance from Santa from 10 to 11 a.m. Admission is free. Visit
• Have a holly jolly day shopping for wreaths, handcrafted ornaments and the 50th-anniversary edition of the New Castle Cookbook at the New Castle Village Christmas Fair on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at New Castle Recreation Building (301 Wentworth Road, New Castle). Start the day with a cup of coffee and homemade baked goods and don’t miss the fish chowder and lobster rolls for lunch. Other features include the candy store, hospitality baskets, silent auction and a visit from Santa Claus.
• Head to the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum (18 Highlawn Road, Warner) for its Winter Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event features storytelling, traditional games, a Peyote stitch craft class, a talk on native herbal plant use, native flute music and traditional food. The cost is $5 per person and $20 for families. Visit
• Take your furry friend to meet Santa at the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire (545 Route 101, Bedford) on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be 15-minute professional photo sessions for you and your pet with Santa. The cost is $25, and appointments are required. Visit 
• North Hampton’s 14th Annual Christmas Caroling and Tree Lighting will be held on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 4:30 p.m., at the North Hampton Bandstand. Visit
• Bring the family for an afternoon of fun at the Holiday Family Party with Santa at the Kimball Jenkins Estate (266 N. Main St., Concord) on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. There will be a storytime, photos with Santa, craft projects, refreshments and a tour of the mansion. Admission costs $10 per child. Visit
• This year’s Lights on the Hill Christmas celebration in Candia will be held on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 1 to 8 p.m. Activities will be held in the historic buildings at the corner of High Street and South Road. Come see the hundreds of luminaries, warm up at the campfire, enjoy a light supper and dessert and check out the live nativity animals at the Bethlehem stable. You can also do some shopping at the Christmas Store, where elves will be helping children purchase and wrap gifts for their families. Stop by the coffeehouse for coffee and acoustic music. Kids will enjoy cookie-decorating, craft-making and more. Visit
• The Gilford Village Candlelight Stroll is on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. Take a walk or an old-fashioned horse-and-wagon ride among hundreds of candles. There will be carolers meandering around, and many homes will offer treats for children. Santa will be at the Village Field bandstand, where strollers can warm up and toast marshmallows at a bonfire. Email for more information.
• Make a purchase at any participating Derry business between Dec. 13 and Dec. 19, then use your receipt to gain free admission to the screening of The Polar Express on Thursday, Dec. 19, at the Derry Opera House (29 W. Broadway). The film will show at noon, 3, and 6 p.m. Seats will be first-come, first served. Viewers will get free popcorn and hot chocolate, and there will be other refreshments available for purchase. There will also be store specials, Santa sightings and more in town throughout the week. Visit for more information.
• Don’t miss the Mill Falls Marketplace (312 DW Hwy., Meredith) & Main Street Holiday Open House on Sunday, Dec. 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. Enjoy horse-and-wagon rides through the village, strolling carolers, a visit from Santa and shopping in the Mill Falls Winter Wonderland. Visit
• Swing by the Derry Public Library’s (64 E. Broadway, Derry) Holiday Open House on Wednesday, Dec. 16, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., for music, storytelling and holiday refreshments. Visit
• Bring the family for an evening of cheer at the Holly Jolly Family Spectacular on Friday, Dec. 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Milford Town Hall Auditorium (1 Union Square). Dance, sing along or just sit back and listen to classic holiday hits. Admission costs $5 and is free for kids 4 and under. Visit
• Experience a Victorian Christmas at the New Hampshire Farm Museum (1305 White Mountain Highway, Milton) on Saturday, Dec. 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tour the historic Jones Farmhouse with costumed role-players, go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride, make a hand-dipped Christmas candle, roast chestnuts and popcorn over an open fire, enjoy gingerbread and hot apple cider, visit with the farm animals and more. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Visit
• Rodgers Memorial Library (194 Derry Road, Hudson) will have a Family Christmas Movie Marathon on Wednesday, Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit
• Amoskeag Fishways (4 Fletcher St., Manchester) will celebrate the year with a Fishways Open House on Tuesday, Dec. 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. See presentations on “Active Winter Birds" and "Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons," do fun crafts, enjoy holiday treats and win door prizes. This event is free and open to all ages. Visit
• Welcome 2016 with a New Year’s Eve Family Celebration at Pat’s Peak (686 Flanders Road, Henniker) on Thursday, Dec. 31, from 6 p.m. to midnight. Hit the slopes for an evening of skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing until 10 p.m., then stick around afterward for a comedy show, live music, food, party favors, a Champagne toast, fireworks and more. There are several ticket options. For skiing and the party, the cost is $90 for adults, $50 for juniors and seniors. For the party only, the cost is $70 for adults, $35 for juniors and seniors. For skiing only, the cost is $41 per person. For tubing only, the cost is $20 per person. Visit
• Check out the New Year’s fireworks display near the Sea Shell Stage (170 Ocean Boulevard, Hampton Beach) on Thursday, Dec. 31, at 8 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Visit
• The yearlong celebration of Concord’s 250th anniversary will conclude with the Cheers to the Next 250 Years! New Year’s Gala on Thursday, Dec. 31, from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The gala will feature live music, dinner, a pop-up history gallery, dancing, costumes and a final toast. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes inspired by the 1920s, ’50s, ’70s, ’80s and today/future. Seats are limited, so reserve your spot early. Tickets are available online at

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