Pick your Pumpkin

CELEBRATE YOUR FAVORITE GOURD AT LOCAL PUMPKIN FESTS PLUS WHERE TO PICK YOUR OWN

Flavors of fall

Milford Pumpkin Festival returns

by Matt Ingersoll

When longtime Milford resident Wade Campbell learned that the town’s annual pumpkin festival was at risk of not continuing in 2018, he and several volunteers, local organizations and community members set out to take it over. Three years later, Campbell is now director of the Granite Town Festivities Committee, carrying on the decades-long tradition of the Milford Pumpkin Festival in partnership with the Milford Rotary and Lions clubs.

The three-day event will return to the Milford Oval and surrounding areas from Friday, Oct. 8, to Sunday, Oct. 10, featuring local food vendors, beer and wine tastings, live music and family-friendly activities.

This will be the first in-person version of the Milford Pumpkin Festival in two years, although a scaled back virtual event mainly highlighting local musicians took place in 2020.

“I’m really excited. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since we ramped it back up,” Campbell said. “We did cancel the variety show and we have a few less vendors in the town hall, but overall there really isn’t much of a difference between this year and 2019.”

Friday evening’s opening festivities will include a pumpkin lighting ceremony at the Milford Town Hall, while on the Oval honorees for Milford’s Citizen of the Year will be announced.

At the nearby Community House Lawn, the Milford Rotary and Lions clubs are presenting two nights of beer, wine and spirit tastings on Friday and Saturday from more than two dozen local and regional vendors. Admission is available at the gate either night beginning at 5:30 p.m. — attendees are given a total of 10 tasting tickets, which are redeemable for a four-ounce sample of beer, a one-ounce sample of wine or a ½-ounce sample of liquor per vendor.

Pumpkin Fest Tasting

Beer, wine and spirits tastings

When: Friday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 9, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Milford Community House Lawn, 5 Union St., Milford
Cost: $20 per person; includes 10 tasting tickets, each for a four-ounce sample of beer, a one-ounce sample of wine or a ½-ounce sample of liquor
Visit: milfordpumpkinfestival.org/bws-tastings
Free parking and shuttle bus services will be available at Milford Middle School (33 Osgood Road) on Friday and at Milford High School (100 West St.) throughout the weekend. Per federal regulations, face masks are required while riding the shuttle bus regardless of vaccination status.

This will be the first official festival participation for Concord’s Steadfast Spirits Distilling Co. since it opened in early 2020. Lori Lundergan, whose husband, CJ, is head distiller, said they will likely be pouring their fan-favorite Apple Pie moonshine-mixed cocktail — better known under the name Trouble’s Moonshine — in addition to some other flavors of their signature selections.

Averill House Vineyard of Brookline will be there with its barrel-aged True Blue blueberry wine and its Little Secret Nebbiolo wine, owner Bob Waite said. The winery will also be promoting a unique Halloween-themed twist for its igloo experiences, which are being transformed into “wine caves” with blacklights and decorative spider webs throughout the month of October.

The beer, wine and spirit tasting on the Community House Lawn, Milford Pumpkin Fest. Courtesy photo.

Of course, in keeping with the festival’s theme, you can expect pumpkin brews. The Loft Brewing Co. of Milford will offer its OMG pumpkin ale, while on Friday only, Martha’s Exchange of Nashua is expected to bring its PumpkinWeizen, in addition to other selections.

“We have a few vendors who couldn’t physically make it but are donating product, so there will be a couple of tables where we’ll have volunteers, Rotarians or Lions doing the pouring,” said Tim Finan, former Milford Rotary Club president and coordinator of the tastings.

Dozens of local vendors, from restaurants and food trucks to crafters and artisans, will be set up at multiple spots throughout the weekend. On Friday night Papa Joe’s Humble Kitchen of Milford will be serving burgers at the Community House Lawn. Then on Saturday, members of the Milford Rotary and Lions clubs will team up to offer burgers, homemade sausages and more.

Rotarian Janet Langdell added that The Memo Foundation, a Milford-based nonprofit, will be back to serve Frito Pie, featuring homemade chili and cheese served in a Fritos corn chip bag.

More than 20 bands and singers will hold performances across two stages throughout the weekend. The Flying Gravity Circus will be there on Saturday afternoon, while the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley’s competitive dance team will perform on Sunday morning.

Other featured activities during the festival will include pumpkin and face painting, a “haunted trail” at the nearby Emerson Park, a pumpkin weigh-in contest and a pumpkin catapult.

32nd annual Milford Pumpkin Festival

Official Milford Pumpkin Festival hours are Friday, Oct. 8, 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit milfordpumpkinfestival.org.

Friday, Oct. 8
Live music performances: 5 to 9 p.m. on the Oval and Community House Lawn stages
Opening ceremonies and Town Hall pumpkin lighting: 6:30 p.m.
Haunted Trail: 6 to 9 p.m. at Emerson Park (6 Mont Vernon St.); tickets are $5 for adults and $1 for children under 10

Saturday, Oct. 9
Milford history walking tour: 8 or 9:30 a.m.; begins at the Carey House (6 Union St.) and goes around the Oval and nearby sites
Live music performances: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the Oval and Community House Lawn stages
Scarecrow making, pumpkin painting and face painting: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the Community House Lawn ($15 per scarecrow, $5 per pumpkin painting, $1 per face painting cheek and $5 for full face painting)
Pumpkin catapult: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the lower parking lot of TD Bank (57 South St.); the cost is $3 for one pumpkin shot and $5 for two shots
Eye-Spy scavenger hunt: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Carey House (6 Union St.)
Pumpkin carving: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Oval
Great Pumpkin Weigh-In contest: Noon on the Oval
Flying Gravity Circus performance: 3 to 6 p.m. along Union Square, near the intersection of Union and Elm streets
Haunted Trail: 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Emerson Park (6 Mont Vernon St.); tickets are $5 for adults and $1 for children under 10

Sunday, Oct. 10
Milford history walking tour: 8 or 9:30 a.m.; begins at the Carey House (6 Union St.) and goes around the Oval and nearby sites
Pumpkin catapult: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the lower parking lot of TD Bank (57 South St.); the cost is $3 for one pumpkin shot and $5 for two shots
Scarecrow making, pumpkin painting and face painting: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the Community House Lawn ($15 per scarecrow, $5 per pumpkin painting, $1 per face painting cheek and $5 for full face painting)
Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley’s competitive dance team performance: 10 a.m. on the Community House Lawn stage
Live music performances: 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Oval and Community House Lawn stages
Rubber duck race: 1 p.m. on the Souhegan River; ducks can be purchased at the Milford Ambulance Association’s booth on Middle Street, starting Friday at 5 p.m. and ending on Sunday at noon ($5 per duck, or $20 for five ducks)

Boatload of fun

Enormous pumpkins the star of Goffstown’s annual event

by Angie Sykeny

Goffstown Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off and Regatta

Where: Downtown Goffstown and the Piscataquog River
When: Saturday, Oct. 16, and Sunday, Oct. 17
Cost: Free admission
More info: goffstownmainstreet.org/pumpkin-regatta

There are a lot of creative uses for pumpkins, but it’s hard to top Goffstown’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off and Regatta.

The two-day fall festival will return on Saturday, Oct. 16, and Sunday, Oct. 17, with all kinds of pumpkin-related fun in the downtown area and, of course, the regatta, where teams from local community groups, schools and businesses will race down the Piscataquog River in boats made from giant pumpkins.

Images from previous Goffstown Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off & Regattas. Courtesy photos.

It all started in 2000 when Jim Beauchemin, a member of the New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association, was thinking about what to do with his giant pumpkins once the pumpkin weigh-offs were over. His idea was to use the pumpkins as boats and create a community event centered around a pumpkin boat race on the river. It was a hit, with around 500 people attending the inaugural regatta.

“It’s a tradition and a really special thing … not just for Goffstown but for New Hampshire and even for New England, especially now, being able to come together again when we haven’t been able to for so long,” said Tracey Hutton, executive director of Goffstown Main Street Program, which hosts the event.

Members of the New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association will present their pumpkins at the weigh-off on Saturday and compete to be the grower with the heaviest pumpkin. Then, all of the pumpkins that are structurally sound enough to be used as boats — Hutton said she’s expecting around six this year — will be handed over to the regatta teams to be converted.

For a pumpkin to function as a boat, it must be carved out, then filled with sandbags to ensure that it’s balanced and won’t roll over when it’s in the water. Once that’s done, the teams will get to work painting and decorating their boats based on this year’s chosen theme, “Back to the Future.”

“We thought that was an appropriate theme after having to skip last year’s event because of the pandemic,” Hutton said. “It’s like, we’re ‘back to the future’ of the regatta; the regatta is back.”

The regatta itself will take place on Sunday. Each team designates a captain, who is usually in costume fitting the theme, to race their pumpkin boat. Spectators gather along the perimeter as the captains use kayak paddles to float down the river, about 100 yards, to the Goffstown bridge. The team with the first boat to make it under the bridge wins the race and receives a trophy. The team with the best pumpkin boat design will also be awarded, with a travelling trophy to keep until next year’s regatta.

Another highlight of the event, Hutton said, is the pumpkin drop on Sunday.

“We take one of the giant pumpkins and drop it from a crane,” she said. “It’s always exciting to see that big pumpkin go ‘kersplat’ and explode.”

New this year, the event will also feature a fireworks show on Saturday night.

“We’re really excited to be doing something that we’ve never done before,” Hutton said. “I think people will really enjoy that extra bit of festivity.”

Other festivities happening throughout the weekend will include a mini pumpkin race on the river, pumpkin carving demonstrations, a pie eating contest, a dog costume contest, yoga and fitness classes, a scarecrow contest, a 10k road race, activities for kids, street vendors and food concessions.

“There are so many different things going on,” Hutton said. “It’ll be a great time to get something good to eat, buy a few things and just relax and enjoy each other’s company.”

Schedule of events

Saturday, Oct. 16
• 10K Race check-in (behind the Village Trestle) – 7 a.m.
• Giant pumpkins arrive on the Common – 9 a.m.
• Vendors, demonstrations and activities – starting at 9 a.m.
• Doggie costume contest – 10 a.m.
• Pumpkin Weigh-off on the Common – 10:30 a.m.
• Kids pumpkin dash (Mill Street) – 11 a.m.
• Crowing of the Prince and Princess (on the Common) – noon
• Giant pumpkin boat building begins (Mill Street) – 2:30 p.m.
• Fireworks – dusk

Sunday, Oct. 17
• Giant pumpkin carving demonstration (on the Common) – 10 a.m.
• Giant pumpkin drop (Citizens Bank Field) – noon
• Pie eating contest – 1 p.m.
• 50/50 mini pumpkin race (Piscataquog River) – 2 p.m.
• Arrival of the Pumpkin Princess and Prince (parade on Mill and Main streets) – 2:45 p.m.
• Pumpkin Regatta (Piscataquog River, Mill Street and Village Bridge) – 3 p.m.

Fields of orange

How pumpkin crops have fared this year

by Angie Sykeny

It’s been a challenging year for growing produce, and pumpkins were no exception.

Holly Kimball, a family owner of Beech Hill Farm in Hopkinton, said the farm had “some disappointments” with its pumpkin crop this year, particularly the gourds and mini pumpkins, due to the large amounts of rain and not enough sunny days.

“Gourds will usually grow pretty much anytime, anywhere, but the one thing they really don’t like is a lot of moisture,” she said, “so they didn’t do very well.”

Beech Hill’s pumpkin crop was at a disadvantage from the start. The rain was particularly heavy in early May, which is when the farm normally plants pumpkins, Kimball said. The ground was too soggy for the farmer to take the tractor out, so they had to hold off on planting the pumpkins until the end of the month.

“If you plant too early or too late by even one week, that can affect your crop,” she said.

Harvesting at the right time is also critical. Beech Hill had to pick their pumpkins prematurely this year, which “wasn’t ideal,” Kimball said, but, if they were to allow the pumpkins to grow for a few more weeks in order to reach full maturity, the farm would be risking a frost, which would wipe out the entire crop.

“It’s tricky, but it is what it is,” she said. “When you’re a farm in New Hampshire, you have to take your losses, because every year is different.”

In the past Beech Hill has invited visitors to pick their own pumpkins right from the patch, but this year, with growing the pumpkins being such a challenge, preservation is the priority, Kimball said, and the farm will be able to preserve more pumpkins if they handle the harvesting.

“If someone steps on a vine, you lose [all of the pumpkins] that are on that plant,” she said, “and if we leave them out in the field [for pick-your-own] there’s a greater chance of them getting frosted, or of animals getting to them, and we just can’t risk losing all those pumpkins.”

There was one upside to this year’s growing conditions. Unlike gourds, the regular orange pumpkins love water; the more rain they get, the bigger and plumper they grow. Kimball said she estimates this year’s pumpkins to be between 20 and 30 pounds, making them the heaviest pumpkins the farm has grown since she’s been there.

“They’re beautiful,” she said. “They’ve got thick, strong stems and nice ridges all the way around, and you can put your arms all the way around them; they’re a perfect armful.”

When you go to pick out your pumpkins, consider what you want to do with them.

As you can gather from their name, sugar pumpkins — the smaller orange ones that you can hold on one hand — have higher sugar content than other kinds of pumpkins.

“Those are the ones that you want to get for eating,” Kimball said. “You can roast them or cook with them or make a pie.”

If it’s the pumpkin seeds you’re after, go for the bigger orange pumpkins.

For decor, the best pumpkins are simply a matter of personal preference, Kimball said. Though the big orange pumpkins are the most popular choice for carving and using as jack-o’-lanterns, other kinds of pumpkins are just as suitable.

“People choose all sizes and shapes and for carving,” Kimball said. “Some people like tall, thin ones, some people like warty ones, and then, there’s the colored pumpkins, too, which are really trendy.”

Pick your own pumpkin

Head to the pumpkin patches at these farms to find your perfect pumpkin. Picking hours and pumpkin availability are subject to change, so call or check the farm’s social media for updates before you go.

Applecrest Farm Orchard (133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls, 926-3721, applecrest.com) has PYO pumpkins, including field pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns for 75 cents per pound, sugar pumpkins for 95 cents per pound, and specialty heirloom gourds and pumpkins for $1.25 per pound. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather-dependent.

Butternut Farm (195 Meaderboro Road, Farmington, 335-4705, butternutfarm.net) has PYO pumpkins for 60 cents per pound, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Mondays. An “All You Can Haul” pumpkin carrying challenge is tentatively planned for the weekend of either Oct. 16 or Oct. 23, TBD. The cost for the challenge will be $25 per person.

Charmingfare Farm (774 High St., Candia, 483-5623, visitthefarm.com) has PYO pumpkins for 50 cents per pound, starting at $6, during its Pumpkin Festival, which runs from Saturday, Oct. 9, through Monday, Oct. 11. Admission costs $22, free for children age 23 months and under.

DeMeritt Hill Farm (20 Orchard Way, Lee, 868-2111, demeritthillfarm.com) has PYO pumpkins, open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call for pricing.

J&F Farms (124 Chester Road, Derry, 437-0535, jandffarmsnh.com)has PYO pumpkins until Oct. 31, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call for pricing.

Lavoie’s Farm (172 Nartoff Road, Hollis, 882-0072, lavoiesfarm.com) has PYO pumpkins through October, open daily from 8 a.m. wto 7 p.m. Call for pricing.

Mack’s Apples (230 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, 434-7619, macksapples.com) has PYO pumpkins through the end of October, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call for pricing.

Moulton Farm (18 Quarry Road, Meredith, 279-3915, moultonfarm.com) has PYO pumpkins through October, open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call for pricing.

Scamman Farm (69 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham, 686-1258, scammanfarm.com) has PYO pumpkins for 60 cents per pound, fancies for $1 per pound, Jack B Littles for $1 each, and gourds for $1.50 per pound under 20 pounds or $1 per pound over 20 pounds, through Oct. 31, open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m., closed Tuesday, and open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunnycrest Farm (59 High Range Road, Londonderry, 432-7753, sunnycrestfarmnh.com) has PYO pumpkins through Oct. 31, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather-dependent. Call for pricing.

Trombly Gardens (150 N. River Road, Milford, 673-0647, tromblygardens.com) has PYO pumpkins as well as specialty pumpkins, gourds and mini pumpkins, open Sunday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Celebrating Pumpkins

• Charmingfare Farm (774 High St. in Candia; visitthefarm.com) holds the last weekend of its Pumpkin Festival this Columbus Day weekend on Saturday, Oct 9, through Monday, Oct. 11. Tickets cost $22 per person (for everyone ages 24 months old and older). Take a tractor train ride to the pumpkin patch to pick your own or get one at the farm stand. The event also includes horse-drawn wagon rides, live music (Lynda Nelson and Dan Morgan, described as having “notes from country, folk and bluegrass”), a cow milking contest, a take-home pumpkin art project (for $8 when purchased online), costumed characters, pony rides (also $8 when purchased online) and visits with the barnyard animals. Purchase tickets online for the specific day and time.
• Applecrest Farm Orchards (133 Exeter Road in Hampton Falls; 926-3721, applecrest.com) will hold another Great Pumpkin Carve Sunday, Oct. 10, when a master carver will work with an 800-pound pumpkin. The day is part of live music (on Sunday, hear Unsung Heroes), pumpkin picking and more.
• The Somersworth Festival Association’s Pumpkin Festival will take place Saturday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Somersworth Plaza on Main Street. A $10 bracelet gives kids access to multiple activities including pumpkin decorating and other pumpkin crafts, scarecrow making, hayrides, photos and more, according to a press release, which said the day will also feature a bouncy house and games. Kids in costume get a $1 discount. The event will also feature live entertainment, a food court and raffles.

Pumpkin cookies

This recipe for pumpkin cookies came from Michelle Moulin, who used to own Michelle’s Bakery in Manchester, and first ran in the Hippo years ago. Somewhere between a little pumpkin cake, a cookie and a mini-scone, this pumpkin treat gets much of its sweetness from its icing. Halved, the recipe makes a little more than three-dozen, teaspoon-sized cookies.

1 pound of butter (4 sticks), softened

2 cups of brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups pumpkin

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cloves

For icing:

1½ cups confectioner’s sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream softened butter and sugar.

Add eggs and pumpkin and mix until blended.

Stir together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and add slowly, with mixer set on low, until blended.

Scoop teaspoon-sized dough scoops and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until firm. Cool.

Mix together icing ingredients (confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon and water) until smooth.

Spoon onto cookies and let sit for glaze to harden.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

The NH Mixtape

27 PERFORMERS AND BANDS TALK ABOUT THE LOCAL SCENE, FELLOW MUSICIANS AND THE UPCOMING NEW ENGLAND MUSIC AWARDS

When the annual New England Music Awards ceremony takes place on Sunday, Oct. 17, New Hampshire will be well-represented, with a slate of dozens of nominees. The Hippo reached out to many of them, and 27 responded, sharing their thoughts on their nominations and what it’s like to be part of the local music scene.

New Hampshire’s Soundtrack

Michael Witthaus built a Spotify playlist highlighting the artists here. Find it by searching for him or “New England Music Awards 2021 — Representing New Hampshire” on Spotify. As Dead Harrison put it when asked about favorites among this year’s nominees: “There are so many excellent people here. Carissa Johnson, Liz Bills, Hunter, Jennifer Tefft, Major Moment, Mindset X, SixteenX20, Sepsiss, Walter Sickert … all of them are great…. Even still, there are so many nominees that I haven’t even discovered yet. You all need to go get some wholesome music into your earholes.”

Amanda McCarthy

Female Performer of the Year

On being nominated: Grateful … but also a little surprised, since I now reside primarily in Nashville. However, I do strive to remain active in New England and perform regularly when I visit home, so I was really happy to see that be recognized. The first time I was nominated, in 2019, I’d had zero expectations and I was truly shocked.

On NEMA’s importance: Awards are a funny thing in music. I don’t think they are or should be the end-all-be-all of what any musician does. That being said, it always feels good to be recognized and these nominations/wins definitely make a resume look better, which helps with bookings and getting bigger opportunities.

On her category: I haven’t really released new music since the last awards cycle, but I have continued to perform music for a living despite the Covid challenges, so I think it was actually the perfect category this time around.

On being a New England musician: It’s very easy to travel to different areas and make the rounds… There’s opportunity [to play] original music, but also work the covers scene for money. While I do feel Nashville is the place for me to be at this time as a songwriter, I fully credit New England for allowing the chances to develop my career … and I always look forward to coming back.

Upcoming shows: In New England on Saturday, Oct. 16, and Monday, Oct. 18, locations TBA

Bitter Pill

Live Act of the Year, Best in State

On being nominated: [The band, led by father-daughter duo Billy and Emily Butler, answered together via email] Billy said, H, look at that,’ sipped his coffee and pulled on a spliff, while Emily said, “Weeeeee!”

On NEMA’s importance: Awards are not important to us but we do love the community aspect of it. Celebrating original music from our region is something we feel is very important.

On their category: We were nominated for Best Live Act and Best of New Hampshire. That’s pretty cool. We love playing live and our audiences eat up our silliness, fun and love.

On being New England musicians: New England audiences love live original music. Also there is something in the air here in the North Country, especially the original music. Maybe it’s the four seasons or the deeply rooted working-class journeyman history. It’s one of the reasons we call ourselves Bitter Pill. It is hard living in the winter but when spring comes, that pill isn’t so hard to swallow.

Upcoming shows: Claremont Opera House, Saturday, Oct. 23

Charlie Chronopoulos

Album of the Year – Chesty Rollins’ Dead End

On being nominated: I’m honored. There are a lot of really awesome people making albums around here, so to be included in that conversation is a wonderful thing.

On NEMA’s importance:I’ve followed the awards over the years often voting for friends. I’ve found some really great music after looking into some of the other nominees I didn’t know. It’s a really great thing they’re doing in the community even just helping artists find one another.

On his category: Album of the year is my favorite category. It’s what I’m most interested in, so I’m glad to be there.

On being a New England musician: It has many upsides. You can afford studio space if you’re willing to look around off the beaten path. You can make friends for life in sleepy towns who don’t move away like friends in the city tend to. You can find a swimming hole on the way to a gig. Stuff like that makes it worth leaning into this community for sure.

Upcoming shows: Currier Museum of Art, Thursday, Oct. 28

“He’s the real deal. Definitely lived and done the thing and his writing really reflects that.”

Charlie Chronopoulos on Tyler Allgood

Dakota Smart

New Act of the Year and Best in State

On being nominated: When I found out, I felt humbled and in disbelief. I realize there’s a lot of talented artists in New England, and it’s an honor to be on a list with them. My first response was to thank the New England Music Awards, and to congratulate fellow musicians and producers who were also nominated. Then I encouraged my family, friends and fans to vote.

On NEMA’s importance: They are a huge deal to me. I live and breathe to write music and perform. I’ve been writing songs since I was 10 years old. My life’s passion is to produce music that has a positive impact and is enjoyed by people of all ages … to win would really help to spotlight my work, and provide an outlet for my music to be heard.

On his category: The two categories fit my level of work to date. Although I’ve been performing for years, this year I launched. My newest 12-song professional album is the best I’ve ever written, and I’m the most confident on stage I’ve ever been. … I feel this is the year that my career really has a chance to take off.

On being a New England musician: The music scene in New England is very supportive. It’s a small community that’s very inclusive of artists from various backgrounds and styles. Also, the venues are very open to live music, and that keeps us working.

“I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with him in the past. He’s extremely talented, has a unique style, and is a pleasure to work with.”

Dakota Smart on Senie Hunt

David Corson

Best in State

On being nominated: My first response was actually shock. … I was scrolling through the nominees trying to see which bands I knew personally had been nominated and randomly saw my name. I was ecstatic, because I have been working really hard at this for a long time.

On NEMA’s importance: The awards are extremely important to every musician in this area because it gives us validation that all of our grinding has amounted to something. It also helps us get more gigs, because it looks great on our resume.

On his category: I have been playing music in New Hampshire and the surrounding area since I was 18, so being nominated for best in the state feels so good; almost 10 years of work is finally paying off.

On being a New England musician: I would say the best thing about being a New England musician is the community that I’m surrounded by. The musicians and the audiences create an atmosphere of acceptance and appreciation of all types of music.

Upcoming shows: Cara Irish Pub in Dover on Friday, Oct. 1; Dwyer’s Pub in Portsmouth on Wednesdays in October; Tailgate Tavern in Stratham on Friday, Oct. 8; Shane’s Backyard in Hampton on Friday, Oct. 15; Sawbelly Brewing in Exeter on Saturday, Oct. 16

Dead Harrison

Best in State

On being nominated: Our first nomination in 2019 … struck us with great hope. Even if we weren’t going to win, it gave us something to strive for. Now we’re on our third year [and] all the love and support from our community is so empowering and makes us push even harder to just do what we love to do, to make more and better music than the year before.

On NEMA’s importance: It sheds light on all those musicians around the New England area. There is so much talent that the majority of the public doesn’t see. It puts a little perspective to how hard people work [at] being a musician. It gives a musician hope. It helps us to never give up, and be better than you were at the gig before.

On their category: I don’t think we have ever felt that we were the best act in New Hampshire, but it is such a high honor to hold close to the heart. The past year and a half has been tough on us all. We all work so hard, and there are so many great bands out there keeping the fires lit. I feel it helps keep people inspired.

On being a New England musician: New England musicians have a strong work ethic and don’t give up easily. Not only that, but the community of other musicians has always been a supportive one. Always be encouraging. Always be truthful and don’t let pride be your downfall. We strive to be helpful, not hurtful. We push each other to be the best we can be, and then push a little further.

Upcoming shows: Octoberfest at Lithermans Limited, Concord, Saturday, Oct. 16, and Sinfest at Jewel, Manchester, Saturday, Nov. 13

DJ Midas

Digital Performer

On being nominated: I got a message from a friend/fan from Nashua who wrote, ‘I voted for you.’ I had no idea if it was a weird joke, a compliment or insult. I asked him what he meant and he sent me the link. I wasn’t familiar with the New England Music Awards, so I was initially skeptical as to what it was.

On NEMA’s importance: As a fairly off the beaten path type of artist, it is really heartwarming to know there are people out there that appreciate and recognize my efforts.

On his category: After spending so many years on vinyl and transitioning into the digital word only in the last decade, it feels pretty damn good.

On being a New England musician: I love [the] sparky New England attitude. I love that there is still breathing room in our area to be yourself.

Upcoming shows: Late Night Delight with Midas on 95.3 WMNH every Saturday and Sunday at midnight; Vice 80’s party at 603 Bar and Lounge in Dover on Saturday, Oct. 16

“I love Roots Of Creation; they end the rules, and sound so juicy.”

DJ Midas on Roots of Creation

Fil Pacino

Male Performer of the Year

On being nominated: Surprised. I’m not normally considered for such things and I found out from a friend a few days after nominees were announced.

On NEMA’s importance: The majority of what I do operates in the covers/GB scene. I do write, record and perform a lot of my own music, which can be found on all the streaming media and my website, but I’ve done OK with having not received any accolades in the past.

On his category: Well, I am a male and I perform pretty much every day of the year, so I think they nailed it.

On being a New England musician: There’s a lot of opportunity. I love that it’s a genre melting pot, and who doesn’t love getting to play music in all four seasons?

Upcoming shows: filpacino.com

Hunter

Best in State

On being nominated: I’m surprised and grateful.

On NEMA’s importance: I’m always going to be doing music and giving it my all, but it’s a really cool thing to have recognition for that work and energy spent.

On their category: There are so many good bands in every category and I’m blessed to know most of them. I love being nominated for best in state because I’ve worked really hard to represent New Hampshire with the band. I hope to be in performer of the year or female performer of the year because I do primarily think of myself as a performer and entertainer more than a musician.

On being a New England musician: I love the community of it in most areas — the support shared between the musicians and bands, sharing each other’s stuff, helping each other get gigs, and how we stay in touch and play shows together.

Upcoming shows: Portsmouth Feed Co., Portsmouth, Saturday, Oct. 9

Justin Cohn

Best in State

On being nominated: I was surprised. I’ve checked the nominations the last few years the day they’ve come out … this year I didn’t, assuming I wouldn’t get a nomination. A friend reached out to me and congratulated me; that’s how I found out. It’s an honor.

On NEMA’s importance: To be included as a nominee with a bunch of incredibly talented New England musicians for whom I have so much respect is very affirming. I play a lot of cover gigs to pay the bills, and while I’m so grateful to the venues that book me, it means a lot to be recognized as a musician in this vibrant creative community.

On his category: It is a meaningful category for me. I was born and raised here, and my roots will always be here. No matter where this career takes me, it would be an honor to win that award. Just to be nominated is an honor.

On being a New England musician: We have a lot of quality, original artists up here, and I love being in that community. That’s not to say other parts of the country don’t, but in my traveling and my conversations with friends, I think we have something special up here. Maybe it’s the four distinct seasons, maybe it’s the history. Whatever it is, I enjoy being a small part of it.

Upcoming shows: Hippy Hollow House Show in Greenville on Saturday, Oct. 2; Milford Pumpkin Festival in Milford on Saturday, Oct. 9; Square Root in Boston (opening for Cat Attic) on Friday, Oct. 15

Katie Dobbins

Best in State

On being nominated: I feel especially stoked … because it has been such a crazy time for musicians; you can start to feel nervous about losing momentum. So it’s nice to see that people are still excited about what I’m doing.

On NEMA’s importance: My success depends on me; that has really helped me deal with the inevitable rejection we all face in this industry. But of course being nominated helps build my musical resume, and I think it helps people take me more seriously. It does boost my confidence as well, which helps me feel like I’m on the right track.

On her category: It feels really great because New Hampshire is where I was born and raised, where I have continued to have an ongoing presence throughout my music career … it’s validation that I’m in the right place and that people are cheering me on. It’s also interesting because there are a lot of amazing New Hampshire artists that I look up to who didn’t make the list.

On being a New England musician: I have found the music community here to be so supportive. I’ve made a lot of very close friends in the industry, and in my experience everyone really wants to help each other out. We celebrate one another’s successes, we help one another get new opportunities. I don’t know that it’s like that everywhere; I’m grateful. … Nashville definitely has a piece of my heart, but there’s nothing like coming back home to New England.

Upcoming shows: Community Fest at The Belknap Mill, Gilford, Saturday, Oct. 16

Liz Bills

Female and Digital Performer, Pop Act, Song and Video of the Year – “WiHi”

On being nominated: I was honestly shocked to be nominated for so many awards.

On NEMA’s importance: The nominations and awards look great on the resume, and it helps with networking and connections.

On her category: I’m grateful to be nominated in five categories. It means the world to me to be nominated for female performer of the year because I feel that performing is one of my strongest abilities. It’s so funny, in a good way, to be nominated for pop act of the year because I won roots act of the year and rock act of the year in the past. It just goes to show you how difficult it is to categorize my genre, and I love that.

On being a New England musician: I love how close we are to neighboring states, making tours pretty sweet and easy. I am a New England girl born and raised, so it feels good to have roots here in music.

Upcoming shows: Pasta Loft in Milford (with April Cushman), Saturday, Nov. 13

“I have so many favorites who are also dear friends of mine. Wyn Doran’s emotionally haunting vocals bring me to tears. I also really love Coral Moons as people and songwriters… Erin Harpe is a freakin’ goddess guitar wizard master, Dwight and Nicole blow my mind, Veronica Lewis is a slayer of the keys, Prateek is an awesome songwriter and storyteller, Josh Knowles stopping hearts with his entrancing violin melodies and emotional vocals.”

Liz Bills on … lots of people

Maddi Ryan

Country Act of the Year

On being nominated: I was extremely humbled by the fact that even though we had one of the toughest years yet, I was still able to make an impact enough to be nominated. Excited, I was also excited!

On NEMA’s importance: I don’t really count my successes in awards or nominations, I just do what I love, but I think the nomination is more of a reminder that I’m on the right path.

On her category: I feel grateful to have been nominated among the talented performers within the country sphere of New England.

On being a New England musician: I love the community that music has in New England; everyone is so friendly and genuine. Also, the fans are some of the best around. If you’ve ever come to a show, the energy is always unreal!

Upcoming shows: The Goat in Manchester on Friday, Oct. 8; Bonfire Country Bar in Manchester on Friday, Oct. 29

Mindset X

Hard Rock/Metal Act of the Year

On being nominated: It felt good to be recognized again. Always nice that people pay attention to what Mindset X is up to and we do truly appreciate that.

On NEMA’s importance: I have never played music to win awards [but] because I have something to say and I adore the beauty that music is. That said, we’ve been doing this a long time [so] it does feel good to be recognized for creating music that reaches people. That is important to us, certainly.

On their category: I think it made perfect sense. We’re a band that likes to explore different styles so who knows? Maybe next it’ll be country. Or country prog metal. Is that a thing? If not it should be.

On being a New England musician: The best thing is probably the musical diversity. For such a relatively small area, we are gifted with so many great musicians and styles of music.

Upcoming shows: See mindsetx.com.

Prospect Hill

Hard Rock/Metal Act of the Year

On being nominated: Singer Adam Fithian said, “I was actually surprised since … we hadn’t been nominated in a few years. All I could say to myself was, ‘Well that’s pretty cool.’”

On NEMA’s importance: We worked hard for years solidifying our New England scene before we started touring around the country. What that did was allow us to come home after being on tour for a two-month run and have an amazing home show. To be nominated, at least for me, is a pat on the back for a lot of effort put forward in building our brand.

On their category: To be nominated in the hard rock/metal category is fitting for our style. We are a balance of both of these genres.

On being a New England musician: There is a very special group of musicians here, different than what I have seen around the country — the bonds that we create, the unique talents that we share together. I feel like I’m one lucky SOB to be a part of such an amazing family.

Upcoming shows: Prospect Hill’s 12th annual Halloween Bash, Wally’s Pub, Hampton Beach, Friday, Oct. 29

Roots of Creation

Live, Roots and World Act

On being nominated: It came as a huge surprise and honor to be nominated alongside a lot of our friends in three categories. We pushed really hard during the pandemic to challenge ourselves with livestreams, grow our connection with our fans. I like that we turned a crap sandwich and almost bankruptcy into a positive movement full of personal and musical growth.

On NEMA’s importance:I discover new artists from the nomination process and live performances at the award show, and our fans get stoked when we are nominated for awards. Winning previous awards has opened many doors for us, on both local and national levels.

On their categories: Winning live act of the year would be most exciting and validating, as it truly is where Roots of Creation shines.

On being a New England musician: It’s a really cool tight-knit scene that transcends genre. There’s a lot of collaboration behind the scenes, on stage, in the studio and at pickup gigs… I like being a big fish in a small pond, and no matter the beauty I encounter on the road, New Hampshire always makes me feel grounded and at home.

Senie Hunt

Male Performer of the Year

On being nominated: I found out through a friend of mine who asked me if I had realized that I was on the list of nominees. I didn’t even think to look for my name as I had just moved to Nashville a few months prior. I was honored and delighted to see my name among some of the amazing musicians that had also been nominated.

On NEMA’s importance: I had been following it even before I took the leap of faith to become a full-time musician. To me it was a reminder of how much music really impacts people and how much appreciation we all have toward the performers who put their hearts and soul into the music. I’m honored to just be nominated.

On his category: I’ve never been one for categorizing, especially when it comes to music. It’s such a widely varying art form that it can be overwhelming to place yourself in any category. To be nominated, however, as male performer of the year with all the talented people on and off the list is inspiring. It’s also a reminder that putting yourself out there and sharing your vulnerability through music can be well worth it.

On being a New England musician: Even after my recent move to Nashville, I always appreciate the love, support and family that comes from being part of the New England music scene. I also can’t say enough how incredibly dedicated, talented, resilient and hardworking all the musicians and venues I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with are in New England.

Upcoming shows: New England tour in November, see seniehunt.com

“The ones that stand out the most are Dakota Smart, who I first heard at an open mic…; Amanda McCarthy is not only an incredible songwriter and singer but also a kind and inspirational person. I like Justin Cohn [and] I was pleased to see my longtime friend and fellow musician Wesley Thurber … watching him and his music grow from when we first had classes together in college to his first single release this past year is an inspiration.”

Senie Hunt on Dakota Smart, Amanda McCarthy, Justin Cohn and Wesley Thurber

Sepsiss

Hard Rock/Metal Act of the Year

On being nominated: Singer Melissa Wolfe: After the challenges of a year quarantined with our shows, for NEMA to nominate us this year was a massive surprise. We are a community band, and our neighbors nominating us means the world to us all.

On NEMA’s importance: Wolfe: Sepsiss isn’t a weekend getaway; we don’t have side jobs or take breaks. Our project is a lifetime commitment, as leaders, creating awareness of the experience and authentic universal love for music, art and healing. It is important that New England celebrates all its talented neighbors.

On their category: Guitarist William Savant: Heavy metal is still traditionally a style where the people and players have to grow an appetite for practice, depth of intellect and discipline. It’s smart, challenging and, additionally, physical and interactive.

On being a New England musician: Savant: The seasons help remind us to grow and reflect, expanding with life and change. It reminds us of a well-balanced world where variety and colors shape our bold planet … and this is where Sepsiss creates. One foot in the unknown and the other right here at home, the birthplace of creativity.

Upcoming shows: Jewel, Manchester, Saturday, Nov. 6

“We all voted for Dead Harrison … because they understand the stamina game, the quality of building healthy relationships in the community, and are competitive while remaining generous [and] making music, in our opinion, for realistic reasons.”

Sepsiss on Dead Harrison

Slack Tide

Live Act of the Year

On being nominated: Guitarist and singer Chris Cyrus: The keyboardist Michael sent the band a group chat. It was surreal seeing us on the same list as some of our favorite bands. Needless to say, I celebrated pretty well.

On NEMA’s importance: As a musician, you really need to be your own biggest fan. Some days you aren’t going to get any support but you push on because you believe in your art. Having some formal recognition goes a long way toward maintaining that perseverance.

On their category: Jam bands don’t do studios well; even Deadheads often don’t like the Grateful Dead’s albums. It’s all about the live show for us. Being placed in best live act is hands down the most appropriate category for the type of music that we create.

On being a New England musician: Once you reach a level where only the ones who’ve worked their asses off remain, it really does become a family. The venues, bookers, bands and fans are all one big happy clump, and I never plan on leaving that funky clump.

Upcoming shows: Waterville Valley Resort in Waterville Valley on Saturday, Oct. 9; Woodstock Inn & Brewery in Woodstock on Friday, Nov. 12; Pipe Dream Brewing in Londonderry on Saturday, Nov. 20

Soggy Po’ Boys

Roots Act of the Year

On being nominated: It’s a big honor to be nominated for these awards and to broadly be seen as representatives in some way for New England roots music.

On NEMA’s importance: It is always nice to be appreciated for your craft and while we do not think of our music in terms of awards or accolades and more in terms of our message and audience engagement it still is nice to be acknowledged!

On their category: I think it was appropriate for us to have been nominated in the Roots category as that is the category most representative of our music. It is also somewhat challenging to find a genre home for us so Roots seems like a nice catch-all.

On being a New England musician: The area is brimming with talent so to be nominated here and see our peer list and to be appreciated within the community is a huge honor.

Upcoming shows: soggypoboys.com

Supernothing

Live Act of the Year

On being nominated: Humbled. Supernothing has been a project where we didn’t know where it was going to go. Surely not being mentioned among one of the best acts in New England. This is our second year in a row being nominated, just a different category.

On NEMA’s importance: It’s an accolade, something we can say we are proud of, but as musicians we are not in competition with anyone. It’s all about supporting each other and the NEMAs do just that, win or lose.

On their category: We love being considered among some of the best live bands that headline festivals…. Twiddle, Goose and our great buddies from Boston, The Elovaters, all slay it. We know we are good and tight live, but man, best in New England is an honor… to be noticed for the hard work we are doing live is amazing.

On being a New England musician: We have a small tight group of bands that all support each other’s craft. It’s amazing.

Upcoming shows: supernothing603.com

“The Elovaters are amazing friends and brothers in music and are killing it in our scene.”

Supernothing on The Elovaters

Town Meeting

Americana Act and Album of the Year – Make Things Better

On being nominated: It’s always an honor to be recognized and to know your work is being appreciated somewhere. We work really hard and care deeply about our music. It feels good to know it’s not just getting lost in the ether.

On NEMA’s importance: On the one hand, I always feel uneasy about anything that turns art, which is entirely subjective, into a competition. It’s weird and on some level it’s always bothered me … on the other hand, I also see the importance of things like NEMA because they shine a light on a lot of local music that otherwise might not be seen. It’s a bittersweet thing.

On their category: It feels great to have our album recognized. We worked really hard on it. Dan Cardinal, who mixed and produced it, also deserves a ton of credit. We also love to see our name alongside everyone in the Americana category. Honestly, we’re humbled by it. There’s so much talent there and it feels weird to know a band of goofballs like us are considered peers.

On being a New England musician: New England has the best local music, the best venues, the best musicians, the best scene, the best vibe and community for live music, period. There’s not even a close second.

Upcoming shows:townmeetingmusic.com

Truffle

Best in State

On being nominated: Surprised … not sure if we have been nominated before, didn’t even know until we received a letter. Obviously, we are honored and happy to be a part of it.

On their category: Best in New Hampshire of course makes sense as that’s our home state. We play a lot in Maine and Massachusetts as well, a bit in Vermont, but not as much these days in Connecticut or Rhode Island.

On being a New England musician: It’s an honor; there are so many great talented players, it’s a very vibrant scene. We celebrated our 35th anniversary, and although we did a lot of touring the first 15 years, we always called New England home. It always felt good to tell folks where the band was from.

Upcoming shows: Shooters Beer Garden in Exeter on Friday, Oct. 1; Fury’s Publick House in Dover on Friday, Oct. 15; The Tavern in Exeter (Halloween show) on Saturday, Oct. 30

Tyler Allgood

Album of the Year – Through the Empty

On being nominated: I was confused when I first heard. I thought someone might have been pulling a joke on me. Then, I cried.

On NEMA’s importance: The awards and every local resource, promotion, fan, advertisement [area] extremely important in this work.

On his category: I was ecstatic to be nominated for album of the year. I’ve always wanted to compose albums around my writing. Never expected this, though.

On being a New England musician: It’s wholesome to be a New England musician. There’s a real community and passion around here, and so much love between working musicians.

Upcoming shows: Granite Roots Brewing in Troy on Friday, Oct. 1; Penuche’s Alehouse in Concord on Saturday, Oct. 2; The Alamo in Brookline on Thursday, Oct. 14; Hancock Depot in Hancock on Friday, Oct. 15; Molly’s Tavern in New Boston on Saturday, Oct. 23

Wesley Thurber

Best in State

On being nominated: The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. I received a few text messages congratulating me … and I couldn’t help but say to myself, ‘What is happening and why am I being congratulated?’ [Then] I became humbled, honored and beyond excited.

On NEMA’s importance: Before, they weren’t even a thought in my mind, awards and such. However, after being nominated I’ll be sure to keep a closer eye on these sorts of things. Win or lose, I couldn’t care less. I’m simply happy to even be nominated.

On his category: I take pride in my work, and I’m honored it’s able to be broadcasted on another outlet, especially one like the New England Music Awards.

On being a New England musician: New England has an entire feel and vibe of its own that’s incredibly unique. To be a part of that, especially as a musician, is quite wonderful.

Will Hatch

Album of the Year – Downtown

On being nominated: We were surprised when a friend told us. … We weren’t expecting this, but were grateful to be added to the list.

On NEMA’s importance: Our goal is to have fun and to make good music. Personally, I’m driven to create for my own fulfillment, but having a little recognition always feels good.

On his category: It is a great category to be in. There’s a lot of fantastic, hardworking bands out there so I will leave it up to others to decide what categories we belong in.

On being a New England musician: Given that the scene in New Hampshire is smaller, it promotes a camaraderie amongst the local diehards. It’s nice to connect with other musicians year after year and to get the impression that they’re in it for the long haul.

Upcoming shows: Penuche’s Ale House, Concord, Friday, Oct. 30

Wyn Doran

Best in State, Digital Performer of the Year

On being nominated: Gratitude and confusion. I felt a deep shift in how I approached creativity in quarantine. I went from worrying about how I presented myself externally to focusing on projects that I always secretly wanted to do but didn’t think I could pull off. The nominations provided a mirror that I have accomplished more than I thought … and I am unbelievably grateful.

On NEMA’s importance: It’s the icing on the cake. I don’t create with NEMA in mind, but in a world where I feel the arts are overall under-appreciated, I am so excited for an event that highlights artists and the important work they do.

On her categories: I’m really excited about Digital Performer because I realized my favorite projects to date fall under that category. I always wanted to arrange my songs for a choir of voices, and with my husband, Mike, [we created] a handful of videos over quarantine. To be recognized in a category that highlights those works is extremely fulfilling and inspiring.

On being a New England musician: I grew up in Illinois, where you could drive three hours and get nowhere. Every state in New England is gorgeous. … It’s a beautiful thing to have access to perform in so many great communities across a number of states within reasonable driving distance.

Upcoming shows: Stone Church, Newmarket, Wednesday, Nov. 3

Featured photo: Liz Bills. Photo by Isa Rosa Photography.

Prost!

Celebrate Oktoberfest with German eats and brews

On Saturday, clad in lederhosen, To Share Brewing Co. co-owner Aaron Share and his team will be pouring their seasonal German-style beer release and serving bratwurst, sauerkraut and pretzels while oompah music plays in the background — yes, it’s Oktoberfest season.

Since the very first event in early 19th-century Germany, the fall tradition has grown into a worldwide phenomenon celebrating Bavarian culture through its beers and foods. This will be To Share Brewing’s third Oktoberfest, one of many similar celebrations taking place across the Granite State over the next several weeks.

The centerpieces of nearly every Oktoberfest are German-style beers, among some of Share’s favorites to drink this time of year.

“I love beer in general, but I really enjoy a good clean malty lager,” he said. “A lot of the German styles have this nice sweet, bready maltiness to them. … Especially when the weather starts to cool off and it’s a little crisp in the air, it’s just perfect.”

Several local breweries this fall are either taking part in an Oktoberfest celebration or hosting their own, as well as introducing limited beer releases. Some restaurants are also joining in on the fun with their own seasonally inspired menus of German food items, from bratwurst, schnitzel and sauerkraut to Bavarian-style pretzels, specialty dessert stations and more.

So what exactly is defined as an Oktoberfest beer, and where did this tradition come from, anyway? We spoke with local brewers, chefs and restaurateurs to get some answers.

Bratwurst from Bavarian German Restaurant. Courtesy photo.

“March beer”

The most common beer style traditionally associated with Oktoberfests is known as a märzen, a lager that is characterized by its malty flavor and deep golden or amber color.

“Classic German beers are very simple compared to what we brew here in the States today. They would use malt and whatever hop variant they had from the harvest, and that was the basis of it,” said Dennis Molnar, co-owner of Concord Craft Brewing Co. “[A märzen style] is a little maltier in flavor than what we’re probably used to thinking of as an American Pilsner lager, like a Budweiser or something. … It’s hopped a little bit more as well, but because there’s a bit of a maltier backbone, it doesn’t necessarily taste more hopped than any other simple yellow beer.”

Even though the style is synonymous with Oktoberfests, the word “märzenbier” actually means “March beer,” as it was historically brewed in the spring. According to The Oxford Companion to Beer, an encyclopedia edited by Garrett Oliver and published by Oxford University Press, a Bavarian decree issued in the year 1553 by the duke at the time prohibited new beer from being brewed between the dates of April 23 and Sept. 29. This was due in part to the risk of fires, in addition to the threats of wild yeasts and bacteria, during the hot weather. As a result, märzens would be brewed in March and lagered, or stored, until the end of the summer.

Last week Concord Craft Brewing Co. brought back its Oktoberfest release, a märzen-style lager that Molnar said he expects will last through about mid-October. Other local brewers, like Kelsen Brewing Co. of Derry and Great North Aleworks of Manchester, have märzen-style releases of their own — the latter’s, called “Märzen Rover,” goes light on the hops, with a breaded, honey-like flavor from a blend of a few different malts.

But Oktoberfests don’t have to strictly be märzens, either. Derry’s Rockingham Brewing Co. recently debuted “For Better or For Wurst,” a German-style festbier that co-owner Ali Leleszi described as being similar to a märzen but with a slightly lighter color and more hop bitterness. They have it on draft now, and they’ll also be pouring it at an Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, Oct. 2, at Twin Barns Brewing Co. in Meredith, she said.

Henniker Brewing Co. also has a seasonal lager inspired by the modern festbier. Teresa Pominville, director of events and marketing, said the brewery’s “Wurst Bier” adds a little bit of rye to help complement the malts and the spicy herbal notes from the German hops used.

To Share Brewing releases a German-style altbier, or “alt,” during Oktoberfest season, using a recipe dating back to Share’s time as a homebrewer.

“An alt is one of those weird hybrids between a lager and an ale. The main difference between lagers and ales are the yeasts that you use and the temperatures in the fermentation process,” Share said. “So an alt is pretty similar to a märzen in terms of the flavor profile. Just a really easy-drinking, clear amber beer that’s perfect for when the weather gets colder.”

In Dover, Garrison City Beerworks will be introducing two new beers to be released the day of its Oktoberfest celebration on Friday, Sept. 24 — Glean is a lager brewed with Maine-grown grain, while Jet-Setting is a New England IPA dry-hopped exclusively with German hops.

“It’s got the smooth, bright haze of the New England IPA style, with some really interesting melon and farmhouse notes from the … hops,” co-owner Andy Gray said of Jet-Setting.

A glossary of terms

This list contains various terms you may encounter at local Oktoberfest celebrations or on German restaurant menus, including seasonal food options, beer styles and traditions.

Altbier (or Alt): A German-style amber-colored beer that To Share Brewing Co. co-owner Aaron Share described as a hybrid between a lager and an ale, with a balance of malty sweetness and bitterness from its hops. This is the third year the brewery has released an Oktoberfest alt.
Apfelstrudel: Bavarian-style apple strudel. You can find this homemade dessert on the menu at Bavaria German Restaurant in Hooksett, or at the annual Oktoberfest celebration at Mile Away Restaurant in Milford on Sunday, Oct. 3.
Blaukraut: Red cabbage cooked with apple.
Bratkartoffeln: Bavarian-style roasted potatoes.
Bratwurst: German sausage, most commonly made with pork, veal or a combination of the two, according to Monika Berger, co-owner of Bavaria German Restaurant in Hooksett.
Brezn: Bavarian-style pretzels, which are characterized by their crisp, dark exterior and soft interior, according to Matt Brown, owner of The Salted Knot in Rollinsford.
Dunkel: A German-style lager characterized by its dark brown color and malty flavor.
Festbier: A German-style lager similar to a märzen, but with a slightly lighter color and more hop bitterness, according to Ali Leleszi of Rockingham Brewing Co. in Derry.
Hefeweizen: A German-style wheat beer. Daydreaming Brewing Co. of Derry will have “Daydreaming of Martha,” its hefeweizen in collaboration with Martha’s Exchange & Brewery of Nashua, at its Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Hunter’s Stew: A savory brown sauce-based stew with pork, beef, veal and vegetables. Mile Away Restaurant in Milford will be serving hunter’s stew during its Oktoberfest event on Sunday, Oct. 3.
Märzen: A malty German-style amber lager most commonly associated with Oktoberfest celebrations. Several local breweries, including Concord Craft Brewing Co., Kelsen Brewing Co. of Derry and Great North Aleworks of Manchester, have their own märzen-style releases this time of year as an ode to the classic Germanic style.
Masskrugstemmen: A beer stein hoisting competition, typically held at Oktoberfest events.
Rinderroulade: Rolled slices of tender beef, filled with mustard, onions, bacon and pickles.
Sauerbraten: Traditional German pot roast, featuring marinated, roasted beef boiled in a wine-based sauce and topped with gravy. Sauerbraten is available at Bavaria German Restaurant in Hooksett with homemade spätzle and red cabbage. It will also be on the menu during Mile Away Restaurant’s Oktoberfest celebration in Milford on Sunday, Oct. 3.
Sauerkraut: Sour fermented cabbage.
Schnitzel: Literally translating to “cutlet,” schnitzel is a thin slice of meat, usually pork, that has been breaded and fried. Bavaria German Restaurant in Hooksett has multiple schnitzel options available on its menu that also feature the option to substitute pork for veal.
Schweins haxn: Bavarian-roasted pork shank.
Spätzle: Bavarian-style egg noodles.

Bavarian bites

German beers may be the stars of the show, but Oktoberfest season is also a great opportunity to try all kinds of authentic foods. At Mile Away Restaurant in Milford, for instance, a special menu will be served during its 15th annual Oktoberfest event on Sunday, Oct. 3. Dinner plates featuring items like schweineschnitzel (pork schnitzel) and sauerbraten (German pot roast) will be available, in addition to a dessert station with items like apfelstrudel (apple strudel).

Share said the brewery will be offering a shareable snack board all day during its Sept. 25 event, featuring bratwurst with sauerkraut, plus pretzels courtesy of The Hop Knot.

Speaking of pretzels, be on the lookout in the coming weeks for Matt Brown of The Salted Knot, a Rollinsford-based Bavarian-style pretzel company launched earlier this year. Brown has a full schedule of events he’ll be serving his pretzels at, including the Powder Keg Beer Festival in Exeter on Saturday, Oct. 2, and the Great Oktoberfest at Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten in Merrimack on Saturday, Oct. 16. He’ll also appear at Henniker Brewing Co. on Sunday, Oct. 10, during its two weekend-long Fall Fest.

Brown received training from another German-style pretzel maker while staying in Pennsylvania, a state he said is known for its pretzels and German ancestry. Now he works for himself, also selling his pretzels at farmers markets and via a few wholesale accounts.

“My pretzels are a lot darker and they tend to be more crispy than soft pretzels you might get at the mall,” Brown said. “The way I shape them, the middle is the thickest part.”

At Twin Barns Brewing Co.’s Oct. 2 event, food options will be served courtesy of The Silo, an onsite food trailer in collaboration with Osteria Poggio restaurant in Center Harbor. Options will likely include different plays on authentic items like bratwurst or pierogi.

“We’re probably going to be doing some German-style tacos, so basically like a sauerbraten taco with braised beef, and then maybe things like sweet cabbage and apple,” Osteria Poggio chef Kaylon Sweet said. “We’re just trying to find ways to make it more approachable to people.”

Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker will have seasonal specials of its own during its annual Oktoberfest on Sunday, Nov. 7. Led by chef Guy Pelletier, its in-house kitchen team will be preparing items like bratwurst, hot German potato salad and braised red cabbage.

If you want to try German food but can’t wait to attend an Oktoberfest event, Bavaria German Restaurant in Hooksett has authentic options year-round, made fresh daily from family recipes. They also currently have Spaten Brewery’s Oktoberfest — touted as “the world’s first Oktoberfest” beer — and Weihenstephaner’s wheat beer available on tap.

The eatery has been owned and operated by Anton and Monika Berger since March 2010. Anton Berger has more than four decades of experience as a chef, including at a more than 200-seat restaurant and outdoor beer garden in Munich, Germany.

Bavaria’s schnitzel is one of its most popular items, and there are multiple varieties. The jägerschnitzel, for example, features a boneless strip of pork that’s topped with a scratch-made mushroom cream sauce. It’s then served with spätzle, or Bavarian-style egg noodles.

Bratwurst selections, according to Monika Berger, can be ordered with pork, veal, or a combination of the two. They are served with either homemade sauerkraut or a potato salad.

Specials are occasionally featured as well, like schweins haxn (Bavarian-roasted pork shank).

The first Oktoberfest

The origins of Oktoberfest can be traced back to Munich, Germany, during the early 1800s. The first event was not even organized as a beer festival — rather, it was a wedding.

According to the official Oktoberfest website, King Ludwig I of Bavaria married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810. The couple was wed at the site of what would later become known as Theresienwiese, the official Oktoberfest grounds in Munich. Their celebration included a large horse race and was so well-received that the demand for more events immediately grew. Soon it became an annual destination for agricultural entertainment.

A major defining year for the festival was 1841, when Spaten Brewery introduced its amber märzen at the event. By 1872 Spaten was the first brewery to call it an Oktoberfest beer.

Today the Munich Oktoberfest has grown into a massive, multi-week affair, spanning 16 to 18 days from mid-to-late September to early October and attracting more than six million visitors from around the world. Plans are already underway for the event to return in September 2022, after the pandemic forced its cancellation in both 2020 and 2021.

Stein hoisting competitions

Among the traditions of several Oktoberfest celebrations is a stein hoisting competition — or, as it’s known in Germany, masskrugstemmen (pronounced “MAHSS-kroog-stem-men”). Participants are given a stein filled to the top with beer that they must hold by the handle out in front of their bodies for as long as possible. The person who can hold it for the longest amount of time without breaking form or spilling their stein is declared the winner.

According to the U.S. Steinholding Association’s official rules, you must only grip the handle of the stein with one hand. The current national record is 21 minutes and 17 seconds, set in 2018 by Michael Tyler at the Central Park Oktoberfest in New York City.

To Share Brewing Co. in Manchester will hold a stein hoisting competition at 6 p.m. during its annual Oktoberfest on Sept. 25. The winner, co-owner Jenni Share said, will receive a Mug Club membership to the brewery, or beers out of a 22-ounce mug for the price of a pint.

“You hold your stein out at a 90-degree angle, so your body has to be straight and your arm is perpendicular, and you hold it as long as you can,” she said. “You cannot spill any beer.”

Stein hoisting competitions have consistently increased in popularity in recent years as strength endurance contests. The U.S. Steinholding Association, founded in 2015, promotes the sport by providing training tips and resources on where you can go to compete.

Upcoming Oktoberfests and other beer festivals

Upcoming Oktoberfests and other beer festivals

A stein hoisting competition will take place at Garrison City Beerworks in Dover on Sept. 24. Courtesy photo.

Check out this list of Oktoberfest celebrations and fall-themed festivals at local breweries, as well as other upcoming beer festivals happening across the state. Do you know of an Oktoberfest event coming up soon that isn’t on this list? Let us know at food@hippopress.com.

Friday, Sept. 24: Garrison City Beerworks (455 Central Ave., Dover) will hold an Oktoberfest from 4:30 to 10 p.m. featuring two new beer releases and a German-inspired food menu with options like pretzels and house mustard, smoked sausages and sauerkraut and potato pancakes. A stein hoisting competition is also planned. Visit garrisoncitybeerworks.com.

Saturday, Sept. 25:Join To Share Brewing Co. (720 Union St., Manchester) for its third annual Oktoberfest, happening from 1 to 9 p.m. There will be a food special featuring a shareable snack board with meats and cheeses, bratwurst and sauerkraut, and pretzels courtesy of The Hop Knot, plus beer releases and two stein hoisting competitions (at 1 p.m. for Mug Club members and at 6 p.m. for the public). Reservations are requested for parties of four or more. Visit tosharebrewing.com.

Saturday, Sept. 25:Daydreaming Brewing Co. (1½ E. Broadway, Derry) will hold its second Oktoberfest at 1 p.m., with several specialty beers available, including a hefeweizen brewed in collaboration with Martha’s Exchange & Brewery of Nashua. Visit daydreaming.beer.

Saturday, Sept. 25:Northwoods Brewing Co. (1334 First New Hampshire Turnpike, Northwood) is holding its inaugural Fall Fest, featuring a trunk show from 10 am. to 3 p.m. with more than 20 New England-area businesses and live music throughout the day. Also planned are the releases of the brewery’s new Oktoberfest-inspired lager, specialty fall cocktails from its sister establishment, Johnson’s Seafood & Steak, and brewery specials, like bratwurst with homemade slaw, pretzels with beer cheese, and a savory autumn pizza. Visit northwoodsbrewingcompany.com.

Saturday, Sept. 25: The Kingston Brewfest returns for a second year from noon to 4 p.m. at 148 Main St. in Kingston. The event will feature a variety of local beer and food options as well as live music. Tickets are $35 per person for full access to the beer tastings, or $5 for designated drivers. Donations to the Kingston Volunteer Fire Association will also be accepted. Visit kingstonbrew.com or follow the event on Facebook @kingstonbrewfest.

Sunday, Sept. 26: Osteria Poggio (18 Main St., Center Harbor) will host an Oktoberfest from 2 to 6 p.m. featuring various German-style foods and pourings from several local breweries. Visit osteriapoggio.com.

Saturday, Oct. 2: New England’s Tap House Grille (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett) will hold an Oktoberfest patio event from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring a seasonally inspired food menu, a stein hoisting competition and music from The Rebel Collective, with proceeds benefiting CASA of New Hampshire. Visit taphousenh.com.

Saturday, Oct. 2:Join Twin Barns Brewing Co. (194 Daniel Webster Hwy., Meredith) for an Oktoberfest celebration from noon to 10 p.m. There will be live music, seasonal pourings from six guest breweries, and a German-inspired food menu courtesy of The Silo, an onsite food trailer in collaboration with Osteria Poggio in Center Harbor. Commemorative event mugs will also be for sale, with proceeds benefiting the New Hampshire Brewers Association. Visit twinbarnsbrewing.com.

Saturday, Oct. 2:The Powder Keg Beer Festival returns to Swasey Parkway in Exeter. Ticketholders have two sessions to choose from, either from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or from 2 to 4 p.m., when samples of more than 200 different beers, ciders and hard seltzers will be available. In place of the chili, which is normally a staple of the festival, this year food trucks offering all kinds of options will be attending. Tickets are $35 per person or $10 for designated drivers. Visit powderkegbeerfest.com.

Sunday, Oct. 3:Mile Away Restaurant (52 Federal Hill Road, Milford) will be hosting its annual Oktoberfest from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Dinner plates are available for $17 per person, featuring sauerbraten (German pot roast), schweineschnitzel (pork schnitzel), hunter’s stew, or spicy beef and sausage chili with cheddar cheese, along with two sides (German potato salad, sea salt chips and sauerkraut, braised red cabbage, pickled beets or applesauce). There will also be a dessert and pretzel station with additional a la carte items, like pumpkin pie, Black Forest cake, flourless chocolate torte and more. Live music will be featured from the TubaFrau Hofbräu Band, a Waltham, Mass.-based German oompah band. There is a $20 parking fee per car. The event is cash only and first-come, first-served. Visit mileawayrestaurantnh.com.

Sunday, Oct. 3:Stripe Nine Brewing Co. will present a Brew Fest in the Orchard at DeMerritt Hill Farm (20 Orchard Way, Lee) with general admittance from 1 to 4 p.m. and VIP admittance at noon. More than 25 local breweries are expected to attend, and there will also be seasonal food options and live music from Matty & the Penders. Tickets are $45 general admission, $75 VIP admission and $15 for designated drivers. See “Stripe Nine’s 2021 Brew Fest in the Orchard” on Eventbrite to purchase tickets.

Saturday, Oct. 9:Join the Bektash Shriners of New Hampshire (189 Pembroke Road, Concord) for an Oktoberfest from 5 to 9 p.m. featuring bratwurst, potato salad, pretzels and more. Visit bektashshriners.org or call the office at 225-5372 to RSVP.

Saturday, Oct. 9: The New Hampshire Brewfest returns to Cisco Brewers (35 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth), with general admittance from 1 to 5 p.m. and VIP admittance at noon. Admission ranges from $50 to $65 and includes access to tastings from a variety of New England-area craft breweries. Food options from local food trucks will also be available at an additional cost. Visit nhbrewfest.com.

Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 9-10 and Oct. 16-17:Henniker Brewing Co. (129 Centervale Road, Henniker) will hold its annual Fall Fest over two weekends this year, from noon to 7 p.m., on Saturdays, Oct. 9; Sunday, Oct. 10; Saturday, Oct. 16, and Sunday, Oct. 17. In addition to pourings from the brewery’s Wurst Bier seasonal festbier, there will be food options from The Salted Knot and The Russian Dumpling Co., plus stein hoisting competitions and live music. Visit hennikerbrewing.com.

Saturday, Oct. 16:Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten (221 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack) will host the Great Oktoberfest featuring more than two dozen fall and winter brews that will be available to taste, including several authentic German varieties. There are two sessions to choose from, either from noon to 3 p.m. or from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The festival will also feature European-style food from several local food trucks, games, live music and more. Tickets start at $45 general admission and $15 for designated drivers, with proceeds supporting the Merrimack Rotary Club. Visit greatoktoberfest.com.

Sunday, Oct. 31: The Manchester Brewfest returns for the first time since the summer of 2019 to Arms Park (Commercial Street, Manchester) with general admittance from 1 to 4 p.m. and VIP admittance at noon. Tickets are $40 general admission, $50 VIP admission and $15 for designated drivers. Visit manchesterbrewfest.com.

Sunday, Nov. 7:Pats Peak Ski Area (686 Flanders Road, Henniker) will host its annual Oktoberfest celebration in conjunction with its ski and snowboard sale, happening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature live music from The Bavarian Brothers, plus a beer garden with Harpoon Brewery, games, a stein hoisting competition, and authentic German food options prepared by Chef Guy Pelletier and his team. Foods will include bratwurst, hot dogs with a side of hot German potato salad, and braised red cabbage with baked apple. Admission is free and foods are priced per item. Visit patspeak.com.

Saturday, Nov. 20: Join Pipe Dream Brewing (49 Harvey Road, Londonderry) for a Fall Fest from noon to 10 p.m., when there will be a special festbier release, bratwurst and sauerkraut food specials, and live music from the reggae band Slack Tide from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Visit pipedreambrewingnh.com.

Featured photo: Aaron Share of To Share Brewing Co. in Manchester. Courtesy photo.

Farm Fun

Get in the harvest season spirit with some pig racing and corn mazes

It’s a farm’s time to shine.

Here in the thick of the late summer early fall harvest season, farms are getting a chance to show off their hard work — from displaying animals at upcoming fairs to welcoming guests for some agritainment.

Hence that cover pig. Pig-related events feature on the schedule of both the upcoming Granite State Fair and the Deerfield Fair. In addition to the pig barn and some pig racing on the schedule, you can see other animals in the barnyard babies, petting zoo and cattle barn at the Granite State Fair, which kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 16. Starting Sept. 30, you can see the horses, alpacas, sheep, goats and more at the Deerfield Fair.

There are also good reasons to go visit a local farm or orchard. Local corn mazes have opened their attractions, offering a chance to spend some time in their corn fields. Apple picking season has started and growers are reporting that it’s been a good year for apples.

Feeling in the mood for some farm fun? Here are a few places to go.

Farmers at the fair

Animals are the highlight of New Hampshire’s agricultural fairs

By Angie Sykeny

From live music and amusement rides to demonstrations and delicious food, New Hampshire state fairs offer all kinds of fun, but the heart of the fair remains the same year after year.

“Agriculture is the bedrock of what fairs represent,” said E.J. Dean, fair coordinator for the Granite State Fair in Rochester. “Farmers wanting to showcase all of their hard work is how the fairs were born.”

“The largest percentage of time that a patron spends at any fairground is looking through the barns,” co-coordinator Mark Perry added. “At the end of that day, that’s why people come.”

For local farmers, the fair is a chance to engage with the public, spread the word about their farms and promote their products — like a farmers market, Dean said, but on a larger scale.

“The farmers are proud,” he said. “They love talking with people and showing off what they do.”

For fairgoers, the fair is a place to learn about agriculture in the state and see up-close how a cow is milked, how a sheep is sheared, how butter is made and more.

“When you hear that there’s 21 billion gallons of milk produced in the United States each year, it’s hard to quantify that number,” Dean said. “[The fair] sheds some light on the [agriculture] industry and puts all of the things that we take for granted in perspective.”

Putting a face to the name behind where their food comes from can encourage people to buy more local food and products, Perry said.

“People see and hear things [about food] in the news, and they want to know what is true,” he said. “Who better to ask than the farmer who produces the food?”

Another goal of the fair, Perry said, is to expand agriculture in the state by inspiring people with homesteads to take up farming, even if only on a small scale. Just half an acre is enough for a person to raise animals such as rabbits, chickens or goats, he said.

“As the number of full-time farmers decreases, there’s a need that’s being filled by part-time farmers,” he said. “We want to help champion those part-time farmers.”

But educating the public about agriculture isn’t the only mission of the fair, Perry said; making the experience fun and memorable is equally important, especially for children and families, and for people living in urban areas who don’t have many opportunities to visit farms or see live animals.

“When a kid gets to reach out and touch a calf or see a cow being milked for the first time, that’s a powerful thing,” Perry said. “There’s magic in that moment.”

Granite State Fair

Daily festivities include a cattle barn, pig barn, barnyard babies, exhibitions and displays, chickery, a petting zoo and live judging in the exhibition hall. Helicopter rides will be offered Friday through Sunday. Daily entertainment will include racing pigs, Circus Hollywood ($15 for a ringside box for up to four people) and a variety of live music. Recycled Percussion will perform on Friday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m. (Tickets are $20). The horse pulling competition will take place on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. A mechanical bull riding competition will be held on both Thursdays, a cornhole tournament on both Fridays, and a demolition derby on both Sundays.
When: Thursday through Sunday, from Sept. 16 through Sept. 19, and Sept. 23 through Sept. 26. On Thursday and Friday, both the main fair and midway open at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the main fair opens at 10 a.m., and the midway opens at noon.
Where: 72 Lafayette St., Rochester
Tickets: $10 per person, free for children age 8 and under. Plus $7 for parking. Wristbands are available for $25 on Thursday from 4 p.m. to close, Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., and, on the final Sunday, from 5 p.m. to close.
More info: granitestatefair.com

Deerfield Fair

Daily festivities include agricultural shows like a horse pull, pig scramble, cattle pull and more, as well as agricultural demonstrations, exhibits and competitions; tractor pulls and demonstrations; children’s shows and activities; magic shows; a variety of live music on multiple stages and strolling performers. Special events include a woodsman contest on Thursday at 10 a.m., a pumpkin weigh-off on Thursday at 6 p.m., Granite State Disc Dogs on Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m., a truck pull on Saturday at 5 p.m., and a women’s frypan toss on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Where: 34 Stage Road, Deerfield
When: Thursday, Sept. 30, through Sunday, Oct. 3. Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 pm., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Sunday.
Tickets: $12 for adults ($10 if purchased online before Sept. 27), free for kids age 12 and under and for active military and veterans. $9 for seniors age 65 and older on Thursday and Friday at the gate only. Premium parking is available for $10. Midway wristbands are available for $30 on Friday (valid through 6 p.m.) and for $35 on Sunday (valid through closing).
More info: deerfieldfair.com

Mazes of maize

Lose yourself in a corn maze this fall

By Matt Ingersoll

Traversing through a corn maze is a uniquely fall activity at the farm — most of them are open to the public from early to mid-September through about Halloween. From family-friendly mazes to spookier nighttime outings, there are all kinds of unique features and experiences you can discover as you make your way through the cornfields trying to get out.

Corn maze at Sherman Farm. Courtesy photo.

At Beech Hill Farm and Ice Cream Barn in Hopkinton, there are two different 4-acre corn mazes with their own distinct themes that are never repeated after each year. Co-owner Holly Kimball, who was an elementary school teacher for more than 20 years, said she has a lot of fun designing the mazes and implementing various educational aspects into each theme.

“It’s a great outdoor activity that appeals to all ages,” Kimball said of the mazes. “This is our 24th year doing the mazes … and [they have] become a fall tradition for many people. … We get field trips from elementary school students right up through high school, [and] it can be a fun date activity or an outing for workplace team building.”

This year happens to be the 250th anniversary of the nine-generation Beech Hill Farm, a milestone Kimball has integrated into one of the corn mazes. People are given a crossword puzzle with different clues to the answers they must search through the maze to find. Each clue has to do with a different fact about farming history.

The other corn maze activity at Beech Hill Farm is what Kimball calls a “Clue-Dunnit,” featuring a corn maze mystery twist on the popular board game. Attendees are tasked with finding the “suspect” who stole the weather vane off the top of the farm’s barn.

“It’s a cornfield scavenger hunt, where you go through with a checklist and find the ‘suspects,’ which are all farm animals,” she said. “They are all signs people have to find in the maze.”

Animals are also regularly used corn maze themes at Coppal House Farm in Lee. Owner John Hutton said they will usually focus on a different animal or bird each year that you’re likely to find in your backyard. As you make your way deeper into the maze, you’ll come across different facts about that animal — this year, he said, it’s all about red foxes.

“The different facts you find … help you navigate your way through the maze,” Hutton said, “so on top of learning about the fox, it’s a scavenger hunt. … It’s something fun that the whole family can do together, and it’s very interactive with no electronics involved.”

In Milford, Trombly Gardens has a corn maze that’s open to the public from dawn to dusk, with four wooden farm animals each maze-goer is challenged to find. According to business manager Alicia Kurlander, a Halloween-themed “haunted” corn maze with actors is currently in the works for each weekend throughout the month of October.

Where to find a local corn maze

Check out this list of local farms and orchards with corn mazes to discover this fall. Many of them feature their own unique themes, often with clues you must find to navigate your way out.

Applecrest Farm Orchards
133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls, 926-3721, applecrest.com
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $7 per person and free for ages 5 and under
This 8-acre corn field features a maze of twists and turns that typically remains open through Halloween or early November depending on the weather conditions, according to Applecrest Farm Orchards owner Todd Wagner. Visitors who want to traverse it during the week are encouraged to check in at the farm market, as the maze entrance is only staffed on the weekends.

Beans & Greens Farm
245 Intervale Road, Gilford, 293-2853, beansandgreensfarm.com
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; a night maze is offered Thursday through Saturday, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., with a final sweep of the maze at 10 p.m.
Cost: $14 for adults and $10 for kids; the cost for the night maze ranges from $18 to $22 (tentative)
According to Cheyenne Patterson of the farm’s management team, the corn maze will open for the season on Sept. 17 and will conclude with a special Halloween-themed maze on Oct. 31.

Beech Hill Farm and Ice Cream Barn
107 Beech Hill Road, Hopkinton, 223-0828, beechhillfarm.com
Hours: Daily, noon to dusk
Cost: $6 per person and free for kids ages 3 and under
Beech Hill Farm and Ice Cream Barn has two 4-acre corn mazes, and one applied rate gives you access to both. Co-owner Holly Kimball said the farm has been offering them for more than two decades, with a different theme each year that has never been repeated. This year’s mazes include a cornfield-sized “crossword puzzle” in celebration of the farm’s 250th anniversary in 2021, as well as a “Clue-Dunnit” corn maze inspired by the popular board game.

Brookdale Fruit Farm
41 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2240, brookdalefruitfarm.com
Hours: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Cost: $3 per person
The corn maze, set to open soon, is among several of the family-friendly activities that will be available at Brookdale Fruit Farm this fall, along with hayrides and apple picking.

Coppal House Farm
118 N. River Road, Lee, 659-3572, nhcornmaze.com
Hours: Monday, Thursday and Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entrance is at 4:30 p.m.). Columbus Day hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $9 for adults, $7 for kids ages 5 to 12 and for students, seniors and active military service members, and free for kids ages 5 and under
Coppal House Farm features two corn mazes, with a different theme every year centered around a bird or animal you might see in your backyard.
This year the theme is red foxes — maze attendees will learn various facts about the red fox that help them navigate their way out of the maze. Coppal House Farm co-owner John Hutton said the mazes are typically open through the last weekend of October, after which the corn is harvested for grain. There are also three upcoming nighttime maze dates that are open to the public, scheduled for Sept. 18, Oct. 9 and Oct. 23 (general admission is $12 per person; online ticketing only). Bring your own flashlight.

Elwood Orchards
54 Elwood Road, Londonderry, 434-6017, elwoodorchards.com
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last entrance is at 5 p.m.)
Cost: $10 per person and free for kids ages 5 and under
The 15-acre corn maze at this family-owned and -operated farm and orchard is open now through the first weekend of November, owner Wayne Elwood said. Throughout the month of October, there is also a nighttime maze on Fridays and Saturdays that runs until 10 p.m. (last entrance is at 9 p.m.). Bring your own flashlight.

Emery Farm
147 Piscataqua Road, Durham, 742-8495, emeryfarm.com
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person and free for kids ages 2 and under
This corn maze, featuring an educational pollinator theme, will be open daily through Oct. 31. Tickets can be purchased inside the farm’s market and cafe.

J & F Farms
124 Chester Road, Derry, 437-0535, jandffarmsnh.com
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $8 per person
One of several available family-friendly activities, the corn maze at this longtime family-run farm is open to the public now through the end of October.

Lavoie’s Farm
172 Nartoff Road, Hollis, 882-0072, lavoiesfarm.com
Hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: Free
At the family-owned and -operated Lavoie’s Farm, visitors can traverse the 3-acre corn maze with a pick-your-own apple or pumpkin purchase.

Riverview Farm
141 River Road, Plainfield, 298-8519, riverviewnh.com
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person and free for kids ages 4 and under
Artist and illustrator Emily Zea comes up with all kinds of unique themes each year for Riverview Farm’s corn maze. The theme of this year’s 3-acre maze is Ghosts and Monsters of New England.

Scamman Farm
69 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham, 686-1258, scammanfarm.com
Hours: Monday, and Wednesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entrance is at 4:30 p.m.)
Cost: $9 for adults, $7 for kids ages 5 to 12 and for seniors and active military service members, and free for kids ages 4 and under with a paid adult
At more than 6 acres, Scamman’s Farm’s corn maze features a different theme every year. This year’s theme is “Fantasy Land.”

Sherman Farm
2679 E. Conway Road, Center Conway, 939-2412, shermanfarmnh.com
Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Varies from $12 to $15 per person, depending on the day, and free for kids ages 2 and under
Known simply as “The Maize,” this year’s 12-acre corn maze was designed with help from students at Pine Street Elementary School in Center Conway. It’s due to open for the season on Sept. 18 and will welcome visitors every Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 24.

Trombly Gardens
150 N. River Road, Milford, 673-0647, tromblygardens.net
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk
Cost: $5 per person and free for kids ages 3 and under
Four wooden animals hidden throughout this corn maze for attendees to attempt to find. Trombly Gardens business manager Alicia Kurlander said a Halloween-themed haunted nighttime maze with actors who will try to jump out and scare you is also being planned for each weekend throughout the month of October. You can receive a discount to enter the corn maze if you bring a non-perishable canned food item to donate to the local food bank.

Washburn’s Windy Hill Orchard
66 Mason Road, Greenville, 878-2101, find them on Facebook @washburnswindyhill
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person and free for kids ages 3 and under
The 5-acre corn maze at Washburn’s Windy Hill Orchard is open through the end of October, according to owner Timothy Anderson. A nighttime maze will also be hosted from Friday, Oct. 29, through Sunday, Oct. 31, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. each night.

Macs and Honeycrisps

Where to load up on apples

By Amy Diaz

The McIntoshes are ready.

Over Labor Day weekend, Apple Hill Farm in Concord kicked off its season of pick-your-own with its trees heavy with McIntoshes. The rain, rough on ground crops, has been good for apples, helping them to get big and juicy, said Diane Souther, owner at Apple Hill.

“The apples are plentiful,” Souther said on Sept. 7, when she expected Cortlands to be ready for picking in a few days and then Macouns soon after that, followed by Empires, with other varieties expected more toward the third and fourth weeks of September. Souther’s farm has more than 60 varieties of apples, some in PYO and some that the farm picks, some of them for eating and baking and some for hard cider.

Leigh Hardy, pick-your-own manager at Brookdale Fruit Farm, agreed that this year’s crop is large — big apples and lots of them. Brookdale has 32 varieties for pick your own as well as other varieties available in the farm stand. On Sept. 7 she said Jonamacs, Galas, McIntoshes and Honeycrisps were ready, with Cortlands and Empires coming soon.

“They’re coming in a bit earlier,” Hardy said, estimating that crops were available about 10 days or so earlier.

While some varieties like the McIntoshes and Galas will go all season long some apples have shorter seasons of three or so weeks when they are available, so Souther recommends that pickers be flexible if their favorite variety isn’t available at the moment and try something new. She recommends, at pick your own or at farm stands and farmers markets, asking farmers about varieties you may not have seen in decades past, such as Ambrosia, a yellowish apple with a red tinge that is sweeter and can last a while in the refrigerator.

Hardy said some people are becoming “apple connoisseurs” and interested in new varieties as well as some of the older New England varieties, such as the Baldwin apple, which is harder and stores well but has a great flavor when you cook with it, she said. Empire (a cross between a Red Delicious and a McIntosh) has a good flavor as does Spencer (a cross between a Golden Delicious and a McIntosh).

“Those are really good,” Hardy said.

Others to look for later in September are the Snow Sweet (a mild apple that doesn’t turn brown when you cut it), a Ruby Mac (a McIntosh variety that is sold red and a little bit tarter) and some new Honeycrisp varieties that are available later, like Pink Luster, Firecracker and Crimson Crisp, Hardy said.

At Brookdale they offer both a paper map and a version you can get on your smartphone via a QR code that will help direct you toward trees that are ready for picking and help you find the varieties you’re interested in.

For apples you don’t eat right away, Souther and Hardy recommend putting them in a refrigerator at as close to 33 degrees as possible for future eating. Sweeter apples especially need refrigeration, Hardy said, and if you store apples in a cool basement or garage, don’t leave them directly on cement, where moisture will get into the apple and speed rot; elevate them a little. Souther also suggested that apples you don’t eat now can go toward a future pie: Make a pie filling and freeze to use later in the winter when you want a fresh taste of fall.

Apple Grower of the Year

Brookdale Fruit Farm, which has been operated for 174 years by seven generations of the same family, received special recognition this year: Chip Hardy and sons Trevor Hardy and Tyler Hardy were named 2021 Apple Growers of the Year by American Fruit Grower and Western Fruit Grower magazines, according to a story on GrowingProduce.com. (Tyler Hardy, who died in 2019, was called “one of New Hampshire’s up-and-coming agricultural stars” in the story.) The farm is only the second farm in New Hampshire to receive the award, the website said.

Where to get your apples

Here are a few of the local apple orchards offering pick-your-own. On the day you plan to head out, call ahead to check that the varieties you’re interested in are available. Most of these farms also sell apples at their farm stands (along with other goodies) if you’d rather pick up than pick your own, and many of the websites (which, along with the farms’ and orchards’ social media, is where most of the pricing and hours listed here come from) list varieties available at the orchard (including, in some cases, what’s currently available for picking). Is your favorite pick-your-own farm not on this list? Let us know about it at food@hippopress.com.

Apple Annie
66 Rowell Road East in Brentwood; 778-3127, appleannienh.org
Hours open for PYO: Thursday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Email for reserving group times Monday through Wednesday)
Cost: Bags priced at $1.75 per pound

Applecrest Farm Orchards
133 Exeter Road (Route 88) in Hampton Falls; 926-3721, applecrest.com
Hours open for PYO: daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $15 for half a peck, $30 for a peck, $40 for half a bushel
Also: In September, PYO raspberries and peaches; into October, pumpkins and gourds. On weekends look for harvest festivals, which run Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can feature live music, tractor rides, eats for sale and more.

Apple Hill Farm
580 Mountain Road (Route 132) in Concord; 224-8862, applehillfarmnh.com
Hours open for PYO: daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Cost: Peck is $15, half bushel is $25.
Also: As of Sept. 3 Apple Hill still had PYO seedless grapes.

Appleview Orchard
1266 Upper City Road in Pittsfield; 435-3553, applevieworchard.com
Hours open for PYO: daily, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (earlier as the sun sets earlier)
Cost: Call for pricing.
Also: Free hayrides on weekends, weather permitting.

Brookdale Fruit Farm
41 Broad St. in Hollis; 465-2240, brookdalefruitfarm.com
Hours open for PYO: Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (call for information on group outings on Mondays and Tuesdays)
Cost: $35 for half a bushel or $1.75 per pound.
Also: PYO pumpkins later in the season, according to the farm’s website. On weekends, check out the corn maze and hayrides.

Carter Hill Orchard
73 Carter Hill Road in Concord; 225-2625, carterhillapples.com
Hours open for PYO: Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Currier Orchards
9 Peaslee Road in Merrimack; 881-8864, find them on Facebook @currierorchards
Hours open for PYO: Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $15 for a 10-pound bag; $30 for a 20-pound bag.
Also: The store is open until 6 p.m.

DeMeritt Hill Farm
20 Orchard Way, Lee; 868-2111, demeritthillfarm.com
Hours open for PYO: Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m; Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Purchase one peck bag to pick: $18 for a peck bag.
Also: PYO pumpkins. Visit farm animals and on weekends take a hayride ($2 per person), weather permitting. The farm also has several upcoming events including a Harvest Weekend (Sept. 25 and Sept. 26) and a Pumpkinfest (Oct. 2 and Oct. 3) and Haunted Overlook, a haunted attraction that opens Oct. 8.

Elwood Orchards
54 Elwood Road in Londonderry; 434-6017, elwoodorchards.com
Hours open for PYO: Open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Call for pricing.
Also: Elwood will offer pick your own pumpkins and runs a corn maze daily (with nighttime corn mazes on Fridays and Saturdays in October).

Gould Hill Farm
656 Gould Hill Road in Contoocook, 746- 3811, gouldhillfarm.com
Hours open for PYO: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (plus Monday, Oct. 11)
Cost: Quarter peck (which is about two or three pounds depending on the apple) is $7, half peck is $12, peck is $18, half bushel is $28.
Also: Gould Hill operates Contoocook Cider Co., which has a tasting room open weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for flights, tastings and light food (such as cheese plates) and live music from 1 to 4 p.m., according to the website. Cider doughnuts on weekends.

Hackleboro Orchards
61 Orchard Road in Canterbury; 783-4248, on Facebook
Hours open for PYO: Daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: By the page $6 half peck, $10 peck and $20 a half bushel
Also: Every weekend they offer burgers, hot dogs, cider doughnuts and ice cream.

Hazelton Orchards
280 Derry Road in Chester; 493-4804, find them on Facebook @hazeltonorchardschesternh
Hours open for PYO: Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Call for pricing.

Lavoie’s Farm
172 Nartoff Road in Hollis; 882-0072, lavoiesfarm.com
Hours open for PYO: Daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: $1.99 per pound.
Also: PYO pumpkins. Look for hay rides on weekends and a corn maze open whenever the farm is open.

Lull Farm
65 Broad St. in Hollis; 465-7079, livefreeandfarm.com
Hours open for PYO: Daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Peck for $15, and half bushel for $30.
Also: Food on weekends and The Daily Haul fish market Saturdays (preorder at thedailyhaul.com).

Mack’s Apples
230 Mammoth Road in Londonderry; 432- 3456, macksapples.com
Hours open for PYO: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Purchase bags for picking as you enter the orchard.
Also: PYO peaches and pumpkins.

McLeod Bros. Orchards
735 N. River Road in Milford; 673-3544, mcleodorchards.com
Hours open for PYO: Monday through Friday from 1 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (also 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Columbus Day)
Cost: Buy bags or baskets before picking — $16 for peck bag, $27 for a half bushel bag; $24 for a peck basket, $35 for a half bushel basket.
Also: For groups larger than 7 people, make a reservation online.

Meadow Ledge Farm
612 Route 129 in Loudon; 798-5860, meadowledgefarm.com
Hours open for PYO: Daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Also: Look for the farm’s Harvest Festival on Columbus Day weekend, with games for the kids, music and entertainment. After Thanksgiving they sell Christmas trees and wreaths among other items.

Sullivan Farm
70 Coburn Ave. in Nashua; 595-4560, find them on Facebook
Hours open for PYO: Daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Washburn’s Windy Hill Orchard
66 Mason Road in Greenville; 878-2101
Hours open for PYO: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $12 for a peck, $24 for a half bushel. Purchase apple bags inside the farm stand or reusable baskets.
Also: PYO pumpkins. The orchard also has a corn maze and free hayrides on weekends.

Featured photo: Corn maze at Beech Hill Farm and Ice Cream Barn in Hopkinton. Courtesy photo.

2021 Fall Guide

It’s a fall full of events!

This fall, there are indoor events as well as outdoor events and we are getting more of the music, theater, art exhibits, special film screenings and festivals that traditionally fill the season’s schedule.

Of course, as with everything this year, events listed here may change closer to event-time and check with the organization in advance about special Covid-related precautions or requirements. Take out your calendar and get ready to save some dates…

Theater

• The Peterborough Players (55 Hadley Road, Peterborough, peterboroughplayers.org) perform Where You Are at the new outdoor Elsewhere Stage at the Players now through Sept. 12, with showtimes daily at 4:30 p.m. Tickets cost $47.

•​ The Winnipesaukee Playhouse (33 Footlight Circle, Meredith, winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org) presents It Had To Be You outdoors now through Sept. 18, with showtimes Tuesday through Saturday at 4 p.m. plus matinees on Saturdays, Sept. 11 and Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $20 to $37.

• The Community Players of Concord will perform White Rabbit Red Rabbit at the Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord) from Sept. 10 through Sept. 26, with showtimes on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $22 to $25 for adults, $19 to $22 for members, seniors and students, and $16 to $19 for senior members. Visit hatboxnh.com.

• The Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588) presents Queen of the Night – A Tribute to Whitney Houston from Sept. 10 through Sept. 26, with showtimes on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at noon and 5 p.m. Tickets cost $39 to $46 for adults and $25 for children.

•​ Jekyll & Hyde – The Musical will be at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St., Portsmouth) Sept. 16 through Nov. 6, with showtimes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $32 to $50. The show is also available to livestream. Visit seacoastrep.org.

•​ The Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St., Portsmouth) presents Honey Punch ’n’ Pals on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $10. The show is also available to livestream. Visit seacoastrep.org.

• The Players’ Ring Theatre (105 Marcy St., Portsmouth) presents Barefoot in the Park from Sept. 18 through Oct. 3, with showtimes on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $22 for seniors age 65 and up and students. Visit playersring.org.

•​ Winnipesaukee Playhouse (33 Footlight Circle, Meredith, winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org) presents Glorious Sept. 22 through Oct. 9, with showtimes Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. plus matinees on Tuesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 30, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20 to $37. Visit winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org.

•​ The Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St., Portsmouth) presents Cruel Intentions The ’90s Musical from Sept. 23 through Oct. 23, with showtimes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $32 to $50. Visit seacoastrep.org.

• Theatre KAPOW presents The Boyg at the Stockbridge Theatre (5 Pinkerton St., Derry) Sept. 24 through Sept. 26, with showtimes on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for students and seniors and $20 for adults. Visit tkapow.com.

•​ The Kids Coop Theatre will perform Willy Wonka at the Derry Opera House (29 W. Broadway, Derry) from Sept. 24 through Sept. 26. Visit kids-coop-theatre.org.

Cirque-Tacular comes to The Dana Center (100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester) on Saturday, Sept. 25, with showtimes at 4 and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45. Visit anselm.edu.

• The Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord) presents Greater Tuna from Oct. 1 through Oct. 10, with showtimes on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for students, seniors and members and $16 for senior members. Visit hatboxnh.com.

•​ New World Theatre presents 9/12 at the Players’ Ring Theatre (105 Marcy St., Portsmouth) from Oct. 8 through Oct. 17, with showtimes on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $22 for seniors age 65 and up and students. Visit playersring.org. New World Theatre will also bring 9/12 to the Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord) from Nov. 12 through Nov. 21, with showtimes on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for students, seniors and members and $16 for senior members. Visit hatboxnh.com.

• The Community Players of Concord will perform Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St., Concord) on Friday, Oct. 15, and Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $18 for youth age 17 and under and seniors age 65 and up before Oct. 13, and an additional $2 after Oct. 13. Visit communityplayersofconcord.org.

• The Peacock Players will perform Matilda The Musical Jr. at the Court Street Theatre (14 Court St., Nashua) from Oct. 15 through Oct. 24, with showtimes on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Visit peacockplayers.org.

• The Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord) presents American Son from Oct. 15 through Oct. 24, with showtimes on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for students, seniors and members and $16 for senior members. Visit hatboxnh.com.

• The Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588) will present a mainstage production of Mamma Mia from Oct. 15 through Nov. 14, with showtimes on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at noon and 5 p.m. Tickets cost $39 to $46 for adults and $25 for children.

Illusionist David Caserta performs at The Dana Center (100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester) on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $45. Visit anselm.edu.

• Phylloxera Productions presents Wonders at the Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord) from Oct. 29 through Nov. 7, with showtimes on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for students, seniors and members and $16 for senior members. Visit hatboxnh.com.

Friends! The Musical Parody comes to the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, ccanh.com) on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $35 to $55.

Clue!

The traveling performance troupe Lend Me a Theater will present Clue!,a dinner theater production based on the board game and the 1985 film, in November. Catch it Saturday, Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton (700 Elm St. n Manchester); tickets (which include dinner) cost $40. Or see the show at the Tupelo Music Hall (10 A St. in Derry; tupelomusichall.com) on Saturday, Nov. 20, when the dinner starts at 6 p.m. (tickets cost $40 for the dinner and the show) or see just the show at 7:30 p.m. (tickets cost $20). See lendmeatheater.org.

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story comes to the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, ccanh.com) on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $44.50.

• The Community Players of Concord’s Children’s Theater Project presents All Together Now! at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St., Concord) on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Visit communityplayersofconcord.org.

• The Peacock Players will perform The Wedding Singer at the Court Street Theatre (14 Court St., Nashua) from Nov. 12 through Nov. 21, with showtimes on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Visit peacockplayers.org.

•​ The Seacoast Repertory Theatre (125 Bow St., Portsmouth) presents Peter Pan from Nov. 18 through Dec. 23, with showtimes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $32 to $50. Visit seacoastrep.org.

• The Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588) presents The Nutcracker on Friday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 20, at 11 a.m. and 4 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 21, at noon and 4:30 p.m. Tickets $39 to $46 for adults and $25 for children.

That Golden Girls Show: A Puppet Parody comes to the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, ccanh.com) on Saturday., Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35.

TV on the stage

Catch some favorite TV shows live on stage at the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St. in Concord; ccanh.com, 225-1111) this fall. On Sunday, Oct. 31, see Friends! The Musical Parody at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $35 to $55 (plus fees). On Saturday, Nov. 20, picture it, 8 p.m., four women considering cheesecake at That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody. Tickets cost $35 plus fees.

Music

• See country legend Willie Nelson at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on Friday, Sept. 10, at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $89.75.

Carbon Leaf will be at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Sept. 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25 general admission.

• Singer-songwriter LeAnn Rimes will take the stage at the Tupelo Music Hall on Friday, Sept. 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $75 to $95.

Kittel & Co. will be at The Historic Music Hall on Friday, Sept. 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $45.

• See Susan Werner at the Rex Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.

• The Tupelo Music Hall will host hard rock legends Blue Oyster Cult on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $65 to $77.

Breaking Benjamin will perform with Memphis May Fire at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

• Pink Floyd tribute act The Machine will be at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $34.

Cold Chocolate will be at Fletcher-Murphy Park on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12.

• See singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot at The Historic Music Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $48.75.

• See the Eagles tribute band Another Tequila Sunrise at the Palace Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $29 to $39.

American Idol alum David Cook will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $40.

TLC will be at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on Friday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.

• See Blue Light Rain at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

George Thorogood and The Destroyers will take the stage at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Friday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $27.

Tom Rush will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Friday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $45.

• Great American Concerts will present Gin Blossoms and Vertical Horizon, with opener Best Not Broken, at the Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. Tickets start at $40.

• See Alice Cooper at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

Scarab: The Journey Experience will take the stage at the Rex Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.

Jxdn will perform at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

Al Di Meola will be at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $45.

• See John Hiatt and The Jerry Douglas Band at the Chubb Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $49 to $69.

Kimayo will be at Fletcher-Murphy Park on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Martha Davis and The Motels will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35.

• See Tiger Saw & The Reasons Why at The Historic Music Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets start at $60 for a small table (two-person limit).

• Country star Granger Smith will be at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

• Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and composer Chris Botti will be at The Historic Music Hall on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $38.

• Country duo Thompson Square will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $50.

Brad Paisley will take the stage at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on Friday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $29.

• Eagles tribute act Eaglemania will be at the Chubb Theatre on Friday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $45.

• See the Blaggards at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will perform at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $45.

• See Crystal Bowersox at the Tupelo Music Hall on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $35.

• The Rex Theatre will host an evening with Livingston Taylor on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40.

• The Gratitude Music Festival, a multi-stage outdoor music festival honoring local first responders and frontline workers, is set for Saturday, Sept. 25, in Portsmouth and will feature live performances by Neighbor at 1 p.m. on Chestnut Street, Carsie Blanton at 3:30 p.m. at Portwalk Place, and Anderson East at 8 p.m. at the Historic Theater. Tickets are $90 for a day pass, or $30 for access to an individual performance. You can also nominate your favorite frontline hero to win a free pair of passes to the festival.

Toad the Wet Sprocket performs at the Tupelo Music Hall on Sunday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $59 to $74.

The Mersey Beatles will be at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $36.

• See 3 Doors Down at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.

Justin Hayward performs at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $74.

Not Fade Away, a tribute show celebrating some of the biggest names in rock ’n’ roll, will be at the Rex Theatre for two performances on Thursday, Sept. 30, and Friday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $29.

• Rapper and singer-songwriter NF will be at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on Friday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50.

• See GA-20 and JD Simo at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Under the Streetlamp will be at the Palace Theatre on Friday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $50.50.

• Country star Sara Evans performs on Friday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. at Tupelo Music Hall. Tickets range from $70 to $90.

• Bruce Springsteen tribute act Bruce in the USA performs at the Chubb Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $45.

• See Rush tribute act Lotus Land at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35.

• Rock legends The Association will be at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $39.

Christopher Cross performs at the Tupelo Music Hall on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $45 to $60.

Five For Fighting

Catch the band Five For Fighting with a string quartet on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Tupelo Music Hall (10 A St. in Derry; tupelomusichall.com). Tickets cost $40 to $55.

Korn will perform with Staind at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50.

• See Billy Currington at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $48 in advance and $53 at the door.

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo will be at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Friday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $37.

• See Herman’s Hermits at the Palace Theatre on Friday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $44.50.

• Blues guitarist Joanne Shaw Taylor performsat the Rex Theatre on Friday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Grain Thief will be at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

• ’80s tribute act Foreigners Journey will perform two shows at the Tupelo Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. each evening. Tickets range from $32 to $37.

Lez Zeppelin, an all female tribute act to the rock legends, will perform at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Saturday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

• Maryland rockers Clutch take the stage at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Saturday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.

Jingo, a tribute to Santana, will be at the Rex Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 9, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.

• Country stars Lady A will take the stage at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion on Sunday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $28.

Tom Rush will be at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Sunday, Oct. 10, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $59.

The Capital Jazz Orchestra, a tribute to Sinatra, will be at the Chubb Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 10, at 4 p.m. Tickets start at $27.50.

• See Frank Turner at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Sunday, Oct. 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $32 in advance and $37 at the door.

• Grammy Award-winning mandolinist Chris Thile will perform at The Historic Music Hall on Monday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $45 to $50.

• See The Struts at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28.50 in advance and $33.50 at the door.

Rick Wakeman will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $55 to $70.

• Maine roots rockers The Mallett Brothers Band will be at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Ben Folds will be at the Chubb Theatre on Friday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $55 to $75.

Everclear will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $50 to $69.

The Sixties Show

The Sixties Show, a performance featuring former band members of The Who, The Saturday Night Live Band and Bob Dylan, will be held at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Friday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. With live performances of some of the most popular songs of the 1960s, the show is a full multimedia Broadway-type production, dramatized by a combination of special effects, narration and newsreel footage. Tickets start at $29.

• See the Brooklyn Charmers, a tribute to Steely Dan, at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band takes the stage at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $39.

The Linda Ronstadt Experience, featuring American Idol finalist Tristan McIntosh, will be at the Rex Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $29 to $39.

Rumors of Fleetwood Mac, a tribute act to the rock legends, will perform at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $21.

Damn the Torpedoes, a tribute to Tom Petty, will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30.

• Great American Concerts returns with a performance from country artist Sam Grow on Sunday, Oct. 17, with doors opening at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $26.

ABBA The Concert, a tribute to the Swedish pop group, will be at the Chubb Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $29.50 to $49.50.

• See Patty Griffin and Gregory Alan Isakov at the Chubb Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50.

Saving Abel will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $35.

Start Making Sense, a tribute to the Talking Heads, will be at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $18.

Voyage, a tribute to Journey, will be at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Friday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $21.

• See Piff the Magic Dragon at the Chubb Theatre on Friday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35.

Josh Turner will be at The Historic Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $55 to $78.

• Rock supergroup The Airplane Family will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $40 to $45.

• Queen tribute act Almost Queen will perform at the Chubb Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $27 to $47.

• Doobie Brothers tribute act The Doobie Others will take the stage at the Rex Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $29 in advance and $39 at the door.

• See John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.

• U2 tribute act Unforgettable Fire will perform at the Tupelo Music Hall on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40.

• See Amythyst Kiah at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra will be at the Tupelo Music Hall for two shows on Sunday, Oct. 24, at noon and at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $40.

The Mavericks will perform two shows at The Historic Music Hall, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, and Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. each evening. Tickets range from $48 to $75.

• See Bad Bad Hats at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

• The Adam Ezra Group will take the stage at the Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Friday, Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

• Acclaimed Led Zeppelin tribute act Get the Led Out will be at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $31 in advance and $36 at the door.

• The Rex Theatre will host an evening with Jonathan Edwards on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.

Bernard Ilsley will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45.

• See Pat Metheny on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $79.

• Nashville-based singer-songwriter Liz Longley will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.

I Am Kaweki performs at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18.

• Country star Phil Vassar will be at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $44.

Buddy Guy and Samantha Fish will be at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $31.

The U2 Show, a tribute act to the acclaimed rockers, is set for Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m. at the Rex Theatre. Tickets range from $29 to $39.

Hollywood Nights, a tribute to Bob Seger, will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35.

The Kitchen Dwellers will perform at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

• See Lettuce at The Historic Music Hall on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $32 to $52.

George Winston will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $40 to $60.

Harlem 100, a show celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance with several local live performances, will be at the Chubb Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free (limit of four tickets per party).

• See The Wailin’ Jennys at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $59.

The Blues Project will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35.

• See Jocelyn & Chris at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $12.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story will be at the Chubb Theatre on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $44.50.

• Multi-platinum-selling country artist Joe Nichols will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Friday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $45 to $65.

The Wailin’ Jennys will perform at The Historic Music Hall on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.75.

• See Keller Williams at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.

Peter Wolf will also perform at the Tupelo Music Hall on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $45 to $65.

• See singer-songwriter Marc Broussard at the Tupelo Music Hall on Sunday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $55.

The Immediate Family will take the stage at the Tupelo Music Hall on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $40.

Roomful of Blues will be at the Tupelo Music Hall on Friday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Jamantrics Reunion will be at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Friday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

• See Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket and Chris Barron of Spin Doctors will perform a dual show at The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.

• Singer-songwriter Jake Clemons will perform at the Rex Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $29 to $39.

• See The Psychedelic Furs at the Chubb Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $29 to $49.

• See Eric Martin of Mr. Big at the Tupelo Music Hall on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $35.

The Freese Brothers Big Band will be at the Rex Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $29.

Live music venues

Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten, 221 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, greatamericanconcerts.com

Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, 293-4700, meadowbrook.net

Bank of New Hampshire Stage, 16 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111, ccanh.com

Chubb Theatre, 44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111, ccanh.com

Fletcher-Murphy Park, 28 Fayette St., Concord, 225-1111, ccanh.com

The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center, 39 S. Main St., Plymouth, 536-2551, flyingmonkeynh.com

Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Blvd., Hampton Beach, 929-4100, casinoballroom.com

Historic Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, 436-2400, themusichall.org

Music Hall Loft, 131 Congress St., Portsmouth, 436-2400, themusichall.org

Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester, 668-5588, palacetheatre.org

Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St., Manchester, 668-5588, palacetheatre.org/rex-theatre

Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A St., Derry, 437-5100, tupelohall.com

Fairs & Fests

• The Hillsborough County Agricultural Fair returns to Hilldale Lane in New Boston from Friday, Sept. 10, through Sunday, Sept. 12, featuring a weekend full of midway rides, demonstrations, 4-H animal shows and exhibitors, live music and more. Visit hcafair.org.

Auburn day and duck race

The Auburn Historical Association is holding its annual Auburn Day and Duck Race on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Auburn Day is the Association’s largest fundraiser, taking place out in front of the Griffin Free Public Library and featuring dozens of food and craft vendors. New this year will be an Author’s Alley with several local authors set up for a meet and greet in the library parking lot. During the duck race, thousands of rubber ducks are set adrift on Sucker Brook, with prizes being awarded to first through 10th place. On Friday, Sept. 10, there will also be a mini-fest hosted by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, at Auburn Village School (11 Eaton Hill Road). Happenings will include live music, eats from local food trucks and a fireworks display. Visit auburnhistorical.org.

Hollis Old Home Days are happening on Friday, Sept. 10, and Saturday, Sept. 11, at Nichols Field and the adjacent Lawrence Barn (Depot Road, Hollis). Festivities will include a town parade, midway rides, a local artisan market, live entertainment and a fireworks celebration at dusk on Saturday. Visit hollisoldhomedays.org.

• Join Petals in the Pines (126 Baptist Road, Canterbury) for its ninth annual New Hampshire Monarch Festival on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival aims to educate kids and adults about the monarch butterfly, featuring games and activities, local vendors, children’s book authors, butterfly wing tagging, free milkweed seeds and more. There is a $5 suggested donation for adults, but kids receive free admission. Visit petalsinthepines.com/monarch-festival.

Thunder Over New Hampshire

Thunder Over New Hampshire, an air show featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as well as performances by flying aerobatics pilots such as Rob Holland and Mike Wiskus, will take place at Pease Air National Guard Base in Newington on Saturday, Sept. 11, and Sunday, Sept. 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Flying will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on both days; see the lineup of all the performers at thunderovernewhampshire.com. Admission is free, though on-site parking requires reservations (see the website for parking tickets in advance). There will also be military and civilian planes as part of a ground display, kid activities and concessions, according to the website.

• The Granite State Fair (formerly the Rochester Fair) will be held from Thursday, Sept. 16, through Sunday, Sept. 19, and from Thursday, Sept. 23, through Sept. 26, at the Rochester Fairgrounds (72 Lafayette St., Rochester). The fair features midway rides, a full schedule of live music, local vendors and exhibitors, circus performances and more. Advanced tickets are $8 per person and are available through Sept. 12. Tickets at the door are $10 per person (free for children ages 8 and under). Visit granitestatefair.com.

• The American Independence Museum (1 Governors Lane, Exeter) is throwing a 300th birthday party on Friday, Sept. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m., to celebrate the anniversary of the historic Ladd-Gilman House. The event will be held on the newly reconstructed lawn of the Folsom Tavern and will feature an evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and music. Tickets are $75 per person. Visit independencemuseum.org.

• Loon Mountain in Lincoln will once again transform into the Scottish Highlands for one weekend during the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival, happening from Friday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 19. The flagship event of the New Hampshire Gathering of the Scottish Clans, the games and festival will celebrate Scottish culture with music and dance competitions, local vendors and more, all at Loon Mountain Resort (60 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln). This year, tickets will be sold per carload. A carload admission ticket is $200 per vehicle for one-day admittance (up to five people per vehicle, including children; ages 2 and under are free). Visit nhscot.org.

• Don’t miss Derryfest, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at MacGregor Park (East Broadway, Derry). Derryfest features a full day of live entertainment, including games, balloons, live animal demonstrations, local crafters and vendor booths. Visit derryfest.org.

Pelham’s Old Home Day is set for Saturday, Sept. 18, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 3 Main St. and will feature a variety of activities, like craft vendors, food trucks, a town parade, live performances, a penny sale, a cornhole tournament and more. Visit pelhamoldhomeday.org.

• TEAM Exeter will host its annual Fall Equinox Festival on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Swasey Parkway, featuring live music, artisan vendors, local food, children’s activities, dance performances and cultural exhibits. There is a suggested donation of $10 per person or $20 per family. Visit teamexeter.com.

Granite State Comic Con returns on Saturday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown (700 Elm St., Manchester). One of the largest area comic book and pop culture festivals, Granite State Comic Con features panels and workshops, costume contests and other competitions, local exhibitors and more. Admission is $25 per person on Saturday and $20 on Sunday, or you can get a weekend pass for $40. Visit granitecon.com.

• The Sandown Old Home Day Fall Festival returns to Sandlot Sports (56 North Road, Sandown) from Friday, Sept. 24, through Sunday, Sept. 26. Festivities will include live entertainment, games, craft and food vendors, a 5K fun run and a fireworks display. Follow festival happenings on Facebook @sandownnhfallfestival.

• Join the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum (18 Highlawn Road, Warner) for its Harvest Moon Festival and Naturefest, happening on Sunday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be Native American foods for sale, plus craft demonstrations, tomahawk throwing, and a special “raptor rapture” program with New Hampshire Audubon. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children and for Indian Museum members, or $30 per family. Visit indianmuseum.org.

Go Joe!

If this summer’s Snake Eyes movie got you back into G.I. Joe you may want to check out the New England G.I. Joe Show, on Sunday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn (9 Northeastern Blvd. In Nashua). Admission costs $5 (kids under 12 get in free); early bird preview starts at 9 a.m. when admission costs $10, according to the event’s Facebook page. According to a post about the 2020 show, the event features vintage (‘60s and ‘70s) through modern-era figures as well as G.I. Joe comic books and more.

• The Deerfield Fair, scheduled from Thursday, Sept. 30, through Sunday, Oct. 3, at the Deerfield Fairgrounds (34 Stage Road), will feature amusement park rides, live music and other performances, 4-H animal shows and demonstrations and much more. Fair hours are from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults and free for kids ages 12 and under. Visit deerfieldfair.com.

• Charmingfare Farm (774 High St., Candia) is holding a multi-day pumpkin festival featuring pumpkin picking, tractor train rides, horse-drawn wagons, pumpkin art, live music and more. Visit their website to pick a date and time to attend. Available dates are Saturday, Oct. 2, and Sunday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 9, through Monday, Oct. 11. Tickets are $22 per person and must be purchased online (free for kids ages 23 months and under). Visit visitthefarm.com.

• The Milford Pumpkin Festival is returning to the town’s Oval from Friday, Oct. 8, through Sunday, Oct. 10. Festivities will include live music on the Community House Lawn and Oval stages all three days, plus local food and artisan vendors, scarecrow making, pumpkin and face painting, circus and dance performances and other family-friendly activities. Visit milfordpumpkinfestival.org.

• A modified version of the Warner Fall Foliage Festival is scheduled from Friday, Oct. 8, through Sunday, Oct. 10, in downtown Warner. While the parades and the children’s fun run have been canceled, the festival will still feature local craft and artisan vendors, rides, food, music, competitions and more. Visit wfff.org.

• The Goffstown Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off and Regatta returns to the Goffstown Historic Village on Saturday, Oct. 16, and Sunday, Oct. 17, featuring local vendor booths, pumpkin boats and more. Visit goffstownmainstreet.org/pumpkin-regatta.

Professional Bull Riders

The PBR Monster Energy Invitational comes to the SNHU Arena (555 Elm St. in Manchester; 644-5000, snhuarena.com) on Friday, Oct. 15, at 7:45 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 16, at 6:45 p.m. Tickets for either show, featuring professional bull riders in a championship competition for a world finals in early November (according to the arena website), start at $19. On pbr.com, find add-on events, such as an Granite State Escape Room event on Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. for $75 per ticket.

Art

Exhibits

• The Currier Museum of Art(150 Ash St., Manchester; 669-6144, currier.org) has a number of special exhibitions on display now and into the fall. “The Body in Art: From the Spiritual to the Sensual,” which runs through Sept. 12, provides a look at how artists through the ages have used the human body as a means of creative expression. Philadelphia-based potter Roberto Lugo pays homage to his Puerto Rican heritage and explores his cultural identity in the exhibit “Te traigo mi le lo lai – I bring you my joy,” up through Sept. 26. “As Precious as Gold, Carpets from the Islamic World” opens on Oct. 23 and will feature 32 carpets dating from the 15th century to the 19th century. Museum admission costs $15 for adults, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, $10 for students, $5 for youth ages 13 through 17 and is free for members and children under age 13. Museum hours are Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• The Portsmouth Historical Society (10 Middle St., Portsmouth, portsmouthhistory.org) has two exhibits on display now through Sept. 12. “Twilight of American Impressionism” showcases New England painters and masters of impressionism Alice Ruggles Sohier and Frederick A. Bosley. “Don Gorvett: Working Waterfronts” features more than 60 works by the contemporary Seacoast printmaker. Admission costs $7.50 for adults and is free for kids under age 18, seniors age 70 and older and active and retired military. Gallery hours are daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• The New Hampshire Art Association presents an exhibit, “Images Made from Adventures Great and Small, featuring photographs by Sarah Cail, at the Concord Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (49 S. Main St.) now through Sept. 16, followed by “Around New Hampshire,” featuring the oil paintings of Elaine Farmer, from Sept. 21 through Dec. 16. The New Hampshire Art Association also has several exhibitions at its NHAA’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery (136 State St., Portsmouth) on view now through Sept. 26. “Landscapes – Real & Imagined” features paintings by Peter Anderson. “Circle of Life” is a themed show featuring works by multiple artists. “The Shop: Photographs of European Auto of Rye” features work by Carol Van Loon. “And What a Time it’s Been” features a compilation of new works created by painters JoAnn Portalupi and Shawn Pelech during the past 18 months of pandemic living, and will include a conversation with the artists at the gallery on Sunday, Sept. 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. Visit nhartassociation.org or call 431-4230.

• Art 3 Gallery (44 W. Brook St., Manchester, 668-6650, art3gallery.com) has an exhibit, “Think Outside the Box,” on view now through Sept. 30, featuring experimental pieces in a variety of media created by local artists during the pandemic.

• Creative Framing Solutions (89 Hanover St., Manchester) features work by different New Hampshire Art Association artists every month. The artists for September are Ellen Marlatt, Eileen Belanger and Elizabeth Craumer. There will be an artist reception on Friday, Sept. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. Visit nhartassociation.org or call 431-4230.

• A new community art installation, “1,000 Cranes for Nashua, is on display now in The Atrium at St. Joseph Hospital (172 Kinsley St., Nashua). It features more than 1,000 origami paper cranes created by hundreds of Nashua-area kids, adults and families since April. Visit nashuasculpturesymposium.org.

• The Women’s Caucus for Art’s New Hampshire Chapter presents an exhibit, “Kick-Start!, at Twiggs Gallery (254 King St., Boscawen; 975-0015, twiggsgallery.wordpress.com) from Sept. 11 through Oct. 31, with an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 1 to 3 p.m. The shoe-themed exhibit will feature paintings, sculptures, artist books, drawings and mixed media pieces.

• The New Hampshire Art Association presents its 22nd annual Joan L. Dunfey Exhibition at the NHAA Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery (136 State St., Portsmouth) from Sept. 29 through Nov. 28. It features artwork in a variety of media by regional NHAA members and non-members that follows the theme “Portals.” Visit nhartassociation.org or call 431-4230.

• The Kimball Jenkins Estate (266 N. Main St., Concord, 225-3932, kimballjenkins.com) presents its “Salon 2021” exhibition from Nov. 6 through Jan. 6. The exhibition features offbeat and experimental works in a variety of media by regional artists with diverse studio practices and artistic approaches.

• Manchester art gallery Kelley Stelling Contemporary presents an exhibition, “The Dysfunction of Social Practice,at the Kimball Jenkins Estate (266 N. Main St., Concord). The exhibition, which opens on Nov. 20, will feature paintings, sculpture and performance works by five New Hampshire artists. Visit kelleystellingcontemporary.com.

Fests and fairs

• The annual TEAM Fall Equinox Festival will take place along Swasey Parkway in downtown Exeter on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will feature live music, artist vendors, local food, yoga, activities for kids and more. Admission is a suggested donation of $10 per person or $20 per family. Visit teamexeter.com.

• The ​last two Concord Arts Markets of the season will take place on Saturdays, Sept. 18 and Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rollins Park (33 Bow St., Concord). The juried outdoor market features a variety of art and crafts by local artists and craftspeople. Visit concordartsmarket.net.

• The Canterbury Artisan Festival returns to Canterbury Shaker Village (288 Shaker Road, Canterbury, 783-9511, shakers.org.) on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual event celebrates artisanal, handcrafted works and features live music and demonstrations. Admission costs $12 for adults, $6 for Village members, and is free for youth and young adults under age 25.

• The Capital Arts Fest, hosted by the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., outside the League of NH Craftsmen headquarters (49 S. Main St., Concord). The fair will feature contemporary and traditional crafts by League members and invited artisans, live music, pop-up street theater, dance performances, author presentations and more. Visit nhcrafts.org or call 224-3375.

• The Beaver Brook Association (117 Ridge Road, Hollis, 465-7787, beaverbrook.org) hosts its 40th annual Fall Festival and Nature Art Show on Saturday, Sept. 25, and Sunday, Sept. 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature art by regional artists, children’s art, live music, live animal demonstrations, guided hikes and natural products for sale.

• Girls at Work, a Manchester-based nonprofit that empowers girls through woodworking and building, will host its inaugural Women’s Artisan Fair on Friday, Oct. 15, and Saturday, Oct. 16. The fair will feature handcrafted fashion pieces, home goods, paintings and other visual arts by women artisans. More information is TBA. Visit girlswork.org or call 345-0392.

Classical Music

•​ Two piano concerts are coming to the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St., Concord). Richard Dowling performs “The World’s Greatest Piano Masterpieces” on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 at the door or $23 online. William Ogmundson performs American piano music on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. That concert is free. Call 344-4747 or visit ccca-audi.org.

•​ Symphony New Hampshire’s opening night concert will take place on Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Keefe Center for the Arts (117 Elm St., Nashua). The concert will feature Frank Ticheli’s There Will Be Rest, a tribute to health care workers and those lost during the pandemic, followed by Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds and the concert chamber orchestra suite of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Visit symphonynh.org.

•​ The New Hampshire Philharmonic presents “From Darkness to Hope” at Seifert Performing Arts Center (44 Geremonty Dr., Salem) on Saturday, Oct. 16, and Sunday, Oct. 17. The concert will feature Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. Visit nhphil.org.

•​ The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra’s fall concert will be held at The Music Hall Historic Theater (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, themusichall.org, 436-2400) on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 3 p.m. The concert will feature Tchaikovsky’s Tempest, Julius Eastman’s “Gay Guerilla” and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Tickets cost $25 to $35 for adults, $25 to $30 for seniors age 60 and up and $20 for students.

•​ Symphony New Hampshire presents “Suites and Schubert” on Friday, Nov. 5, at St. Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church (39 Chandler St., Nashua). The concert will feature music by Bach, Schubert and Florence Price, the first African American female composer to have her music performed by a major symphony orchestra in 1933. Notable pieces will include Price’s Suite of Dances, Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3, “Air on a G String,” and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5. Visit symphonynh.org.

Film

• The Silent Film Series at the Flying Monkey (39 S. Main St. in Plymouth, flyingmonkeynh.com, 536-2551) continues through the fall, with screenings accompanied by live music performed by Jeff Rapsis. On Thursday, Sept. 9, catch The Shakedown (1929). On Thursday, Oct. 21, the film is The Phantom Of the Opera (1925), starring Lon Chaney. On Wednesday, Nov. 10, it’s The Big Parade (1925). For all films, doors open at 6 p.m. and the movie starts at 6:30 p.m. General admission costs $10.

Fathom Events has a full slate of anniversary screenings and other special movie screenings this fall. Upcoming screenings include the 35th-anniversary screening of Labyrinth (PG, 1986, David Bowie) at the AMC Londonderry and the Regal Fox Run in Newington Sept. 12 at 3 and 7 p.m. and Sept. 13 and Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.; Forever Golden: A celebration of The Golden Girls featuring a screening of some of the series episodes on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at Cinemark Rockingham Park in Salem and Regal Fox Run in Newington; Citizen Kane (1941) on Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. at Cinemark Rockingham Park and Regal Fox Run (where it will also screen at 7 p.m.) and on Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. at both locations; and Carrie (R, 1976) at AMC Londonderry and Regal Fox Run on Sept. 26 at 3 and 7 p.m. and on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. Find a complete roster of upcoming events and purchase tickets at fathomevents.com.

Rex Theatre (23 Amherst St. in Manchester; 668-5588, palacetheatre.org) has several movies on the schedule this fall. As part of its Movies for a Cause series, catch recent classics (1980s and after) at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12 and benefit a local organization. Next up on the schedule: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (PG, 1989) on Sept. 14, Field of Dreams (PG, 198 ) on Sept. 15, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (R, 2001) on Sept. 21, Serial Mom (R, 1994) on Sept. 22, Frankenweenie (R, 2012) on Oct. 17, and The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG, 1993) on Oct. 18. Also on the schedule for the Rex: Nosferatu (1922), the silent film starring Max Schreck and directed by F.W. Murnau,will screen with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10.

Telluride by the Sea returns to the Music Hall (28 Chestnut St. in Portsmouth; themusichall.org, 436-2400) Friday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 19. This year’s new (not yet widely released) films on the lineup include director Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, the film A Hero from Iran, the Maggie Gyllenhaal-directed The Lost Daughter, The Hand of God from Italy, the documentary Cow and the documentary The Real Charlie Chaplin. Tickets to individual films cost $20 and packages including all films and special events and seating are also available.

• Jeff Rapsis will also be performing at silent films screening at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre (Main Street in Wilton; wiltontownhalltheatre.com). Drifting (1923) will screen on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 10, it’s The White Tiger (1923). On Friday, Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. it’s The Blackbird (1923). On Saturday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m. it’s Outside the Law (1920) and The Unholy Three (1925). On Sunday, Oct. 31, at 2 p.m. it’s Where East is East (1929). On Sunday, Nov. 14, it’s Hot Water (1924), starring Harold Lloyd. On Sunday, Nov. 28, catch Paths to Paradise (1925) and Hands Up! (1926). All Sunday films start at 2 p.m.; suggested donation is $10.

• Be part of the film festival jury at the 24th annual Manhattan Short Film Festival, which will screen Friday, Oct. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 3, at NHTI in Concord (in Sweeney Hall). Watch the 10 shorts that made it to the final round (out of 960 entries from 70 countries) and then vote for the film you think should win. Admission costs $10. The batch of 10 films will screen Friday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 2, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 3, at 2 p.m. Find information about the films at manhattanshort.com.

The Invisible Man meets The Wolf Man

Two Universal monster movie classics are getting a double feature release in theaters on Saturday, Oct. 30. Catch 1933’s The Invisible Man (starring Claude Rains and Gloria Stuart) and 1941’s The Wolf Man (also starring Rains as well as Ralph Bellamy, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr.) starting at 1 p.m. at AMC Londonderry 10 (16 Orchard View Dr.), Cinemark Rockingham Park 12 (15 Mall Road in Salem) and Regal Fox Run Stadium 15 (45 Gosling Road in Newington). Tickets cost $12.50. Find more information at Fathom Events (fathomevents.com).

Food

Tastings, Classes, Workshops & Meals

• The Women’s Fellowship of the Union Congregational Church (71 Main St.) will host a lasagna dinner on Thursday, Sept. 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The dinner will feature a spread of homemade meat and vegetable lasagnas, along with tossed salads, Italian breads, assorted home-baked pies and more. Tickets will be sold at the door only (no reservations). The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. To-go containers are also available. Find the church on Facebook @uccunionnh.

• LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst; 14 Route 111, Derry) has several cooking and wine pairing classes coming up on its schedule at both locations; the next two, set for Wednesday, Sept. 15, and Thursday, Sept. 16, both in Derry at 6 p.m. will respectively cover classic wine and chocolate pairings and knife skills. A similar knife skills class is planned for the Amherst space on Wednesday, Sept. 22, also at 6 p.m. Visit labellewinery.com for the full schedule.

• The Bedford Village Inn (2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford) will continue its summer dinner series with a New Orleans dinner on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m. on its Grand Terrace. The five-course dinner will feature New Orleans-inspired options, and each course will be paired with a classic handcrafted New Orleans cocktail. Tickets are $125 per person (event is open to attendees ages 21 and up only). Visit bedfordvillageinn.com.

• Join LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst) at its Amherst location for a beer recipes cooking class on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. Attendees will get to enjoy a sample of several items cooked with beer, including beer-battered fish tacos, bratwurst in beer with sauerkraut and stout beer chocolate cheesecake. Wine pairings and recipe cards will also be provided. Admission is $32.70 per person. Visit labellewinery.com.

• The next boxed Greek dinner to go, a drive-thru takeout event at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (68 N. State St., Concord), is happening on Sunday, Oct. 10, from noon to 1 p.m. Orders are being accepted now for boxed meals, featuring half lemon roasted chicken. The event is drive-thru and takeout only — email ordermygreekfood@gmail.com or call 953-3051 to place your order. For details on any future takeout events at the church, visit holytrinitynh.org.

• LaBelle Winery will host classes in decorative focaccia bread making, first at its Derry location (14 Route 111) on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m., and then at its Amherst location on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 6 p.m. Founder and winemaker Amy LaBelle will walk participants through how to make their own focaccia bread from scratch and how to decorate it with fresh herbs and vegetables to create an edible work of art. The cost is $49.05 per person (including tax) and all ingredients and tools will be provided. Visit labellewinery.com.

• Local chowder and chili makers will compete for the best dish during the 20th annual Lake Sunapee Chowder and Chili Challenge, happening on Sunday, Oct. 17, from noon to 3 p.m. at Sunapee Harbor. A kids tent and local vendors are also expected. See the event on Facebook @chowderchallenge.

• Enjoy Thanksgiving afternoon tea with The Cozy Tea Cart of Brookline, happening on Sunday, Nov. 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Gatherings at The Colonel Shepard House (29 Mont Vernon St., Milford). In addition to teas, food options will include multiple types of tea breads and sandwiches, seasonal pastries and more. Tickets are $39.95 per person and reservations are required. Visit thecozyteacart.com.

• The Bedford Village Inn (2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford) will hold its annual Able Ebenezer FORUM Ale Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 18, from 6 to 9 p.m. in its Charolais Room. The event will start with a cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a four-course dinner, with each course paired with a craft beer selection from Able Ebenezer Brewing Co. of Merrimack. Tickets are $79 per person and must be purchased in advance. Visit bedfordvillageinn.com.

• Have a Feast of the Pilgrims at the Colby Hill Inn (33 The Oaks, Henniker) on Saturday, Nov. 20. The multi-course wine dinner will feature the chef’s interpretations of some of the foods that could have been served at the original Thanksgiving feast, based on records of what was available during the fall harvest in Plymouth. Live music will also be featured. The cost is $130 per person. Visit colbyhillinn.com.

Festivals

• Join The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St., Dover) for the NH Maker & Food Fest, set for Saturday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. New this year, the event is offering a “pay what you can” admission (suggested donations are $5 per person). Visit childrens-museum.org.

• The Egyptian Food Festival is due to return to St. Mary and Archangel Michael Coptic Orthodox Church of Nashua (39 Chandler St.) from Friday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 19. Visit stmarycoptsnh.org or follow the church on Facebook @stmaryandarchangelmichael.

Glendi

Get your pastichio, Greek meatballs, baklava and more at Glendi, a three-day festival celebrating Greek culture with food, live music, dancing and crafts. The long-running event will return for the first time since 2019 to St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (650 Hanover St., Manchester), from Friday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 19. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (with food service ending at 9:30 p.m.) and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Visit stgeorgeglendi.com or follow festival happenings on Facebook @glendinh.

• Food options from around the world will be represented at the Concord Multicultural Festival, returning on Sunday, Sept. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to a new location at Keach Park (Newton Ave., Concord). Food vendors include restaurants and community members, and the festival also features live entertainment, artisan vendors and more. Visit concordnhmulticulturalfestival.org.

• Join The Stone Church Music Club (5 Granite St., Newmarket) for Oysterfest, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 19, from noon to 5 p.m., an outdoor event that will feature several local oyster farms, craft beer and live music. Visit stonechurchrocks.com.

• Don’t get yourself in a pickle, because the Winchester Pickle Festival is due to return to downtown Winchester on Saturday, Sept. 25. An event celebrating the town’s Polish heritage, the festival will feature local vendors all day, free Patriot Pickle Co. pickles on the Town Hall lawn (corner of Main Street and Route 119) until they are gone, and photo opportunities at noon on the gazebo with “Mr. Pickle.” Visit winchesternhpicklefestival.org for a full schedule of events.

• Join Tuscan Market (9 Via Toscana, Salem) for Passeggiata: Walk of Wine, an annual festival featuring more than 40 Italian and world wines along with several stationary and passed appetizers happening on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person. Visit tuscanbrands.com.

• The New London Rotary Club and the Lake Sunapee Region Chamber of Commerce are organizing the second annual New London Food Truck Festival on the Town Green on Sunday, Sept. 26, from noon to 4 p.m. More than 10 local food trucks are expected to attend, and a beer tent and live music from Peabody’s Coal Train are expected as well. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for kids (foods are sold separately per item), with proceeds benefiting the Rotary Club’s Charitable Foundation. Visit lakesunapeeregionchamber.com.

• Join Black Bear Vineyard & Winery (289 New Road, Salisbury) for its annual Harvest Weekend on Saturday, Sept. 25, and Sunday, Sept. 26. Attendees can enjoy live music outside between 1 and 5 p.m. each day, and will also have the opportunity to learn how grapes are processed from vine to wine. Food trucks will be on site all day too. Reservations are not required, but bringing your own chairs is recommended. Visit blackbearvineyard.com.

Apple Harvest Day returns to downtown Dover on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day-long family event features more than 300 vendors, food, live entertainment and more. Visit dovernh.org/apple-harvest-day.

• Join The Salvation Army of Nashua for its annual Applefest, a two-day event happening on Saturday, Oct. 2, and Sunday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, at Sullivan Farm (70 Coburn Ave., Nashua). Applefest features a variety of family-friendly fall activities, like apple picking, hay rides, scarecrow making, pumpkin painting and more. Demonstrations from local restaurants and groups will take place throughout both days, and fresh cider, apple pies, ice cream, hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for sale. Visit nne.salvationarmy.org/nashua/applefest.

New Hampshire PoutineFest Spooktacular

A special Halloween edition of the event beloved by poutiniacs from all over New England, the New Hampshire PoutineFest Spooktacular will take place at Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten (221 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack) on Saturday, Oct. 23, with VIP entry at 11:30 a.m. and general admittance at 12:45 p.m. Restaurants, food trucks and other vendors will be vying for your palate for the best poutine dish, and the festival will also feature craft beer, children’s activities, games and a DJ. Attendees are encouraged to dress in costume. Tickets to the festival go on sale on Saturday, Sept. 18, and are $39.99 for general admission, $49.99 for VIP admission, $14.99 for kids ages 6 to 12 with sampling and free for kids ages 6 to 12 with no sampling and for kids ages 5 and under. Visit nhpoutinefestspooktacular.eventbrite.com. Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

• Join the Junior Service League of Concord for its annual Fall Festivus, returning on Thursday, Nov. 4, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. This year’s event will be held at The Barn at Bull Meadow (63 Bog Road, Concord) and will feature live music and beer, wine and food samples from local vendors. Tickets are $25 per person or $80 for a group of four. Visit jslconcord.org.

Drinks

• Join the Wilmot Public Library (11 N. Wilmot Road) for Brewing in New Hampshire: An Informal History of Beer in the Granite State from Colonial Times to the Present, a program scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m., in partnership with New Hampshire Humanities. Presenter Glenn Knoblock will explore the history of the state’s beer and ale brewing industry from the Colonial days to today’s modern breweries and brew pubs. Visit nhhumanities.org.

• The Kingston Brewfest will return for a second year on Saturday, Sept. 25, from noon to 4 p.m., at 148 Main St. in Kingston. The event features a variety of local beer and food options, and live music is also planned. Tickets are $35 per person for full access to beer tastings, or $5 for designated drivers. Donations to the Kingston Volunteer Fire Association will also be accepted. Follow them on Facebook @kingstonbrewfest.

Red, White & Brew, a craft beer and wine festival presented by Veterans Count, returns to Funspot (579 Endicott St. N., Laconia) on Saturday, Sept. 25, with VIP admittance from noon to 1 p.m. and general admittance from 1 to 4 p.m. The event also features food, a car show, raffles, an auction and live music from The Bob Pratte Band. General admission is $35 and VIP admission is $50. Admission for all attendees includes sampling tickets and a commemorative glass while supplies last. Visit vetscount.org/nh/events/red-white-brew-craft-beer-wine-festival.

• To Share Brewing Co. (720 Union St., Manchester) will host an Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 1 to 9 p.m. featuring food specials, beer releases, stein hoisting competitions and more. Visit tosharebrewing.com.

• Northwoods Brewing Co. (1334 First New Hampshire Turnpike, Northwood) is holding its inaugural Fall Fest on Saturday, Sept. 25, featuring a trunk show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with more than 20 New England makers and small businesses, plus live music throughout the day, the release of a new Oktoberfest brew, fall cocktail specials, specialty food menus and more. Visit northwoodsbrewingcompany.com.

• LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst) is holding a blindfolded wine tasting at its Amherst location on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m. Attendees will try five wines while blindfolded during the session, relying on their senses of smell and taste to guess which is which. Admission is $49.05 per person (including tax) and registration is required. Visit labellewinery.com.

• The Powder Keg Beer Festival returns to Swasey Parkway in Exeter on Saturday, Oct. 2, with two sessions, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. The event is presented by the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce and the Exeter Parks and Recreation department, featuring more than 200 different beers, ciders and hard seltzers to taste from a variety of local vendors. In place of the chili this year, which is normally a staple of the festival, food trucks offering all kinds of options are expected to attend. Tickets are $35 per person, or $10 for designated drivers. Visit powderkegbeerfest.com.

• LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst) will host the fourth and final session of its Walks in the Vineyard series on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m. Vineyard manager Josh Boisvert and wine educator Marie King will lead attendees on an educational walk throughout LaBelle’s Amherst vineyard, focused on the vines’ overall life cycles. You’ll also have an opportunity to taste four different types of wines throughout the session. Admission is $27.25 per person and includes tax. Visit labellewinery.com.

• The Milford Rotary and Lions Clubs are working on presenting a lineup of vendors for two nights of beer, wine and spirits tastings during the Milford Pumpkin Festival, on Friday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 9, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the Community House Lawn (Union Street, Milford). The cost is $15 per person for 10 tasting tickets before Oct. 4 and $20 per person after Oct. 4. Visit milfordpumpkinfestival.org/bws-tastings.

• The New Hampshire Brewfest will return to Cisco Brewers (35 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth) on Saturday, Oct. 9, with VIP admittance from noon to 1 p.m. and general admittance from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission ranges from $50 to $65 and includes access to tastings from a variety of New England-area craft breweries. Food options from local food trucks will also be available at an additional cost. Visit nhbrewfest.com.

• Don’t miss the Great Oktoberfest, happening on Saturday, Oct. 16, at Anheuser-Busch Tour Center & Biergarten (221 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack). Two sessions are available, from noon to 3 p.m. or from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., when attendees will get to taste more than two dozen fall and winter brews, including several authentic German varieties. The festival will also feature European-style food, live music, food trucks, games and more. Tickets start at $45 general admission and $15 for designated drivers, with proceeds supporting the Merrimack Rotary Club. Visit greatoktoberfest.com.

• Save the date for the Manchester Brewfest, which is due to return to Arms Park (Commercial Street, Manchester) on Sunday, Oct. 31, with VIP admittance from noon to 1 p.m. and general admittance from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $40 general admission, $50 for VIP admission and $15 for designated drivers. Visit manchesterbrewfest.com.

Lakes Region Uncorked returns on Thursday, Nov. 4, to the Church Landing at Mill Falls (281 Daniel Webster Hwy., Meredith), with doors opening at 5 p.m. The event features tastings of more than a dozen area craft breweries and wineries, plus food samples, a silent auction, live music, raffles and more. General admission is $50 per person. There is also a premier ticket rate of $90 per person, which grants you access to a celebrity chef demonstration and tasting, with seatings at either 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit Lakes Region Community Services. Visit lakesregionuncorked.com.

• Get your ticket now to the eighth annual Distiller’s Showcase of Premium Spirits, happening on Thursday, Nov. 4, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown (700 Elm St., Manchester). The centerpiece of New Hampshire Distiller’s Week, the event features more than 700 spirits and foods from more than 25 restaurants to sample. Tickets are $60 per person, with proceeds benefiting the New Hampshire Food Bank. Visit distillersshowcase.com.

Books

Kerri Arsenault presents Mill Town:Reckoning with What Remains at The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, themusichall.org) on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $60 for a small table with two copies of the book included.

Margaret Porter presents The Limits of Limelight at Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St., Concord, gibsonsbookstore.com) on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 6 p.m.

• Bookery Manchester (844 Elm St., Manchester, bookerymht.com) welcomes R.W.W. Greene with his book Twenty Five to Life on Friday, Sept. 10, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Regina Hansen will be at Bookery Manchester (844 Elm St., Manchester, bookerymht.com) on Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 5 to 6 p.m., presenting her book The Coming Storm.

Lara Bricker presents Dead on Deadline at The Word Barn (66 Newfields Road, Exeter) on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. Registration is required. Tickets are a suggested donation of $5 per person. Bricker will also be at Water Street Bookstore (125 Water St., Exeter) on Friday, Sept. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m. Visit waterstreetbooks.com.

Daniel Cantor Yalowitz presents Reflections on the Nature of Friendship at the Toadstool Bookshop (12 Depot Square, Peterborough, toadbooks.com) on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m.

• Barnes & Noble (1741 S. Willow St., Manchester, barnesandnoble.com) welcomes Gigi Georges with her book Downeast: Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America, on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m.

• A Freethinker’s Corner(652 A Central Ave., Dover, 343-2437, freethinkerscorner.com) will host a multi-author book signing and sale on Saturday, Sept. 18, from noon to 4 p.m., and a multi-author children’s book signing and sale on Saturday, Sept. 25, from noon to 4 p.m.

• Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St., Concord, gibsonsbookstore.com) welcomes Jeff Benedict with his book The Dynasty on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m.

Emma Philbrick will be at Barnes & Noble (1741 S. Willow St., Manchester, barnesandnoble.com) signing her book Arkivestia on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 1 p.m.

• Humor writer David Sedaris comes to the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, ccanh.com) on Sunday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $49.

• Barnes & Noble (1741 S. Willow St., Manchester, barnesandnoble.com) hosts a book signing with Dianne Tolliver for her book Life Everyone Has a Story on Saturday, Oct. 9, at 10 a.m.Teks and Trails

Hike Happy

Heading into fall is the perfect time to go for a hike, with less heat and humidity, fewer bugs, and views that turn even more picturesque as the leaves start to change. All of this, along with the physical and mental health benefits, is a recipe for hiking happy. Find out how to do it safely, plus check out four southern New Hampshire hikes that prove you don’t have to hit the White Mountains to get in a challenging — but doable — climb.

Hiking well

Hit the trails for a healthy body and mind

by Angie Sykeny
asykeny@hippopress.com

From building muscle strength to lowering stress levels, hiking can have all kinds of benefits for your physical and mental wellness.

“Whether it’s daily, every other day or even just once a week, it’s really worth it for your health to go hiking regularly and spend some time out in nature,” said Lucie Villeneuve, outdoor guide and owner of outdoor guide service Outdoor ESCAPES New Hampshire.

Traversing a mixed terrain of rocks and boulders, tree roots, hills, streams and other natural landscape elements requires a variety of movements, Villeneuve said, giving you a unique full-body workout that you can’t get on an exercise machine or uniform walking surface.

“You’re using pretty much all of your muscles,” she said. “With every step, you’re twisting your ankles in different directions, and you’re putting the brakes on and off with your legs when you’re going uphill and downhill.”

For the same reason, hiking can lead to better balance, stability and coordination, particularly if you’re hiking a mountain where you may need to do some climbing.

“When you’re going up from one piece of rock to the next on your hands and feet, you’re essentially using your whole body, which really improves your balance,” said Conor Benoit, New Hampshire outdoor guide and owner of CMB Guide Service.

Hiking can also be a great workout for cardio and weight loss, depending on your pace and how rigorous the trail is. You could burn as much as 3,000 calories in a day of hiking, Villeneuve said, not only from the physical exertion but also from your body’s work to regulate your body temperature.

“If it’s hot or cold out, your body is going to burn more calories,” she said.

If you wear a backpack to carry some extra water, snacks and emergency supplies which you should that will also enhance your workout, Benoit said.

“A few pounds on your back may not sound like much, but by the time you [finish the hike] you’re definitely going to feel it,” he said.

Unlike working out on an exercise machine that you can turn off at any point, “you can’t just quit halfway” during a hike, Benoit said, which can help you push yourself to new physical limits. Setting a goal with a tangible reward, like reaching an interesting landmark or a place with beautiful scenery, can also motivate you to keep going.

“I’ve seen people consistently impressed with how far they are able to make it,” Benoit said. “When you make that commitment to yourself and have the mindset of ‘I’m so close; just a little farther,’ you see that you can accomplish more than you originally thought was possible.”

Hiking is good not just for the body but also for the mind, Villeneuve said. To get the most out of your hike, she recommends making a conscious effort to “be in the present moment,” push away thoughts about what you’ve got going on back home, and home in on your natural surroundings.

“You need to practice having awareness,” she said. “Use all of your senses to take it in: smell the fresh air; feel the temperature of the air; see the views that are right in front of you.”

Conversely, you could use hiking as an opportunity to “reflect [on] and process” things that have been on your mind, away from technology and other distractions, Benoit said, so that you can return to your home and work life with renewed energy and focus.

“That physical and mental exhaustion really sets you up to be more clear-headed throughout the week,” he said. “You leave [the hike] with less than what you carried in, feeling mentally lighter.”

Fall in line

Hiking safely as summer winds down

By Matt Ingersoll
mingersoll@hippopress.com

Photo courtesy of Jake King of Thrive Outdoors in Manchester.

Crisp weather and colorful foliage are great reasons to hit the hiking trails this fall — as long as you’re prepared for a change in the seasons that will bring shorter days and cooler temperatures.

“Fall is my favorite season to hike in behind winter. You don’t have to worry quite as much about sweating and losing all of your moisture,” said Jake King of Thrive Outdoors, a team-building and leadership assessment organization based in Manchester. “At the same time, fall nights get much cooler. … So if you’re stuck, any perspiration or moisture you have is now going to be used against you, whereas in the summer it really does help you cool off.”

One of the most important things to keep in mind when hiking in the fall is that the later in the season, the quicker it will get dark out. With however many hours of daylight you have, King said a good rule of thumb is to give yourself a third of it to get in and two thirds to get out.

“Always give yourself that extra time on the way out,” he said. “A lot of people will like to split it 50/50, thinking they’re going to get out just as quickly as they went in, but then if something goes south, you have no time to play with. … Remember that it’s going to get darker sooner, and then as soon as it does it’s going to get cooler.”

Rick Silverberg, chairman and leadership training coordinator of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s New Hampshire chapter, said the differences in elevation also play a role, as you’re more likely to encounter exposed areas above the trees.

“As soon as you get into those higher elevations, the temperatures get colder … [and] you have a lot more wind,” he said. “In the fall it’s much more dramatic.”

You don’t always have to start your hike dressed in layers. In fact, King said it’s much easier to control your body temperature level by layering up rather than down.

“You should always have a base layer … that sits up against the skin but isn’t too tight, and then a mid-layer and top layer that is wind- and water-resistant,” he said. “Don’t start with all of them on, though. Even if it’s a bit chilly, don’t start warm, because you may find that you’re overheating and once you start sweating, it’s too late. … You’ve broken that seal, so to speak.”

Early on in the fall, you won’t typically encounter a lot of frost. But as the season gets deeper into October and November, morning frost on certain surfaces has the potential to be hazardous.

“A frosty rock can be slippery,” King said. “The other thing to remember is if it starts to warm up during the day, then frost is going to turn into moisture, which is what you want to avoid.”

It’s good to remain mindful too of when specific trails or parks close for the season, which can be any time from mid-September to November depending on where you go.

If you’re heading out for views of the foliage, Silverberg said peak times of the year will differ in the state — far northern areas will usually see their peak a few weeks earlier than those in the south. It will also get colder at night much faster after all the leaves fall from the trees.

Tough but doable

A few challenging, family-friendly hikes

By Meghan Siegler
msiegler@hippopress.com

If you’re not ready to tackle the state’s 4,000-footers but want to take a real hike — as opposed to a walk on a rail trail that you could do wearing flip-flops — here are a few peaks in southern New Hampshire.

Mt. Monadnock. Photo courtesy of Matt Ingersoll.

Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey

There are a few ways to get to the top of Mount Monadnock, which stands at 3,165 feet — and none of them is a walk in the park. According to nhstateparks.com, “all routes to the top are steep and rocky.” There are three main access points. Monadnock HQ (169 Poole Road), which provides access to the main trails and is the most direct route to the top, and Old Toll Road (9 Halfway House Road), which provides access to many side trails and alternative destinations, are both 4-mile hikes that take approximately four hours to complete. Gilson Pond (585 Dublin Road) is a longer, less populated trail for hikers who are looking for solitude; it’s 6 miles and takes about six hours.

What it’s really like: “I was probably 12 or 13 years old the first time I climbed Mt. Monadnock, but I’ve seen kids and adults young and old successfully scale it. It’s a perfect moderately challenging day hike that will take you no more than a few hours each way up and down. What’s great about it is that, unlike having just one route to the top and one back down to the bottom, there are multiple inter-connecting trails of varying difficulty that you can take, all of which are very clearly marked and easy to follow. The shortest and simplest ones are probably either the White Dot Trail or the White Cross Trail. The White Dot has a very gradual level of steepness that starts to get a bit rockier near the top, but once you reach past the treelines, the views on a clear day are breathtaking. Personally, I like to go up via the White Dot and down via the White Cross, because the latter trail is a little bit steeper and will make for a quicker descent.” — Matt Ingersoll

If you go: Reservations are strongly recommended in order to secure a parking spot at any of the three trailheads. Visitors who do not make a reservation will be admitted on a first come, first served basis. Reservations can be made prior to arrival and no later than 3 p.m. that day at nhstateparks.org. The parking pass costs $15 and includes admission for six people in one vehicle.

Mount Kearsarge, Wilmot & Warner

To get to the summit of Mount Kearsarge, which stands at 2,937 feet and features a fire tower and bald face that offers 360-degree views, there are a few options. From Winslow State Park in Wilmot, there are two trails: the 1.1-mile Winslow Trail and the 1.7-mile Barlow Trail. The former is the more challenging option, while the latter is a more gradual climb and offers vistas of the Andover area, Ragged Mountain and Mount Cardigan. The trailhead has a good-sized picnic area and a playground for kids. The Rollins Trail begins at the picnic area in Rollins State Park in Warner and follows the route of the old carriage road for a half mile to the summit. You could also start at the Lincoln Trail at Kearsarge Valley Road, a 5-mile trail that climbs to the Rollins picnic area.

What it’s really like: “I’ve climbed Kearsarge several times with people of varying levels of fitness. I like that you can go up one main trail and down another so you’re getting different views throughout the hike, and saving your knees from the steeper Winslow Trail if you tackle that first and come down the gentler Barlow Trail. My teenagers both enjoyed this hike, though my daughter kept leaving my son and me in the dust, both on the way up and the way down, and we weren’t exactly taking our time. It definitely feels like a workout on the way up, and I’ve stopped for a few quick breathers no matter who I’ve hiked with. The view at the top is nice, though not quite as spectacular as Mount Major’s, in my opinion.” — Meghan Siegler

If you go: Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made online at nhstateparks.org. Parking is limited, but walk-in spaces are available on a first come, first served basis. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 11, and free for kids 5 and under and New Hampshire residents who are 65 and older.

Mount Major, Alton

The 1.5-mile Mt. Major Trail begins at a parking area on Route 11 in Alton. The trail ascends a steep, severely eroded section and has some steep scrambles near the top. At 1.3 miles there are two alternate routes, one that forks to the right and climbs up steep ledges (potentially dangerous when wet or icy), and a detour that diverges left. The Brook Trail is 1.7 miles and begins at the junction of Mt. Major Trail and Belknap Range Trail. Aptly named, this trail features two brook crossings in higher water where “some very creative rock hopping is required to keep your feet dry,” according to belknaprangetrails.org. From there on the grade alternates between easy and moderate. The Boulder Loop Trail starts at the trailhead parking area on Route 11 and offers a somewhat gentler climb, with portions of it being part of a snowmobile trail. It features large boulders that you pass by and sometimes go through. At the summit, you’ll find the remnants of the George Phippen hut built in 1925.

What it’s really like: “First, the views at the top are amazing, looking out onto Lake Winnipesaukee, so it’s a well-worth-it reward for a hike that’s particularly tough at the end. I’ve done this one a few times, and my kids have been there more than once for summer camp field trips. There are moments during the climb where I wondered how kids managed to make it to the top; it’s certainly not easy. But it’s also a pretty popular hike — during the summer the parking lot is almost always overflowing, with cars parked along the main road, so if you’re not a fan of crowds, try to save this one for a weekday.” — Meghan Siegler

If you go: There’s no fee to climb Mount Major or to park; just be prepared to walk quite a ways from your car to the trailhead on a nice summer day when cars spill out onto the road.

Mount Sunapee, Newbury

The summit of Mount Sunapee, with an elevation of 2,743 feet, can be reached via ski trails or a number of hiking trails, including Summit, Lake Solitude and Newbury. According to mountsunapee.com, you can also hike any of the ski trails during the summer. Summit is a 2-mile trail at the lodge at Mount Sunapee. The Lake Solitude trail starts east of the summit, and it’s about a mile to White Ledges, which overlooks Lake Solitude. From there, Lake Solitude is a 0.6-mile hike from the overlook. The 2-mile Newbury Trail continues from Solitude Trail and does not return to the ski area base. The trailhead is near the southern end of Lake Sunapee off Route 103 in the village of Newbury, approximately 3 miles from Mount Sunapee Resort.

What it’s really like: “I just hiked Mount Sunapee for the first time a few weeks ago, and I’m not sure what took me so long to get there. Summit Trail is beautiful, although after all the rain we’d had earlier this summer, there were quite a few muddy spots. There were also some steep-ish ascents that had my quads burning, but those were nicely balanced with less intense stretches of trail. When we crested the summit, the view was a little underwhelming, and the ski lodge seemed out of place (I don’t ski and apparently had no idea what happens at the top of a ski mountain). However, a little exploration led to a gorgeous view of Lake Sunapee and the quaint little towns around it. I do wish we’d had enough time to check out Lake Solitude, but it gives me a good reason to go back soon.” — Meghan Siegler

If you go: There are no parking or hiking fees here, and parking at the resort is plentiful for an easy in, easy out day hike.

Treks and Trails

Jake King of Thrive Outdoors in Manchester shares some of his favorite hikes to take during peak fall foliage season.

Manchester Cedar Swamp Preserve (Country Side Blvd., near Waterford Way, Manchester)
Massabesic Audubon Center Trails (26 Audubon Way, Auburn): “For people who haven’t really gotten out into the wilderness a lot, it’s a good starter experience. It’s flat and easy.”
Nottingcook Forest (Woodhill Hooksett Road and South Bow Road, Bow)
Uncanoonuc Mountains (Mountain Road, Goffstown): “On Uncanoonuc North, you can see bits and pieces of Manchester surrounded by trees, and in the fall, it’s a beautiful sight.”
Welch-Dickey Mountain Trail (Orris Road, Thornton)

Featured photo: Mt. Major in May 2017. Photo courtesy of Matt Ingersoll.

What’re we drinking?

Bartenders talk about serving cocktails in 2021, plus what trends are in the mix

Dan Haggerty and Jeremy Hart weren’t sure what to expect as they prepared to open their new craft cocktail bar and eatery in early February. Although vaccine rollouts were well underway, New Hampshire remained under a state of emergency, with the statewide mask mandate still in effect and spacing restrictions at bars and restaurants in nearly every county.

Three nights into the bartending duo’s first week open at Industry East Bar in downtown Manchester, a friend came in to visit — and later ended up jumping behind the bar herself.

“She was just in the bar checking it out and she goes, ‘It’s really busy. If you guys need any help…’ and so then I was like, ‘Can you come in tomorrow?’” Haggerty said. “So she became kind of our barback and food runner for a little bit, just by being there.”

Jeremy Hart, bartender and co-owner of Industry East Bar in Manchester. Photo by Live Free or Die Design Photography @livefreeordiedesignphoto.

When the last of the restrictions were lifted early in the spring, “it was like the floodgates opened,” according to Haggerty, with a constant turnaround of thirsty customers that dwarfed even what he, Hart and executive chef Jeff Martin saw during their first few weeks. He can count on one hand the number of times that Industry East has closed early, at or before midnight.

“I didn’t think that people would consume as much product as they are consuming,” Haggerty said. “I don’t know if it was just because all they had been spending money on was Amazon and takeout, and so they were like, ‘Oh my God, I’m at a bar, and someone’s actually making me a drink,’ [but] people are consuming food and drink at an insane pace right now.”

In spite of their immediate success, the small team has also encountered challenges along the way, from finding adequate staffing to acquiring quality products for drinks.

Bar managers and bartenders of both new and established restaurants have faced all kinds of similar obstacles over the year and a half that continue to linger today. We spoke with several of them to get a sense of what life has been like behind the bar.

Setting the bar

Kellie Connolly, bar manager at the Copper Door Restaurant in Bedford, was out of work for about three weeks during the initial pandemic shutdown. She returned to a bar that was rendered completely unrecognizable, transformed instead into a “conveyor belt” for takeout orders.

“All of the alcohol was off the bar. Everything had been boxed up and stored away,” Connolly said of the early months of the pandemic. “The beer coolers and wine fridges were full because [we] were now able to utilize those in a takeout fashion. … But besides that, it was an empty hub, no longer anything of what you would have seen at a bar. It was very bizarre.”

Connolly was part of a small team of staff that were brought back originally and included both bartenders and servers. But with no bar in the traditional sense, there was no cocktail mixing.

“No longer were you a bartender. You were just a man on the team and it was everyone in and everyone out. That was kind of the mentality of it,” she said. “We all had positions, whether it was answering phones, running takeout orders, or doing the cleaning. It was all hands on deck.”

The bar would eventually see its alcohol replenished with the return of indoor and outdoor dining. Social distancing restrictions, however, required the Copper Door to use only half of its bar seats, with dividers placed between pairs. But even then, only parties of guests who came to the bar together were able to be in adjacent seats — unless the dividers moved, a single person sitting in one chair would make the chair beside it unusable.

“You could slide a seat down and make a three-person section, [but] you couldn’t move the chairs from one side to the other,” Connolly said. “It was like a game of Tetris, just constant moving. … Reintroducing people to the new landscape and just explaining everything to them how we were doing things was also a big part of the job.”

Bar seats were similarly spaced out at Shopper’s Pub + Eatery in Manchester, which originally closed for about a month and a half, according to general manager Nick Carnes.

“When we initially reopened indoors, we started with about five of our 16 bar and waitstaff,” he said, “and then it was just a solid six-month stretch where it was just myself and one other person every day, all day open to close, just trying to grind everything out by ourselves.”

Spacing is already an inherent challenge at Industry East with only 20 indoor seats. Carnes noted that, with the Residence Inn by Marriott hotel directly next door, Shopper’s tends to see an influx of customers who are traveling for work during the week. Especially in the early days of the pandemic, this meant out-of-staters who were essential travelers.

“Every now and then, you’d have one guy that doesn’t know anybody that just flew into town, he’d sit down and take up three seats [at the bar], and then nobody could sit in those other two seats,” he said. “So it was a mixture of making sure you could come out and have a good night … while keeping everyone else safe and making sure nobody else got sick.”

But overall, Haggerty said the consensus among patrons has been one of both positivity and gratitude.

“I think 99 percent [have been] happy, fun-loving people, being almost extra nice,” he said. “Generally, pretty much everyone is like, ‘Hey, I’m so glad that your profession is still a thing and you guys are open. Thanks so much.’ … But I mean, only a certain percentage of the population is still even coming out. We get people in here every single day that say this is the first place they’ve gone since last March.”

The “Vax.” pictured with Madears co-owner, chef and mixologist Robb Curry, has carrot juice, orange juice, ginger, lemon juice and a simple syrup, and includes a side of either tequila or brandy to “inject” into it. Courtesy photo.

Similarly, the new location of Madear’s Southern Eatery & Bakery in downtown Pembroke that opened last October has introduced many more people in the area to the eatery’s scratch-made Southern concept. Co-owner, chef and mixologist Robb Curry said he and partner Kyle Davis now have a much larger kitchen and bar, as well as nearly twice the dining room capacity as their predecessor on Hanover Street in Manchester.

“For the most part, our guests have been very respectful and understanding,” Curry said of the overall response so far. “I do also see that people at the bar tend to be a lot more understanding because they see more of what’s going on between the kitchen and the front of the house.”

Regulars were also happy to return to the bar at Stella Blu in Nashua when it reopened last year.

“We … had to put time limits in place, but we weren’t having to really use them or say it to people,” front-of-the-house manager and bartender Elissa Drift said. “They were definitely respectful enough to kind of just go with the flow.”

While the Copper Door has steadily maintained a loyal clientele, Connolly said she has noticed a shift in bargoers’ overall habits within the last year to year and a half.

“Happy Hour starts a lot earlier now,” she said. “Normally that was around 4:30, 5 o’clock, but now it’s at 2:30 or 3. … What was the quieter time is now full of people that are just done with working at their house and are coming out for that afternoon cocktail. At least in this area, I feel like the whole flow has altered a little bit.”

Thirsty trends

Since Industry East opened its doors earlier this year, Haggerty has noticed distinct trends in the types of cocktails being ordered.

“The espresso martini is back in full force. I think I’ve made more espresso martinis in the last six months than I’ve made in the last three years,” he said. “A ton of people are ordering cosmos too. … All of those older drinks that kind of went away after the early to mid-2000s, when the craft cocktail movement had a boom, are now back.”

There has also been a significant boom in tequila-based cocktails, and not just because it’s summer. The most popular specialty drink currently on Industry East’s menu is known as the C.R.E.A.M. (as Haggerty explains, an acronym standing for “Cucumber Rules Everything Around Me”). That drink features a cucumber shrub and tequila base with lemon juice, a little bit of jalapeno to offset its sweetness and a cucumber ribbon garnish with salt and pepper.

“Even in February when we opened … everybody has been way into tequila. I can’t explain it,” Haggerty said. “I think maybe a lot of people are just getting into it that maybe hadn’t been, or they were just like, ‘You know what, I’m really tired of drinking vodka.’ … People will drink tequila on the rocks. I’ve also seen people get tequila old-fashioneds.”

Drift agreed that tequila is a leading trend in the cocktail world right now, followed by bourbon and also Aperol spritzers. Options at Stella Blu include a blood orange paloma with fresh pressed juice and a house-made mango habanero salt; a strawberry jalapeno margarita with pureed fruit and a zesty lime salt rim; and a tequila and mezcal-based drink called the Mezcalita, featuring pineapple juice, Cointreau orange liqueur and a smoky-flavored house vanilla bean syrup.

The espresso martini at the Copper Door — called the Rocket — has been among the eatery’s top-selling cocktails, according to Connolly, as well as the restaurant’s blood orange cosmo, which uses Solerno blood orange liqueur, cranberry juice and a freshly squeezed lime; and the “Pepperoncini-Tini,” featuring olive juice, pepperoncini juice and blue cheese-stuffed olives.

Connolly added that a menu of mocktail options was rolled out last year to rave reviews.

“I’ve really seen, especially since Covid, a spike in people coming out and choosing a craft mocktail instead of a cocktail,” he said. “We also have a few unique non-alcoholic beers that have been flying off the shelves.”

Madear’s has had fun with all kinds of creative drinks, including a few that are meant to be satirical of the times, like the “Covid rum punch.” Another one, known simply as the “Vax,” is a mimosa-style cocktail featuring orange, carrot and mango juices, ginger bitters and your choice of an “injected” ounce and a half of tequila or an ounce and a half of brandy.

“All of those are super juices, so the idea was it was something to build the immune system,” Curry said. “It was something that was immensely popular when the vaccinations came out.”

Ready-to-drink canned cocktails are also a major trend. Carnes said they became a game-changer at Shopper’s with the onset of the pandemic when it comes to customer volume.

“The main concern right now is if you don’t have the staff to really maintain with cocktails … the simplicity is where you need to try to make up for it,” he said, “and [the canned cocktails] are all good. It’s not like you’re downgrading by getting one.”

Staffing and production

Consumers may have returned to the bar in droves, but managers say the pandemic has resulted in unprecedented struggles in obtaining product. This goes for everything from specific liquor brands to some of the most arbitrary of cocktail ingredients — and, in some cases, even beer.

“Big names like Budweiser and Coors … have stopped production of bottled beers due to a glass shortage,” Drift said. “So what you see is what you get right now. Whatever is in stock is being blown through, and after that it will just be cans and aluminum bottles, or on draft.”

Early on, Haggerty said even getting basic supplies like silverware and rocks glasses was a challenge, due to the high volume of inventory ordering that took place as restaurants and bars reopened. Finding and maintaining a quality staff has itself also been an issue at times.

“It’s a little better now, but at the start it was like pulling teeth trying to find anyone,” he said.

Staffing in general has been tough at Madear’s, especially behind the bar and at the front of the house, Curry said. Moving out of the Queen City to Pembroke, a much smaller town, Curry said he had the idea that the space would get more of a basic drink crowd. But the opposite has been true, as over the last year he has sold more signature craft cocktails.

“It’s easier for me to get a server than it is a bartender. … Bartending tends to have a lot more responsibility behind it than on the service side, especially in our establishment,” he said. “You’re not only bartending, you’re also a liaison between the back of the house and the front of the house, so you’re at the first step of things coming out.”

Left to right: The Blood Orange Cosmo, the Copper Door “Cosmo” with pomegranate juice, and the Pepperoncini-Tini with olive juice, all from the Copper Door. Courtesy photo.

Stella Blu transitioned to a tip pooling system for its staff, meaning that tips were divided amongst everyone based on the number of hours they work. Drift said that this has been an effective approach thus far at boosting the overall employee morale.

“We found, coming back from all of this, that the tip pool really does drive a better, more cohesive team,” she said. “There’s no ‘That’s my table.’ … I think guests get better service and better attention, and people are more willing to help each other because it’s for the greater good.”

Haggerty noted that a positive aspect to come out of the pandemic has been the renewed sense of solidarity among different places of business, especially for bar staff and waitstaff. He and Hart both picked up bartending shifts at Shopper’s while Industry East was still being built, for instance.

“Now that everyone’s been through the wringer … there’s been almost this revamped, new kind of inter-bar camaraderie,” Haggerty said. “It’s really cool now to be able to see that happening.”

Crafty Cocktails

We asked local bartenders and bar managers which types of cocktails have been trending lately. Here’s a snapshot of some of those drinks and where you can get them.

C.R.E.A.M. (“Cucumber Rules Everything Around Me”)
From behind the bar at Industry East Bar, 28 Hanover St., Manchester, 232-6940, industryeastbar.com

Mi Campo tequila
lemon juice
cucumber shrub
Dolin Blanc vermouth
ancho verde liqueur
jalapeno tincture

The “Rocket” espresso martini
From behind the bar at The Copper Door Restaurant, 15 Leavy Dr., Bedford, 488-2677; 41 S. Broadway, Salem, 458-2033; copperdoor.com

vanilla vodka
Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
dark crème de cacao
freshly brewed espresso

Chocolate coconut macaroon
From behind the bar at Stella Blu, 70 E. Pearl St., Nashua, 578-5557, stellablu-nh.com

Chocolate coconut cream
coconut rum
amaretto liqueur
toasted coconut rim

Blood orange paloma
From behind the bar at Stella Blu, 70 E. Pearl St., Nashua, 578-5557, stellablu-nh.com

tequila
fresh-pressed blood orange juice
squeezed lime
soda float
mango habanero salt

The “Vax”
From behind the bar at Madear’s Southern Eatery & Bakery, 141 Main St., Pembroke, 210-5557, madears603.com

carrot juice
mango juice
orange juice
lime juice
ginger bitters
(optional) tequila or brandy on the side

Industry East Bar’s espresso martini
From behind the bar of Industry East Bar, 28 Hanover St., Manchester, 232-6940, industryeastbar.com

Caffe Borghetti espresso liqueur
Vodka
Orange bitters
Chocolate bitters
Cinnamon tincture

Strawberry jalapeno margarita
From behind the bar of Stella Blu, 70 E. Pearl St., Nashua, 578-5557, stellablu-nh.com

Tequila
Fresh pureed strawberries
Jalapeno-infused simple syrup
Squeezed lime
Zesty lime salt rim

Featured photo: Sandy Rozek, bar and beverage director for the Copper Door. Courtesy photo.

Back to Fun!

Your guide to after-school adventure

The kids are heading back to school, which means it’s time to sign them up for after-school fun! Check out this guide for some ideas to get you started. If we missed a great kid activity, let us know at listings@hippopress.com.

GENERAL

Boys & Girls Club (555 Union St., Manchester, 625-5031, mbgcnh.org; 1 Positive Place, Nashua, 883-0523, bgcn.com; 3 Geremonty Drive, Salem, 898-7709, salembgc.org; 56 Mont Vernon St., Milford, 672-1002, svbgc.org; 55 Bradley St., Concord, 224-1061, centralnhclubs.org; 40 E. Derry Road, Derry, 434-6695, derrybgclub.com; 876 Main St., Laconia, 528-0197, lakeskids.org) offers after-school programs that include homework assistance, sports and recreation, arts and crafts, leadership development, life skills and more. Programs and costs vary at each location, depending on a student’s membership status and school. Call your local branch or visit its website for details.

The Culinary Playground (16 Manning St., Suite 105, Derry, 339-1664, culinary-playground.com) offers cooking classes throughout the year for kids ages 3 and up. Call for details on upcoming programs. The cost starts at $20 for individual classes, with parent-child team cooking classes also available.

Daniel Webster Council Scouts BSA (625-6431, nhscouting.org) is the center of information for the New Hampshire division of Boy Scouts of America. Contact them for information about joining a local troop. Troops set their own start dates, meeting days and times and meeting locations.

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains (1 Commerce Dr., Bedford, 888-474-9686, girlscoutsgwm.org) offers programs for girls in kindergarten through grade 12, focused on leadership-building, including outdoor and STEM activities, sports programs, virtual programming and more. Girls can join existing troops or form a new troop any time. Visit mygs.girlscouts.org to learn how. The membership cost is $40 per girl per year and financial aid is available. Troops set their own start dates, meeting days and times, and meeting locations.

Girls at Work (200 Bedford St., Manchester, 345-0392, girlswork.org) offers programs for girls ages 8 to 14, designed to build confidence, strength and resilience through building with power tools. Fall classes will begin at the end of September (schedule TBA). Open houses are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 15, and Thursday, Sept. 16, from 3 to 6 p.m.

Girls, Inc. of New Hampshire (340 Varney St., Manchester, 623-1117; 27 Burke St., Nashua, 882-6256, girlsincnewhampshire.org) offers a girls-only after-school program that includes media literacy, self-defense, STEM, economic literacy, drug abuse prevention and leadership skill building. The program is open to girls ages 5 and up. The cost is $75 per week and financial aid is available. A preschool program for both boys and girls ages 3 to 5 is available at the Nashua branch only.

Boys & Girls Club of Central NH. Courtesy photo.

Mathnasium of North Manchester (Northside Plaza, 1 Bicentennial Dr., Manchester, 644-1234, mathnasium.com/northmanchester) offers opportunities for kids in elementary, middle and high school to enhance their mathematics skills through a combination of studies and math-themed games. Fall enrollment is open now. The Mathnasium is open Monday through Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m., and Sunday,from 2 to 6 p.m. The program cost varies depending on the number of sessions chosen and the student’s grade.

YMCA Allard Center of Goffstown (116 Goffstown Back Road, Goffstown, 497-4663; a branch of Granite YMCA, graniteymca.org/child-care) offers opportunities for homework support, outdoor play, academic enrichment and more, with before- and after-school care available at select Goffstown schools. After-school care is also available at the Y with transportation from select Goffstown and New Boston schools. Programs are open to students in grades K through 8, during various weekdays throughout the 2021-2022 school year (hours vary by program; call for pricing details).

YMCA of Concord (15 N. State St., Concord, 228-9622; a branch of Granite YMCA, graniteymca.org/child-care) offers opportunities for homework support, outdoor play, academic enrichment and more, with before- and after-school care available at Boscawen (for Boscawen, Penacook and Webster students) and Loudon schools. After-school care is also available on site at select Concord schools and at the Y. Programs are open to students in grades K through 5, during various weekdays throughout the 2021-2022 school year (hours vary by program; call for pricing details).

YMCA of Downtown Manchester (30 Mechanic St., Manchester, 623-3558; a branch of Granite YMCA, graniteymca.org/child-care) offers opportunities for homework support, outdoor play, academic enrichment and more, with before- and after-school care available at select Manchester schools. After-school care is also available at the Y with transportation from select Manchester schools. Programs are open to students in grades K through 5, during various weekdays throughout the 2021-2022 school year (hours vary by program; call for pricing details).

YMCA of Greater Londonderry (206 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, 437-9622; a branch of Granite YMCA, graniteymca.org/child-care) offers opportunities for homework support, outdoor play, academic enrichment and more. Before- and after-school care is available at select Londonderry, Chester and Windham schools. Programs are open to students in grades K through 8, during various weekdays throughout the 2021-2022 school year (hours vary by program; call for pricing details).

YMCA of Greater Nashua (24 Stadium Drive, Nashua, 882-2011; 6 Henry Clay Drive, Merrimack, 881-7778; nmymca.org/child-care/school-aged-child-care) offers before- and after-school programs for kids and teens of all ages at multiple locations, including at both branches, as well as at Mont Vernon Village School (1 Kittredge Road, Mont Vernon) and at Amherst Middle School (14 Cross Road, Amherst). Programs begin Sept. 7 and consist of an array of activities, such as crafts, sports, homework assistance, games, STEM and other educational enrichment activities. Costs vary depending on the program. An open house is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m., at both branches.

YMCA of Strafford County (35 Industrial Way, Rochester, 332-7334; a branch of Granite YMCA, graniteymca.org/child-care) offers opportunities for homework support, outdoor play, academic enrichment and more, with before- and after-school care available at select Dover and Farmington schools. Programs are open to students in grades K through 4, during various weekdays throughout the 2021-2022 school year (hours vary by program; call for pricing details).

YMCA of the Seacoast at Camp Gundalow (176 Tuttle Lane, Greenland, 431-2334; a branch of Granite YMCA, graniteymca.org/child-care) offers opportunities for homework support, outdoor play, academic enrichment and more. After-school care is available with transportation from select Greenland and Portsmouth schools. Programs are open to students in grades K through 8, during various weekdays throughout the 2021-2022 school year (hours vary by program; call for pricing details).

Art

Creative Ventures Gallery (411 Nashua St., Milford, 672-2500, creativeventuresfineart.com) offers a drawing and painting class for kids ages 8 through 12, held weekly on Wednesday. A weekly drawing class for teens will be offered starting in October. The cost is $20 per class.

Kimball-Jenkins School of Art (266 N. Main St., Concord, 225-3932, kimballjenkins.com) offers a free after-school art club for middle and high school students on Tuesdays, from 3:30 to 6 p.m., starting Sept. 29. Participants will learn new art skills and engage in short-term exercises and long-term community art projects.

League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Nashua Retail Gallery (98 Main St., Nashua, 595-8233, nashua.nhcrafts.org/classes) offer workshops and ongoing classes in a variety of crafts throughout the year that are open to teens age 12 and up.

Paint pARTy (135 N. Broadway, Salem, 898-8800, paintpartynh.com) offers weekly drawing and painting classes for kids in grades 1 through 12 throughout the school year. Enrollment is ongoing. The cost is $20 to $25 per class.

Studio 550 Art Center (550 Elm St., Manchester, 232-5597, 550arts.com) offers painting, drawing and clay classes for kids and teens ages 6 and up, starting Sept. 14. Classes are held once a week in six-week sessions. Tuition ranges from $115 to $130.

DRAW, PAINT, COLOR

The Currier Museum Art Center (180 Pearl St., Manchester) is offering a variety of five-week after-school and weekend youth art programs this fall. Kids ages 6 and 7 can learn how to draw sea creatures in “Under the Sea” (starts Sept. 25, with in-person classes on Saturdays from 9 to 10:30 a.m.), and draw and paint real and imaginary creatures in “Crazy Fantastic Creatures” (starts Sept. 22, with in-person classes on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m.). In “Black, White, and Color,” kids ages 7 through 10 will learn about line, shape, texture and pattern, drawing from imagination and observation (starts Sept. 22, with in-person and online classes on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m.). Kids ages 8 through 10 can pay tribute to their pet or favorite animal in “Exploring Pets with Paint” (starts Sept. 25, with in-person and online classes on Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). Comic book lovers ages 9 through 12 can create their own comic book character in “Comics for Kids” (starts Sept. 21, with online classes on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m.). In “Painting and Drawing: Color and Shape,” kids ages 11 through 14 will learn the fundamentals of drawing and acrylic painting (starts Sept. 23, with in-person and online classes on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m.). For teens ages 14 and up there’s “Everyone Can Draw,” which includes step-by-step drawing instruction using pencils, pens, ink and markers (starts Sept. 23, with in-person and online classes on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m.). All classes cost $157.50 for museum members and $175 for non-members. Call 518-4922 or visit currier.org/classes.

DANCE

Alicia’s School of Dance (58 Route 29, Suite 201, Loudon, 406-0416, aliciasschoolofdance.com) offers tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, gymnastics, creative dance and dance fitness programs, beginning in September. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost for one class per week is $55 per month. Any extra classes are $15 per class.

Allegro Dance Academy (100 Factory St., Nashua, 886-7989, allegrodancenh.com) offers ballet, pointe, jazz, acro, musical theater, hip-hop, tap and tumbling programs, beginning in September. Classes are available for kids ages 18 months and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost varies depending on the number of classes taken per week and the child’s age, plus an annual registration fee of $60 per person or $75 per family.

Bedford Dance Center (172 Route 101, Bedford, 472-5141, bedforddancecenter.com) offers classes in ballet, pointe, pre-ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop and tap dance programs, as well as private lessons, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for kids ages 3 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. Early registration online is available now, with a $25 fee per family.

Bedford Youth Performing Company (155 Route 101, Bedford, 472-3894, bypc.org) offers dance, music and theater group and private classes for kids of all ages, beginning Aug. 30. Dance lessons include ballet, tap, jazz, acro, contemporary, lyrical and modern programs. Music classes include voice, piano, guitar, drums and percussion. Theater classes include acting and musical theater performance. The cost varies depending on the type and the length of each class.

Broadway Bound Performing Arts Center (501 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, 429-8844, broadwayboundpac.com) offers jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, tap, tumbling, musical theater and special needs dance programs, as well as private lessons, beginning Sept. 13. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Thursday and Saturday. Tuition varies depending on the class. Call for cost details.

The Cadouxdle Dance Studio (297 Derry Road, Hudson, 459-4392, thecadouxdledancestudio.com) offers programs in creative ballet, jazz, tumbling, ballet and Mommy and Me yoga, as well as private dance lessons, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for students ages 3 and up and are held Monday through Thursday. The cost is $180 for one weekly class for four months ($45 per month), plus a $20 registration fee.

Concord Dance Academy. Courtesy photo.

Concord Dance Academy (26 Commercial St., Concord, 226-0200, concorddanceacademy.com) offers tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, contemporary, pointe and karate programs, beginning Sept. 20. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up, from Monday through Saturday. The cost starts at $75 per month, plus a $35 registration fee per student for the program year, and varies from there depending on the number of classes taken. There is also a drop-in rate of $18 per class session. An open house is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Creative Dance Workshop of Bow (1125 Route 3A, Units A and B, Bow, 225-7711, nhdances.com) offers ballet, hip-hop, pointe, lyrical, jazz, tap and contemporary dance programs, beginning in September. There is a flat rate of $65 per month for your first class. An open house is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 26, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The Dance Company (130 Route 101A, Amherst, 864-8374, thedancecompanyonline.com) offers jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, pointe and hip-hop dance programs, beginning in September. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost varies depending on the number of class hours taken per week, plus a $30 registration fee.

Dance Connection Fitness & Performing Arts (8 Rockingham Road, Windham, 893-4919, danceconnectionnh.com) offers jazz, tap, ballet, gymnastics, hip-hop and cheer dance programs, beginning in September. Classes are held Monday through Thursday and Saturday, and are available for kids in various age groups. Call for schedule and cost details.

Dance Visions Network (699 Mast Road, Pinardville, 626-7654, dancevisionsnetwork.com) offers classes in ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, tap and tumbling, beginning Sept. 13. Classes are available for kids ages 2½ and up. Call for registration and cost details.

Dancesteps Etc. (27 Black Hall Road, Epsom, 736-9019, dancesteps-etc.com) offers jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, contemporary and musical theater programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Thursday and Saturday. The cost varies depending on the number of class hours taken per week and the length of each class.

The Dancing Corner (23 Main St., Nashua, 889-7658, dancingcorner.com) offers classical ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, musical theater, lyrical and Pilates programs, beginning Sept. 8. Classes are available for kids ages 3 and up and are held Monday through Thursday and Saturday. The cost for a seven-week session varies depending on the number of class hours taken per week, starting at $112 for one class per week per session. There is also a $30 annual registration fee. Single classes, with permission from the instructor, are $20.

Dimensions in Dance (84 Myrtle St., Manchester, 668-4196, dimensionsindance.com) offers classes in pre-ballet, ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, hip-hop, lyrical, tap, contemporary and modern dance programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost ranges from $42 to $126 per month, depending on the length of class each week. Open houses are scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., and Thursday, Sept. 2, from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Gen’s Dance Studio (151A Manchester St., No. 5, Concord, 224-0698, find them on Facebook @gensdancestudio) offers ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and tumbling programs, beginning Sept. 13. Classes are available for ages 4 and up (exact schedule still TBA). The cost varies depending on the child’s age and the type of class taken. Open houses are scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for new students only.

Happy Feet Dance School (25 Indian Rock Road, Windham, 434-4437, happyfeetdanceschool.biz) offers ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and contemporary dance programs, beginning Sept. 8. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up. First class rates are $60 per month for 30 minutes, $65 per month for 40 minutes and $70 per month for 55 minutes. Rates for additional classes are $48 per month for 30 minutes, $50 per month for 40-minute classes and $56 per month for 55-minute classes. A rate of $295 per month for unlimited classes is also offered.

Kathy Blake Dance Studios (3 Northern Blvd., Amherst, 673-3978, kathyblakedancestudios.com) offers ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, lyrical and music theater programs, as well as private dance lessons, beginning Sept. 11. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost ranges from $60 to $72 per month, depending on the number of class hours taken per week, plus a $30 registration fee per student. The cost for private dance lessons is $40 per 30-minute lesson, $75 per one-hour lesson.

Londonderry Dance Academy (21 Buttrick Road, Londonderry, 432-0032, londonderrydance.com) offers ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop and contemporary dance programs, beginning in September. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. There is a bi-monthly cost, starting at $100 for a 45-minute class, plus an annual registration fee of $30 per student or $45 per family.

Martin School of Dance (288 Route 101, Bedford, 488-2371, martinschoolofdance.com) offers ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop, tumbling and a variety of other dance programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost varies depending on the child’s age and the number of class hours per week. There is also a registration fee of $25 per child or $50 per family.

McKenna Dance Center (254 N. Main St., Concord, 715-1869, gotomckennas.com) offers classes in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, acro, contemporary and musical theater, beginning Sept. 13. Classes are available for kids ages 18 months and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost starts at $70 per month.

Melissa Hoffman Dance Center (210 Robinson Road, Hudson, 886-7909, melissahoffmandancecenter.info) offers hip-hop, ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, tap and tumble dance programs, beginning in September. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost ranges from $52 to $315 per month, depending on the child’s age and the number of class hours taken per week (with discounted rates for each additional child), plus a $40 registration fee per student, or $55 per family.

Miss Kelsey’s Dance Studio (2626 Brown Ave., Manchester, 606-2820, mkdance.com) offers tap, jazz, ballet, acro, lyrical and musical theater programs, beginning in September. Classes are available for kids ages 1½ and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost for classes starts at $55 per month for a 30-minute class, plus a $30 registration fee per student and an additional registration fee of $15 per family member.

Nancy Chippendale’s Dance Studios (49 Range Road, Building 2, Suite A, Windham, 458-7730, chippswindham.com) offers a variety of recreational and competitive dance programs, including ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and hip-hop, beginning Sept. 10. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost varies depending on the child’s age and the number of class hours per week. Open houses are scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 24, Tuesday, Aug. 31, and Tuesday, Sept. 7, all from 4 to 7 p.m.

New England School of Dance (679 Mast Road, Manchester, 935-7326, newenglandschoolofdance.com) offers classes in ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip-hop and more, beginning Sept. 13. Classes are available for kids ages 18 months and up and are held Monday through Saturday. Costs vary depending on the number of class hours taken per week. Call for cost details. Two open houses are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon, and Thursday, Sept. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m.

New Hampshire Academie of Dance (1 Action Blvd., No. 4, Londonderry, 432-4041, nhadance.com) offers jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical, tap, hip-hop, acro and contemporary dance programs, beginning Sept. 13. Classes are available for preschool-age kids and up and are held Monday through Saturday. An open house is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 26, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

N-Step Dance Center (1134 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 641-6787, nstepdance.com) offers tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, tumbling and contemporary dance programs, beginning Sept. 8. Classes are available for kids ages 18 months and up and are held Monday through Saturday. Most classes range from $55 to $65 in cost.

Rise Dance Studio (125 Northeastern Blvd., Nashua, 402-2706, risedancenh.com) offers ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, modern and contemporary dance programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are held Monday and Wednesday through Saturday. The cost ranges from $75 to $400 per month, depending on the number of class hours per week, plus a one-time registration fee of $35 per student or $45 per family. There is also a drop-in rate of $25 per class.

Showcase Dance & Performing Arts Center (5 Executive Dr., Hudson, 883-0055, showcasehudsonnh.com) offers ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip-hop, tap and a variety of other recreational and competitive dance programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost ranges from $40 to $80 per month, depending on the child’s age and the class length, plus a $50 annual registration fee.

Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater (19 Harvey Road, Units 19 and 20, Bedford, 263-3803, snhdt.org) offers ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop and modern dance programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for kids ages 15 months and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost varies, depending on the child’s age and the number of class hours taken per week. Open houses are scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 28, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Turning Pointe Center of Dance (371 Pembroke St., Pembroke, 485-8710, turningpointecenterofdance.com) offers classes in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and hip-hop, as well as private lessons, beginning Sept. 13. Classes are held Monday through Saturday. The cost starts at $65 per month. Open houses are scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 24, and Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Unbound Dance Academy (237 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett, 714-2821, unbounddanceacademy.com) offers classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, tap, hip-hop, acro and musical theater, beginning Sept. 9. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held from Monday through Saturday. An open house is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 26, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Voter’s School of Dance (341 S. Broadway, Unit 16, Salem, 893-5190, votersdance.com) offers ballet, pointe, tap, hip-hop, lyrical and other dance programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for kids ages 3 and up and are held Monday through Saturday (in-person, Zoom or hybrid classes are available). The cost ranges from $60 to $265 per month, depending on the length of each class, plus an annual registration fee of $35 per child or $50 per family.

TWIRL & DANCE

Ameri-kids Baton & Dance Studio (Auburn, 391-2254, ameri-kids.org) offers baton-twirling and dance in recreational and competitive programs, beginning Sept. 12. Classes are held on Sundays at the Candia Youth Athletic Association (27 Raymond Road, Candia), at 5 p.m. for new twirlers. Classes start at $55 for a 45-minute session, plus an annual $30 registration fee. The cost for private lessons ranges from $25 to $45 depending on the session length.

GYMNASTICS

A2 Gym & Cheer (16B Garabedian Dr., Salem, 328-8130, a2gc.com) offers recreational gymnastics, tumbling and ninja classes, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for ages 18 months and up and are held Monday through Saturday, depending on the age group. The cost varies depending on the class and the amount of time for each. For recreational gymnastics, the cost is $90 per hour per month, $107 for an hour and a half and $125 for two hours. For tumbling and ninja classes, the cost starts at $90 per hour per month.

Flipz the Gym for Kids (Flipz Gymnastics, 14 Chenell Dr., Concord, 224-3223, flipzgymnastics.com) offers gymnastics-based fitness classes for ages 12 months to 7 years, as well as tumbling classes for kids ages 8 to 14. The gym is open six days a week at various times for one-hour-long classes. The cost varies for each.

Gymnastics Village (13 Caldwell Dr., Amherst, 889-8092, gymnasticsvillage.com) offers gymnastics programs and ninja and tumbling classes, beginning Sept. 1. Classes are available for girls and boys ages 18 months and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost starts at $21 for a one-hour class.

Gym-Ken Gymnastics (184 Rockingham Road, Windham, 434-9060, gymkengymnastics.com) offers gymnastics, tumbling, parkour and other programs, beginning Aug. 29. Classes are available for boys and girls ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost for classes ranges from $190 to $210 per 10-week session with one class per week, plus a $50 annual registration fee per child (maximum $110 registration fee per family).

Impact Gymnastics (301 River Road, Bow, 219-0343, impact-gymnastics.com) offers a variety of recreational gymnastics and tumbling programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for kids ages 3 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost ranges from $75 to $140 per month, depending on the length of the class.

Nashua School of Gymnastics (30 Pond St., Nashua, 880-4927, nsggym.net) offers a variety of recreational gymnastics programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for boys and girls of all ages and are held Monday through Thursday and Saturday. The cost varies depending on the length of each class. There is also a registration fee of $50 per child.

Palaestra Gymnastics Academy (8 Tinkham Ave., Derry, 818-4494, pgagym.com) offers a variety of recreational gymnastics and tumbling programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. Call for cost and registration details.

Phantom Gymnastics (142 Route 111, Hampstead, 329-9315, phantomgymnastics.com) offers various gymnastics and tumbling programs, beginning Sept. 13. Classes are available for boys and girls ages 3 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost varies depending on the age of the child, the type of each class and the length of each session.

Seacoast Gymnastics Center (13 Lilac Mall, Rochester, 332-9821, kellysgymnastics.com) offers a variety of gymnastics, ninja and tumbling programs, beginning in September. Classes are available for kids ages 3 and up and are held Monday through Saturday. The cost ranges from $50 to $215 per week, depending on the child’s age and the number of class hours taken.

Sky High Gymnastics (185 Elm St., No. 2, Milford, 554-1097, skyhighgym.com) offers a variety of gymnastics, dance and ninja programs, beginning Sept. 13. Classes are available for kids ages 2 and up and are held several days a week, depending on the age groups. Call for cost and registration details.

Southern New Hampshire Gymnastics Academy (4 Orchard View Dr., No. 11, Londonderry, 404-6181, snhga.com) offers a variety of both recreational and competitive gymnastics programs, beginning Aug. 30. Classes are available for kids ages 1½ and up and are held Monday through Saturday. Call for cost and registration details.

Spectrum Gymnastics Academy (26 Buttrick Road, Londonderry, 434-8388, spectrumgymnast.com) offers several programs for boys and girls ages 3 and up, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are held various days from Monday through Saturday, depending on the age groups. Call for cost and registration details.

Tri-Star Gymnastics & Dance Center (66 Third St., Dover, 749-1234, tristargymnh.com) offers gymnastics and dance classes for all ages, as well as open gym sessions, beginning the week of Aug. 30. Classes are available Monday through Saturday. The cost ranges from $67 to $165 per session, depending on the age group and the number of classes taken per week.

Tumble Town Gymnastics (444 E. Industrial Park Dr., No. 10, Manchester, 641-9591, tumbletownnh.com) offers recreational and competitive team gymnastics programs, beginning Sept. 7. Classes are available for girls ages 3½ and up and most are held Monday through Saturday (days of the week vary depending on the class). The cost starts at $85 per month for one 60-minute class per week, with a 50-percent sibling discount available.

BE A NINJA

USA Ninja Challenge (locations at Gymnastics Village, 13 Caldwell Dr., Amherst, 889-8902, gymnasticsvillage.com; Flipz Gymnastics, 14 Chenell Dr., Concord, 224-3223, ninjaconcordnh.com; 17 Friars Dr., Unit 18, Hudson, 417-6820, ninjahudson.com; and 444 E. Industrial Park Dr., Manchester, 935-7100, ninjamanchester.com) introduces kids ages 4 and up to the sport of ninja, featuring a variety of swinging, jumping and climbing obstacles and an interactive learning program, in which they can have fun while learning fitness and life skills. The fall sessions begin in September (exact date varies depending on the location), with open enrollment year-round. The programs are open several days a week at various class times of 50 minutes, 60 minutes or 75 minutes. The cost varies depending on the length of the class.

Horseback riding

Apple Tree Farm (49 Wheeler Road, Hollis, 465-9592, appletreefarm.org) offers year-round group and private lessons for all ages and experience levels. Beginner students will receive English balance seat instruction while advanced students will focus on eventing, which includes dressage, stadium jumping and cross-country. Group lessons cost $75 per one-hour lesson or $195 for a month of weekly lessons. Private lessons cost $55 for a half-hour, $85 for an hour and $175 for a month of weekly half-hour lessons.

Chase Farms (146 Federal Hill Road, Hollis, 400-1077, chasefarmsnh.com) offers saddleseat group, semi-private and private lessons for kids ages 4 and up. The cost $40 for a group lesson (four to six students), $45 for a semi-private lesson (two to three students) and $50 for a private lesson. Lesson packages are also available.

Fox Creek Farm (Pine Hill Road, Hollis, 236-2132, foxcreek.farm) offers group and private hunter/jumper lessons for all ages. A 30-minute private lesson costs $55, and a one-hour group lesson costs $45. A Pony Lover’s lesson package for kids ages 4 to 8 is available for $180 and includes a month of weekly half-hour lessons covering grooming, tacking up and basic riding skills.

Hollis Ranch (192 Wheeler Road, Hollis, 465-2672, hollisranch.com) offers private horsemanship lessons for kids, focused on Western, English and driving disciplines. Lesson packages are customized.

Mack Hill Riding Academy (3 Mack Hill Road, Amherst, 801-0958, mackhill.net) offers private and group riding lessons for kids of all ages. Disciplines include hunter under saddle, eventing, equitation, Western pleasure and horsemanship. The cost is $55 per lesson. Lesson packages are also available at $300 for six and $540 for 12.

Walnut Hollow Farm (40 Walnut Hill Road, Amherst, 475-2714, walnuthollowfarm.com) offers one-hour private lessons for $60, semi-private lessons (two students) for $50 and group lessons for $45. A group lesson package with 10 lessons for $400 is also available.

Martial arts

Al Lima’s Studio of Self Defense (28 Lowell Road, Hudson, 595-9098, alssd.com) offers kenpo karate and self-defense programs for kids and teens. Classes are held Monday through Thursday. Call for cost details. Private classes are also available.

Amherst Karate Studio (Salzburg Square, 292 Route 101, Amherst, 672-3570, amherstkaratestudio.com) offers martial arts and self-defense classes for kids ages 4 and up. Classes are held Monday through Saturday. Call for cost details.

Bedford Martial Arts Academy (292 Route 101 West, Bedford, 626-9696, bedfordmartialartsacademy.com) offers karate classes for kids ages 18 months and up. Classes are held Monday through Thursday. An after-school pickup program is also offered for students in the Bedford Schools K-6 and Reeds Ferry, Merrimack K-4 school districts. Call for cost details.

Checkmate Martial Arts (200 Elm St., Manchester, 666-5836, checkmateselfdefense.com) offers youth martial arts programs for kids ages 5 to 13. Classes are held after school on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and on Saturday morning. Call for cost details.

Empowering Lives Martial Arts (542 Mast Road, No. 15, Goffstown, 978-414-5425, martialartsnewhampshire.com) offers a martial arts program for kids ages 4 through 6, a karate program for kids ages 7 through 12 and an adult martial arts program that is open to teens ages 13 and up. Virtual programs are also available. Call for scheduling and cost details.

Eric Menard’s Complete Martial Arts Academy (295 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua, 888-0010, cma-martialarts.com) offers martial arts programs for kids and teens in four-week session packages. Call for scheduling and cost details.

Golden Crane Traditional Martial Arts (46 Lowell Road, No. 6, Windham, 437-2020, goldencranenh.com) offers traditional karate classes for kids and teens ages 5 and up. Classes are held Monday through Thursday after school and on Saturday morning. Virtual classes are also currently being offered. Call for cost details.

Granite State American Kenpo Karate (290 Derry Road, No. 5, Hudson, 598-5400, gsakenpo.com) offers martial arts programs for kids and teens. Virtual classes are also currently available. Call for cost and scheduling details.

Inner Dragon Martial Arts (77 Derry Road, Hudson, 864-8756, innerdragonma.com) offers kenpo-based martial arts programs for kids of all ages. Classes are held Monday through Saturday. Classes are held Monday through Friday after school and on Saturday morning. An after-school pickup program is also offered. Call for cost details.

Kaizen Academy (17 Freetown Road, No. 6, Raymond, 895-1545, raymondkarate.com) offers martial arts programs for kids and teens ages 3 and up and are held Monday through Thursday and Saturday. Various packages are available. Call for cost details.

Manchester Karate Studio (371 S. Willow St., Manchester, 625-5835, manchesterkarate.com) offers karate classes for kids ages 4 and up as well as Brazilian jiu jitsu self-defense programs for teens age 14 and up. Call for cost and scheduling details.

Neil Stone’s Karate Academy (22 Proctor Hill Road, Hollis, 672-8933, neilstoneskarate.com) offers karate programs for kids and teens ages 2 1/2 and up. Classes are held Monday through Friday. A virtual option is currently available for teen classes. Call for cost details.

New England Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy (30 Henniker St., Unit 9, Concord, 369-4764, nebjj.com) offers Brazilian jiu jitsu classes for kids ages 5 and up. Classes are held Tuesday through Thursday after school and on Saturday morning. Packages include a month of unlimited classes for $14, a three-month block of unlimited classes for $325, a two-classes-per-week membership for $110 a month, and a one-class-per-week membership for $75 a month.

Tokyo Joe’s Studios of Self Defense (85A Northeastern Blvd., Nashua, 889-4165; 20 Hammond Road, Milford, 672-2100, tokyojoes.net) offers private and group martial arts lessons for kids and teens ages 3 and up. Classes are held Monday through Saturday. Call each location for cost details.

The Training Station (200 Elm St., Manchester, 505-0048, thetrainingstationnh.com) offers kenpo, jiu jitsu and general martial arts classes for kids and teens ages 3 and up, as well as private lessons. Various packages are available. Students can also take a drop-in class for $20.

World Class Martial Arts (25 Nashua Road, Unit D3, Londonderry, 845-6115, londonderrymartialarts.com) offers karate programs for kids ages 3 and up. Classes are held after school Monday through Friday and on Saturday morning. Call for cost details.

KARATE KIDS

Penacook School of Martial Arts (15 Village St., Suite 6, Penacook) has three martial arts programs for kids and teens ages 4 and up. In “Pre Skillz,” for ages 4 through 6 (Saturdays, 11 to 11:30 a.m., $59 a month), and “Juniors Martial Arts,” for ages 7 through 13 (Monday through Thursday, 6:15 to 7 p.m., $139 to $159 a month), students will learn the foundations of martial arts, with a focus on listening skills and following directions; hand-eye coordination and mobility; social skills and respecting others; discipline and self-control; self-confidence; goal-setting and more. Teens ages 14 and up are welcome in the adult class (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 7:30 to 8:15 p.m., and Friday, 6:30 to 7:15 p.m., $139 to $159 a month), which focuses on physical fitness and self-defense using techniques from karate and Brazilian jiu jitsu. Call 738-3173 or visit penacookkarate.com.

MUSIC

Concord Community Music School (23 Wall St., Concord, 228-1196, ccmusicschool.org) begins its fall season in September with private lessons, group ensembles and more. Among the programs available is the Purple Finches Youth Chorus, which is open to kids in kindergarten through eighth grade who are learning an instrument. The three sections of the Chorus — the Fledglings, the Fliers and the Finches — allow an age-appropriate sequence of musical development, as students learn music literacy through regular rhythm, solfège and ear-training. Students rehearse weekly during the school year and perform regularly. The program is held Mondays at 4:10, 5 and 6 p.m. (times dependent on the student’s experience level), beginning Sept. 27. The cost is $175 per semester. Individual instruction in a variety of instruments is also available, including in guitar, bass, piano, percussion, clarinet, recorder, trombone, tuba and more. The cost for a 16-week semester curriculum is $672 for 30-minute lessons, $992 with 45-minute lessons and $1,296 with 60-minute lessons. Students are welcome at any time of the semester, with tuition prorated based on the number of lessons remaining.

Nashua Community Music School. Photo by Mark Stern Photography.

Let’s Play Music & Make Art (2626 Brown Ave., Unit A2, Manchester, 218-3089; 145 Hampstead Road, Suite 26, Derry, 425-7575; Rosita Lee Music Center, 136 Lowell Road, Hudson, 882-8940; letsplaymusic.com) offers weekly lessons in piano, guitar, voice, violin, cello, drums, saxophone and a variety of other musical instruments for students of all ages and abilities. The cost is $132 per month for 30-minute lessons, $244 per month for 60-minute lessons and $359 per month for 90-minute lessons. As of September 2020, Let’s Play Music & Make Art has taken over operations at Rosita Lee Music Center in Hudson.

Lidman Music Studio (419 Amherst St., Nashua, 913-5314, lidmanmusic.com) offers private lessons in violin, viola and piano for kids of all ages, from kindergarten through high school. Lessons take place weekly in the afternoons and evenings, beginning Sept. 7. The cost is $120 per month, which covers four 30-minute private lessons.

Londonderry Piano (20 N. Broadway, Salem, 898-9910, londonderrypiano.com) offers piano, guitar, drums, bass and voice lessons for all ages. The cost for one 30-minute lesson per week is $120 per month, $180 for one 45-minute lesson per week and $240 for one one-hour lesson per week.

Manchester Community Music School (2291 Elm St., Manchester, 644-4548, mcmusicschool.org) has a variety of opportunities beginning in September for private lessons, classes and youth ensembles for all kinds of musical instruments and all ages and levels of ability. Programs include Queen City Music & Leadership (grades 6 to 9, $250 per student), in which students participate in music lessons, ensembles and leadership and personal opportunities; Sprouting Melodies and Little Maestros (ages 6 months to 3 years old, $154 per student), in which younger children are introduced to music through a variety of age-appropriate activities); and Beginning Recorder (grades 4 to 7; free, with an online Zoom option), in which students will learn the basics of tone production and reading music. There is also a seven-week Music Theory session open to grades 6 and up ($199 per student); various chamber ensembles that include a flute choir, percussion, wind, and stringed instruments; and youth symphony orchestra opportunities. An open house for more information on all programs is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Manchester Music Mill (329 Elm St., Manchester, 623-8022, mmmlessons.com) offers private lessons in guitar, bass, drums, saxophone, clarinet, flute, trumpet, trombone, piano and voice for students of all ages and skill levels. Lessons are offered once a week. The cost ranges from $20 to $25 per 30-minute lesson. Hourly lessons are available if needed, as well as group lessons.

Merrimack Music Academy (1 Bryce Dr., Merrimack, 493-9214, merrimackmusicacademy.com) offers private lessons piano, voice, and acoustic or electric guitar and bass for children of all ages and skill levels. Lessons are available both in studio and online. The cost is $145 per month for 30-minute lessons and $270 per month for one-hour lessons, plus a $35 one-time registration fee.

NH Tunes (250 Commercial St., No. 2017, Manchester, 660-2208, nhtunes.biz) offers year-round lessons in voice, guitar, drums, piano, ukulele and more to students of all ages and abilities. The cost starts at $29.50 per 30-minute lesson. Certificates and studio time packages can also be purchased.

Ted Herbert Music School (880 Page St., Manchester, 669-7469, tedherbert.com) offers lessons in every band and orchestra instrument, as well as voice and theater, for students of all ages interested in various musical styles. Lessons are ongoing year-round, and instrument rentals are available through the school in partnership with David French Music. The cost is $28 per 30-minute lesson. Registration is being waived through December 2021.

MORE MUSIC PLEASE

The Nashua Community Music School (2 Lock St., Nashua, 881-7030, nashuacms.org) is moving into its new location at 2 Lock St. in Nashua on Sept. 1, which will feature larger lesson rooms and a full stage with capacity for 150 audience members. Fall programming begins Sept. 13 and will include a full range of both in-person and remote private music lessons on piano, voice, guitar, ukulele, bass, drums, flute, clarinet, saxophone, violin, viola, cello, trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba, as well as composition, songwriting and early childhood music. Private and small group music therapy sessions are also offered for all ages remotely and in person (all group programming is currently on hold but due to return sometime in the near future). Programs are open to kids and teens ages 3 and up and are held Monday through Thursday from 2 to 8 p.m. A trial pack of three 30-minute lessons costs $99, while weekly lessons or music therapy sessions start at $140 per month (community fund scholarships are available). A fall open house will likely be held soon, date TBA.

Sports

Amherst Soccer Club (amherstsoccerclub.com) offers fall soccer for tots through U9 non-travel. Players from all towns are welcome. Cost ranges from $95 to $195.

Bedford Athletic Club (bedfordrecsoccer.com) offers fall recreational soccer for players in pre-K through grade 8. The season runs Aug. 28 through Oct. 30 and costs $100.

Bedford Little League (bedfordll.com) offers fall baseball and softball for boys and girls ages 8 through 13. The cost is $50 per player for all programs. Registration is open through Sept. 5.

Concord Sports Center (2 Whitney Road, No. 1, Concord, 224-1655, concordsportscenter.com) offers a fall 10-12, middle school and high school baseball league, with practices starting Sept. 1. Cost ranges from $275 to $300 for the season.

Conway Arena (5 Stadium Dr., Nashua, 595-2400, conwayarena.com) offers hockey lessons for boys and girls ages 5 to 9. A 12-week session starting Sept. 28 costs $359. Youth hockey teams for kids and teens ages 6 to 18 are also offered from September through March. Skating lessons open to kids ages 5 and up are offered in eight-week sessions starting on Sept. 8 and cost $139. A figure skating program is available for kids with basic skating skills and includes 11 weeks of small group instruction for $275.

Derry Soccer Club (Rider Fields, 38 Tsienneto Road, Derry, derrysoccerclub.org) offers U4 through U18 recreational soccer for kids residing in Derry and surrounding towns. Programs run for seven or eight weeks and range from $90 to $155.

FieldHouse Sports (12 Tallwood Dr., Bow, 226-4646, fieldhousesports.com) offers a five-week soccer clinic for kids ages 3 to 6 starting on Sept. 11 for $40 to $45. Six-week soccer clinics for kids ages 6 and up start on Nov. 8 and cost $75 to $80.

The Icenter (60 Lowell Road, Salem, 893-4448, the-icenter.com) offers skating and hockey lessons for kids ages 3 and up, beginning in September. An 11-week session starts on Sept. 11 and costs $275, and a 12-week session starting Dec. 4 costs $295.

Longfellow New Hampshire Tennis & Swim Club (140 Lock St., Nashua, 883-0153, nashuaswimandtennis.com) offers tennis lessons for kids ages 8 and up. Eight-week sessions begin on Sept. 8. The cost ranges from $120 to $545, depending on the age group.

New Hampshire Junior Roller Derby (nhjuniorrollerderby.com) offers a roller derby program for kids ages 6 through 17, with practices held at the New England Sports Center in Derry and the Plaistow YMCA. A three-week session starting on Sept. 10 costs $40, and a six-week session starting on Oct. 6 costs $80.

New Hampshire Sportsplex (68 Technology Dr., Bedford, 641-1313, nhsportsplex.com) offers soccer classes for kids ages 18 months to 6, tee ball for ages 3 through 6, lacrosse for ages 4 through 8, field hockey for ages 4 through 12, basketball for ages 3 through 14, hockey for ages 4 through 8 and volleyball for ages 3 through 12. Eight-week sessions start on Sept. 8. Call for cost details.

The Phanzone (142 Route 111, Hampstead, 329-4422, thephanzone.com) offers a field hockey program for girls in grades 1 through 6. A six-week session starts on Sept. 11 and costs $55.

Salem Youth Baseball (salemyouthbaseball.net) offers fall baseball for players ages 6 and up. The cost is $65 to $75.

Salem Youth Soccer Association (salemsoccer.com) offers recreational soccer for tots ages 3 and 4 for $55, and for U6 through U12 for $175, starting on Sept. 12.

Seacoast Fencing Club (271 Wilson St., Manchester; 261 N. Main St., Rochester, 428-7040, seacoastfencingclub.org) offers group fencing classes for kids ages 7 and up of all experience levels. Nine-week sessions starting in September range from $100 to $275. Competitive training is also available in three-month terms for $335 to $380.

Tri-Town Ice Arena (311 W. River Road, Hooksett, 485-1100, tri-townicearena.com) offers group skating lessons for kids ages 3 and up. Seven-week sessions start on Sept. 13. The cost is $126.

YOU GO, GIRLS!

Girls on the Run New Hampshire (girlsontherunnh.org) is a youth development program that empowers girls through physical activity, with a focus on self-confidence, decision-making, respecting others, teamwork, community service and other life skills. Programs are offered through local schools and rec programs for grades 3 through 5, grades 6 through 8 and ages 16 through 18. The cost for the fall season, which runs Sept. 13 through Nov. 13, is $140. Girls are selected for the program by lottery. Registration closes on Aug. 22. Visit girlsontherunnh.org or call 778-1389.

THEATER

Kids Coop Theatre (East Derry, admin@kids-coop-theatre.org, kids-coop-theatre.org) offers youth theater productions throughout the year open to kids and teens ages 8 and up. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m., at 46 East Derry Road in Derry. Visit the website for the most up-to-date audition schedule for shows.

The Majestic Academy of Dramatic Arts (880 Page St., Manchester, 669-7469, majestictheatre.net) offers private lessons in acting and voice, workshops and performing opportunities in community theater productions. The cost is $28 per 30-minute session. Registration is being waived through December 2021. If cast in a performance, there is a $125 production fee (scholarship assistance available). On Tuesday, Sept. 7, and Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m., kids and teens ages 8 to 16 can audition for “Sleepy Hollow,” with public performances from Friday, Oct. 22, to Sunday, Oct. 24.

New Hampshire Theatre Project (West End Studio Theatre, 959 Islington St., Portsmouth, nhtheatreproject.org, in collaboration with the Portsmouth Recreation Department, 610-7277, cityofportsmouth.com/recreation) is offering opportunities for kids to get introduced to the world of acting and theater through creative exercises, games, improvisation, storytelling and imagination exercises, beginning in late September. Programs include building characters, working with costumes, reading and writing scripts and performing in theater productions, and are open to kids from kindergarten to second grade on Tuesdays, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.; and third through fifth grade on Wednesdays, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., dates offered Sept. 28 to Nov. 17. The cost is $180 per child.

Palace Youth Theatre (Forever Emma Studios, 516 Pine St., Manchester, 688-5588, palacetheatre.org) offers classes, coaching and performance opportunities throughout the year for young performers. Productions include mainstage junior musicals, plays and small cast musicals for students in second grade and up, as well as voice, acting and dance lessons throughout the year for students ages 3 and up. Classes start the last week of August and are offered throughout the year. If cast in a production, there is a $125 fee.

Peacock Players (14 Court St., Nashua, 886-7000, peacockplayers.org) offers theater production opportunities for kids ages 6 and up. The next production is Matilda the Musical Jr. in October, with auditions on Monday, Aug. 30, and Tuesday, Aug. 31, from 6 to 9 p.m. Rehearsals are Thursdays and Fridays, from 6 to 9 p.m., and Sundays, from 1 to 5 p.m., beginning Sept. 9. There is a $175 educational tuition cost for all those cast in the production. Financial assistance is available.

Featured photo: Studio 550 Community Art Center. Courtesy photo.

Comics for Everybody!

The wait is finally over for comic book lovers as Free Comic Book Day returns on Saturday, Aug. 14, for the first time since 2019. The annual worldwide event, postponed from its traditional date on the first Saturday in May, invites comic book shops to hand out free comic books created specially for that day and host comic-related fun like cosplay contests, door prizes, special guests and more.

Each participating local shop is doing things a little differently, so whether you’re looking to just pop in, grab your free comic and go, or don your best cosplay and spend the day celebrating all things comics, New Hampshire has a FCBD experience for you.

Customers pick up their free comics at a previous Free Comic Book Day at Double Midnight Comics. Courtesy photo.

Diversity Gaming in Hooksett, a new comic book and gaming shop that opened a month before the pandemic, is keeping the focus on the comics for its first FCBD. Owner Erik Oparowske said he placed a large order of free comics to ensure that every customer who wants a free comic can get the one they want quickly and easily. He said he’s expecting the shop to “go through most, if not all” of the comics he ordered.

“We wanted to provide an option for people who may not have half an hour to stand in line,” Oparowske said. “For us, it’s about getting the comics into people’s hands.”

Merrymac Games and Comics in Merrimack will have five comic artists on site promoting and discussing their comic books with customers.

“It adds a little something extra to the event [beyond] the free comics,” manager Bob Shaw said, “and it allows people to meet artists without having to go to a comic convention, which is nice because conventions can be really crazy and crowded, and a lot of people aren’t comfortable enough to start going to them again.”

Famous for its FCBD costume contest that typically attracts more than 100 participants, Double Midnight Comics, which has shops in Manchester and Concord, has decided to hold off on the contest this year and “keep it low-key,” co-owner Chris Proulx said, with plans to resume its usual FCBD festivities in 2022.

“We’re encouraging people to come in, shop a bit and head home with their haul,” Proulx said. “It’s a bummer not having the big event for the second year in a row, but safety is our focus this year.”

New Hampshire’s largest FCBD celebration, the Rochester Free Comic Book Day Festival, will return full-scale, with local comic creators, a scavenger hunt, vendors, prizes, a costume contest and more at businesses and venues all over the city.

“We’re doing Free Comic Book Day just like we’ve always done it in the past, nothing different at all,” said Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics in Rochester, which hosts the festival in partnership with the city. “Everybody is excited to have a semblance of normalcy to life again.”

Oparowske said he looks forward to including more FCBD activities, like the ones at Jetpack, at Diversity Gaming in the future.

“I love that Jetpack and Double Midnight and places like that have that big, carnival-like atmosphere,” he said. “I hope that, once we’ve been here longer and are more firm in the community, we can do something a little like that.”

There are 51 Free Comic Book Day titles this year: 12 “gold” titles, which are available at all participating shops, and 39 “silver” titles, of which certain ones are available at select shops. The selection typically includes a mix of independent, standalone stories; spin-offs of movies, television shows, video games and established comic book series; and samplings or previews of existing or upcoming titles.

Comic book fans can pick up not only this year’s FCBD comics but also ones from 2020, which were released and distributed by comic book shops in batches over the course of nine weeks as part of “Free Comic Book Summer,” a reworking of FCBD held in lieu of the one-day event that year. Since Free Comic Book Summer took place at the height of the pandemic, the 2020 titles went mostly under the radar, and many comic book shops still have stacks of them that they’re hoping to give away at this year’s FCBD.

“I tried doing a free comic book drive-up last year. I got 12 people,” Shaw said, “so I’m still choking on last year’s Free Comic Book Day stuff that never got distributed.”

“I guarantee there is stuff people missed out on [in 2020], so it will be new to them this year,” Proulx added. “Everyone will leave with a nice stack of comics … from both this year and past years.”

Rochester Free Comic Book Day Festival Cosplay Contest. Courtesy photos.

Though thankful to be able to host Free Comic Book Day in its traditional format again, some comic book shop owners and staff are concerned that the rescheduled August date will affect the turnout.

Shaw said this year’s event and the new date haven’t been advertised on a national level nearly as prominently as in years past.

“There hasn’t been the same kind of buzz about it that you usually hear,” he said. “I think there will be a lot of people saying, ‘Oh, I didn’t know [FCBD] was today.’”

“We’ve had tons of customers asking us when [FCBD] is going to be,” Oparowske added. “There’s been a lot of confusion.”

But, Shaw said, it’s not always easy to predict what the turnout will be — it could go either way — and despite all of the variables that may determine whether people come out or not, there is one thing the comic book shops will always have going for them on FCBD: “People love free stuff, and that’s never going to change,” he said. “You can count on that, no matter what.”

Comics vs. Covid

When Gov. Sununu called for non-essential businesses to shut down in March of last year, local comic book shops were prepared for the worst.

“We went into panic mode,” DiBernardo said of Jetpack Comics. “We thought we would be shutting down for the foreseeable future.”

Now, about a year and a half later, many shops are not only surviving, but thriving, thanks to their innovative sales strategies and dedicated customer base.

Shaw said that once Merrymac Games and Comics shifted their business online, their sales numbers weren’t much different from before the pandemic.

“Honestly, the only change for us was that we didn’t have customers in the store,” he said. “We were still fulfilling and shipping out orders every day.”

For Jetpack, DiBernardo said, the ability to offer curbside pickup was the shop’s saving grace. He went from fearing that he would have to let half of his staff go, he said, to having to pay his staff overtime to keep up with the large volume of online and curbside pickup orders.

“Curbside pickup changed everything for us,” he said. “It gave us a goal — something that we could do. Once we figured out how to do it and we hit our stride with it, it went great for us.”

The shutdown was especially tough on Diversity Gaming, which had opened just a month earlier and therefore didn’t qualify to receive the state or federal financial aid that was being offered to small businesses. Oparowske said he owes the shop’s survival to the community.

“Even though we were the little babies on the block, people had already really embraced us and were excited about our presence here during that first month,” he said.

The popularity of online sales during the pandemic has led many comic book shops to make it a permanent part of their business model.

“We found that it was a big boost for us, and it still is,” DiBernardo said. “We’re seeing the same amount of online sales now that we were seeing a year ago.”

While comic book shops may not be considered an essential business on paper, Proulx said, they are essential to many people on a personal level.

“People needed distractions from the pandemic,” he said, “and we were there for them with comics.”

Find a comic

Local comic book store staff shared comic book and graphic novel recommendations for all kinds of readers.

Best comic for someone who “isn’t a comic book person”

Ice Cream Man by W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Morazzo.
A horror anthology series for fans of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror.
Recommended by Jill Stewart, comic book manager at Double Midnight Comics.

Star Wars: The High Republic by Cavan Scott
A series of stories from the Star Wars universe for fans who want to get some background on where the upcoming movies might lead.
Recommended by Erik Oparowske, owner of Diversity Gaming.

Stray Dogs by Tony Fleecs and Trish Forstner
A dog wakes up in a strange house with no recollection of how she got there and a feeling that something terrible has happened.
Recommended by Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics.

Best comic for adult comic book nerds

Reckless by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Crime noir set in 1980s Los Angeles.
Recommended by Chris Proulx, co-owner of Double Midnight Comics.

Unsacred by Mirka Andolfo
A risque take on heaven and hell.
Recommended by Erik Oparowske, owner of Diversity Gaming.

King in Black by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman
A new twist on old characters and the making of a new god for the Marvel Universe.
Recommended by Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics.

Crossover by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Dee Cunniffe and John J. Hill
The series sets fictional characters from different comic books in real-world modern-day Denver, Colorado.
Recommended by Kyle Litchfield, staff at Jetpack Comics.

Best comic for teens who are too cool for superheroes

Radiant Black byKyle Higgins and Marcello Costa
A superhero story for a new generation, this series offers a more realistic look at what would happen if teens really had superpowers.
Recommended by Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics.

Life is Strange by Emma Vieceli
Based on the video game of the same name, this series follows a photography student who has the magical ability to rewind time.
Recommended By Erik Oparowske, owner of Diversity Gaming.

BRZRKR by Matt Kindt, Keanu Reeves and Ron Garney
Actor Keanu Reeves writes this story of the next movie that he wants to star in.
Recommended by Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics.

Best comic for young aspiring comic book creators

Strange Academyby Skottie Young, Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado
Dr. Strange of the Marvel Universe establishes a new academy for the mystic arts to train the next generation of magic-users.
Recommended by Kyle Litchfield, staff at Jetpack Comics.

Red Room byEd Piskor
This cyberpunk tale for teens is about a subculture of criminals who livestream murders for entertainment.
Recommended by Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics.

Best comic for kids who don’t like reading

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey
The protagonist in this kids graphic novel series is part man and part dog-police officer and -superhero.
Recommended by Chris Proulx, co-owner of Double Midnight Comics.

Batman Fortnite Zero Point by Christos Gage, Donald Mustard and Reilly Brown
A collaborative comic between DC and the popular video game Fortnite that rewards readers with exclusive content for the game.
Recommended by Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Saladin Ahmed and Javier Garrón
Miles Morales balances school, parents and life as a teen — who also happens to be Spider-Man.
Recommended by Seth Deverell, staff at Diversity Gaming.

Best graphic novels

Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont
A look at the X-Men dystopian future that formed the basis for the movies.
Recommended By Erik Oparowske, owner of Diversity Gaming.

Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera.
Children in the town of Archer’s Peak are mysteriously going missing, and the few that survive return with stories of terrifying monsters.
Recommended by Ralph DiBernardo, owner of Jetpack Comics.

Participating Comic Book Shops

For more information about Free Comic Book Day, visit freecomicbookday.com.

The Comic Store, 115 Northeastern Blvd., Nashua, 881-4855, facebook.com/thecomicstorenashua. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Collectibles Unlimited, 25 South St., Concord, 228-3712, collectiblesunlimited.biz. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Diversity Gaming, 1328 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 606-1176, diversitygaming.store. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Double Midnight Comics, 245 Maple St., Manchester, 669-9636; 67 S. Main St., Concord, 669-9636, dmcomics.com. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be sales and raffles.

Escape Hatch Books, 27 Main St., Jaffrey, facebook.com/escapehatchbooks. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Jetpack Comics, 37 N. Main St., Rochester, 330-9636, jetpackcomics.com.The store partners with the City of Rochester to host the Rochester Free Comic Book Day Festival. Festivities including a scavenger hunt, cosplay competition, special guest comic book artists, vendors and more will take place at the store and at various locations throughout the city starting at 10 a.m.

Khaotic Comics, 590 Central Ave., Dover, 834-9177, khaoticcomics.com. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The store will have special guest comic book artists, food and an appearance by Spider-Man.

Merrymac Games and Comics, 550 DW Highway, Merrimack, 420-8161, merrymacgc.com. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Special guest comic book artists will be at the shop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Newbury Comics, 777 S. Willow St., Manchester, 624-2842; 310 D.W. Highway, Nashua, 888-0720; 436 S. Broadway, Salem, 890-1380, newburycomics.com. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Nex-Gen Comics, 122 Bridge St., Unit 3, Pelham, 751-8195, nexgencomics.wordpress.com. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Stairway to Heaven Comics, 109 Gosling Road, Newington, 319-6134, stairwaytoheavencomics.com. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Special guest comic book creators will be at the shop.

Featured photo:

Day on the Water

Row, row, row your boat

Hit the water in a canoe or kayak

by Matt Ingersoll

When Patrick Malfait founded the Contoocook River Canoe Co. in 1997, kayaking was still up and coming as a mainstream recreational sport in New Hampshire. Now he’s in his 25th season, offering a wide variety of canoes and kayaks for sale or for rent so people can enjoy paddling along the Contoocook River in Concord. A second operation was later launched under the name Merrimack River Canoe & Kayak, where you can do the same on Hooksett’s Merrimack River.

“We started with just renting canoes,” Malfait said. “Then a couple of years later the kayak just became very popular and the canoe kind of took a backseat for a while. … The popularity of canoeing has come back, but kayaking is still far ahead of canoeing [in] sales and rentals.”

Both canoeing and kayaking have their own unique advantages and features that can be best suited to particular uses. In general, a kayak may be smaller, faster and easier to maneuver, whereas a canoe is often larger, more stable and easier to enter and exit.

“When you’re in a single kayak, you’re one with the water. It’s just you and your boat … so it’s exciting for people to get out there and be able to control their boat by themselves,” Malfait said.

As the years have gone on, kayak manufacturers have introduced newer models tailored to specific purposes. There are multiple types of kayaks, from single recreational kayaks to touring or sea kayaks, and even kayaks with their own built-in accessories designed for fishing.

But canoes can be great to take out on the water too — especially, Malfait said, if you’re part of a larger group or are preparing for a bit of a longer trip.

“A canoe is a really great family vessel to go out and spend the day on the river or on the lake,” he said. “You can put everything and the kitchen sink in there, which you can’t do in a single kayak. It’s just a whole different experience, and for some people it’s more like being at home.”

Other than families with children, Malfait said, canoe rentals are also popular among older active adults, as well as traditionalists who enjoy an activity he pointed out has been around for hundreds of years. Rentals for both canoes and kayaks are an attractive option for those who don’t have the means to store or transport them or are getting into the sport for the first time.

Rental rates at the Contoocook River Canoe Co. are by the day, while for the Merrimack River operation there are additional options to have your boat out on the water per two-hour or four-hour block. If you’re going out on the Contoocook River, Malfait said, there is also a shuttle option to bring you and your boat about 9 miles upriver to paddle back to the beach.

All boats must be off the water by 5 p.m. each day, but that doesn’t mean canoeing or kayaking has to be a full-day commitment either. In fact, during the height of the pandemic last year, Malfait said he noticed many more short-term paddlers out on the water.

“We saw a large increase of late afternoon business, and it was all city people,” he said. “They’d only be out there for an hour or two but they loved it. For them, it was a getaway.”

In Nashua, Bill James first became interested in trying kayaking more than a decade ago when, on a bike ride in Mine Falls Park, he passed by a family of paddlers. Now he owns Nashua Kayak Rental, a by-appointment business offering single or double kayak rentals on Saturdays and Sundays. Renters can arrange meetings at one of the Nashua River’s public boat launches.

“Typically, I like to bring people to the Millyard Technology Park where there’s a public boat ramp, and I also use the Mine Falls Park boat ramp,” James said. “As long as I don’t have multiple appointments in one location that tie me to a given spot, we can wander around a bit. … For the most part, though, I just let people enjoy it however they want to.”

Reservations can be made through Nashua Kayak Rental’s website or Facebook page, and James will provide everything from your kayak and paddle to your life jacket.

“[Kayaking] is a really nice way to get out and explore … and the best part of renting is that you can go out and do it whenever you want and not have to deal with storage or transport,” he said.

Unless you’re on private property or a body of water that is only open to town residents, you can go pretty much anywhere with a canoe or kayak. Each is considered a non-motorized vehicle under New Hampshire law, meaning they are not required to register in the state. You are required, however, to always wear a life jacket while out on the water, Malfait said.

“There’s tons of information out there,” he said. “The AMC [Appalachian Mountain Club] has guides that they’ve produced that tell you where you can put boats in and take boats out, and there are meetup groups where people are paddling a different body of water each week.”

NH AMC Paddlers

The New Hampshire chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club maintains a regular schedule of upcoming outdoor group activities across the state, including for canoeing and kayaking. Visit amcnh.org/committees/paddling, or follow them on Facebook “NH AMC Paddlers.”

Contoocook River Canoe Co.

9 Horse Hill Road, Concord, 753-9804, contoocookcanoe.com

Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: Canoes and kayaks are both available to rent for use on the Contoocook River. Rates vary depending on the type and size capacity of the boat — $35 for a canoe or two-person kayak, $28 for a one-person 12-foot kayak and $33 for a one-person 14- to 16-foot kayak. Rates are for single-day use, with all boats off the water by 5 p.m. each day. Shuttle services about 9 miles upriver are also available.

Merrimack River Canoe & Kayak

35 Edgewater Drive, Hooksett, 406-1462, paddlemerrimack.com

Hours: Friday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Canoes and kayaks are both available to rent for use on the Merrimack River. Rates vary depending on the type and size capacity of the boat, with block pricing for two hours, four hours or a single day. A one-person kayak, for example, is $20 for two hours, $35 for four hours or $45 for the day.

Nashua Kayak Rental

nashuakayakrental.com, and on Facebook @nashuakayak

Hours: Saturday and Sunday, by appointment

Cost: One-person or two-person kayaks are available for rent for use on the Nashua River. Rates are $30 for two hours for a single kayak, or $50 for two hours for a two-person kayak. Weekend meetings with owner-operator Bill James are available by appointment at the public boat ramps at Mine Falls Park (Stadium Drive, near Stellos Stadium) or at the Millyard Technology Park (Technology Way).

More Places to Paddle

Here’s a list of more spots in southern New Hampshire, including some lakes and state parks, that offer canoe or kayak rentals or have public boat launches people can use to go canoeing or kayaking.

Baboosic Lake (25 Broadway, Amherst, amherstnh.myrec.com)
Bear Brook State Park (61 Deerfield Road, Allenstown, nhstateparks.com)
Beaver Lake (Pond Road, Derry, beaver-lake.org)
Clough State Park (455 Clough Park Road, Weare, nhstateparks.com)
Crystal Lake (186 Crystal Lake Road, Gilmanton, gilmantonnh.org)
Glen Lake (300 Elm St., Goffstown, goffstown.com)
Island Pond (Stickney Road, Atkinson, town-atkinsonnh.com)
Lake Massabesic (Londonderry Turnpike, Auburn, manchesternh.gov)
Lake Sunapee (Mount Sunapee State Park, 86 Beach Access Road, Newbury, nhstateparks.org)
Lake Winnipesaukee (Multiple towns in Belknap and Carroll counties, lakewinnipesaukee.net)
Lake Winnisquam (Water Street, Laconia, winnisquamwatershed.org/public-access)
Naticook Lake (Veterans Park Drive, Merrimack, merrimacknh.gov)
Pawtuckaway State Park (7 Pawtuckaway Road, Nottingham, nhstateparks.org)
Pillsbury State Park (100 Pillsbury State Park Road, Washington, nhstateparks.org)
Silver Lake State Park (138 Silver Lake Road, Hollis, nhstateparks.org)

Cruising along

Scenic views from the comfort of a boat

by Meghan Seigler

From harbor seals in the Atlantic to great blue herons on Squam Lake, there’s a good chance you’ll see wildlife in the water and along the shores when you take a scenic cruise —‌ and the views along the way are pretty photo-worthy too.

“Normally we go straight out to White Island to see the lighthouse,” said Pete Reynolds of Granite State Whale Watch and Island Cruises in Rye, which offers tours of the Isles of Shoals on Uncle Oscar, a 62-foot-long single-deck boat. “All the islands are scenic in their own right.”

Lake Education Cruise 2019. Photo courtesy of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.

During the 5½-mile trip from Rye Harbor to the Isles, they often see marine porpoises and the occasional whale sighting, though Reynolds said those are fairly rare.

“Pretty frequently around the island we’ll see both harbor seals and grey seals,” Reynolds said.

“We see cormorants … and a tern colony … that’s always a favorite of bird watchers.”

The ocean tours are narrated, with the captain sharing the history of the islands, and unlike many scenic cruises, Uncle Oscar docks mid-tour to let passengers off to explore Star Island.

“[It’s] a great walking island,” Reynolds said. “It’s only 46 acres so you can explore pretty much the entire island when you’re on it.”

He said there’s an old stone chapel from the 1800s, replica stone buildings that recreate the fishing village that used to be on the island, short hiking trails and plenty of scenic views of the Atlantic.

Of course, New Hampshire has plenty of lakes too, which offer a different kind of cruise experience —‌ and those differ from lake to lake, says Amanda Gillen, marketing manager for Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.

“I think the biggest thing for people to know is that Squam Lake is not Lake Winnipesaukee,” she said, referring to cruises aboard the M/S Mount Washington on New Hampshire’s biggest lake. “It has a very different, quieter, slower, more natural feel.”

The Science Center’s cruise is 90 minutes long and is a narrated tour of the whole lake, with cruise captains talking about the history of the area, the wildlife and sights like Church Island and other conservation land. The boats are covered pontoon boats and currently only hold 18 passengers.

“It’s a nice intimate experience,” Gillen said.

Gillen said passengers can expect to see wildlife like common loons, cormorants, great blue herons, muskrats, mink, swimming squirrels and bald eagles.

“We typically have a nesting pair of bald eagles on Squam Lake,” Gillen said. “The pair is around this year but did not successfully rear any chicks so the adults don’t stay by the nest for the easy view. … On one cruise a couple of years ago … an eagle flew down to catch a fish and the fish was so large that the eagle was using its wings to almost swim in order to get the fish to the closest shore. Everyone was pretty excited to see that.”

Gillen said the Squam Lake cruises are typically geared more toward adults and families with older kids.

“Marine patrol requires all children ages 12 and under to wear a lifejacket and we find that sometimes very little kids … don’t enjoy that for the full tour,” she said.

Take a scenic cruise
Enjoy nature and wildlife on a lake or on the ocean.

Lake cruises

Experience Squam
859 U.S. 3, Holderness, 968-3990, experiencesquam.com
Experience Squam is a private boating excursion aboard a 23-foot Sea Ray Bow-Rider that caters to your boating preferences, with all kinds of options available, like sunset cruises, star gazing, tours of historic Church Island and On Golden Pond movie sites and opportunities to anchor and swim. The boat fits up to 12 people and prices and schedules vary depending on number of people, length of ride and activities.

Mount Washington Cruises
211 Lakeside Ave., Weirs Beach, Laconia, 366-5531, cruisenh.com
The M/S Mount Washington offers 2½-hour narrated scenic tours as well as Sunday brunch cruises, dinner and cocktail cruises on Lake Winnipesaukee (prices range from $40 to $65 per person). A smaller boat, the M/V Doris E., offers one-hour scenic tours of the islands of western Lake Winnipesaukee ($25 per person). The U.S. Mailboat offers two-hour cruises while providing postal service to island residents ($40 per person). See website for cruise schedules.

Sunapee Cruises
1 Lake Ave., Sunapee, 938-6465, sunapeecruises.com
Tour Lake Sunapee on an afternoon narrated cruise aboard the MV MT Sunapee II or an evening dinner cruise aboard the MV Kearsarge Restaurant Ship. The afternoon cruise is 1½ hours long and leaves at 2 p.m. daily now through Labor Day, then Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Columbus Day. The cost is $22 for adults, $20 for military, seniors and AAA members, $12 for kids 6 to 12, and free for kids under 6. The dinner cruise is two hours long and leaves daily at 6:30 p.m. now through Labor Day, and at 5:30 p.m. after Labor Day. The cost is $45.99 for the cruise, dinner buffet and dessert. Children 12 and under are $32.99 (no children’s pricing on Fridays and Saturdays).

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
23 Science Center Road, Holderness, 968-7194, nhnature.org
Cruises are 90 minutes long and on canopied pontoon boats. There are several options available, including a Bald Eagle Adventure and a Loon Cruise. The cost is $27 for adults, $25 for seniors and $23 for children through age 15. See website for schedule.

Ocean cruises

Granite State Whale Watch and Island Cruises
1870 Ocean Blvd., Rye, 964-5545, granitestatewhalewatch.com
The boat leaves twice a day, at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and ocean tours are about three hours long, including the boat ride and a stop at Star Island for an optional walking tour and time to explore. Tours are offered until about mid-September. The cost is $35 for adults, $32 for ages 60+, $26 for ages 4 to 16, and free for kids under 4.

There are also several ocean cruises available based out of Portsmouth, including the Gundalow Co. (433-9505, gundalow.org), the Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. (islesofshoals.com, 800-441-4620) and Portsmouth Harbor Cruises (portsmouthharbor.com, 800-776-0915).

Stand up and go

Paddleboarding is a simple way to get on the water

by Angie Sykeny

Paddleboarding is a popular water sport in New Hampshire, and for good reason, said local paddleboard guide Shaun Quinn.

Photo courtesy of SUP-NH Paddleboard.

“We have 14 miles of seacoast, plus all of the lakes and rivers, and you can paddleboard on almost all of them,” Quinn said. “It’s the perfect way to take advantage of the state’s natural resources.”

A paddleboard is like a surfboard, but wider. Traditionally, the paddleboarder stands on the board and uses a paddle to move across the water or ride the waves, but there are a variety of other ways to use a paddleboard, too.

“They’re pretty versatile,” Quinn said. “You can move your position around, sit down, lie down, kneel, surf on them, get a tan on them, do yoga on them — so many different things with this one single, small watercraft.”

You don’t have to be a “surfer kind of person,” to paddleboard, Quinn said; paddleboards are more forgiving and easier to maneuver than surfboards. Almost anyone can do it, regardless of their age, body type or athletic ability, he said, and most people pick it up quickly.

Local paddleboard instructor Chris Shields agreed and said that even people with physical challenges can usually find a paddleboarding position that’s feasible for them.

“If you can stand on the ground, you can paddleboard,” he said, “and if you’re someone who has trouble walking or standing, then you can just sit. It’s that easy.”

Paddleboarding appeals to people for a number of different reasons, Quinn and Shields said. For one, it’s a way to enjoy the outdoors and explore the water that’s “more accessible” than taking out a kayak or a canoe, Shields said.

“It’s easy to just pop in the water and go,” he said, “and, if you’re standing and looking down at the water, you actually get a [larger] perspective and can see more of what’s around you than you can in a kayak or canoe, which is really cool.”

Paddleboarding can also be good for your health, Quinn said. If you paddle properly, it’s a full-body workout that works “every muscle from your ankles to your core to your shoulders,” he said. Mentally, paddleboarding may be a way to relax and unwind.

“It’s a fantastic activity for the mind,” he said. “For me, it’s all about the simplicity of it; it’s just me, the board and the paddle, and that goes a long way to help me calm and focus my mind.”

Through his paddleboarding guide business The Wandering Paddler, Quinn offers private tours and lessons for people who are looking to paddleboard in New Hampshire. He also picks up and drops off the board and paddle rentals for his customers.

“I’ll go wherever people want to paddle, and if they don’t know where to go to paddle, I’m their guy,” he said.

Shields also offers paddleboard equipment rentals and lessons through his business SUPNH and said the demand is “bigger than ever.”

“If you’re someone who likes being out on the water, just give it a try for a day,” he said. “It will be worth it.”

Go Paddleboarding

Contoocook River Canoe Co.
Offers paddleboard sales, rentals, instruction and guided tours. Retail shop is at 9 Horse Hill Road, Concord. Rentals are $25 for a half day (9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and $35 for a full day (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Lessons with 30 minutes of instruction and one hour of coaching on the water cost $35 per person, with the paddleboard rental included. Call 753-9804 or visit contoocookcanoe.com.

Hampton Beach Parasail & Paddle Board
Offers paddleboard rentals out of its shop at 1 Ocean Blvd., Hampton, starting at $25 for one hour. Call 929-4386 or visit hamptonparasail.com.

Merrimack River Canoe & Kayak
Offers paddleboard rentals out of its shop at 35 Edgewater Drive, Hooksett. Rates are $20 for two hours, $35 for four hours and $45 for a full day. Call 406-1462 or visit paddlemerrimack.com.

Portsmouth Paddle Co.
Offers paddleboard sales, rentals, lessons, tours and yoga sessions. Retail shop is at 70 Heritage Ave., Portsmouth. Rentals start at $40 for two hours. Lessons range from $95 for one person to $60 per person in a group of four and include on-land instruction followed by 45 minutes of on-water coaching. Various tour options are available, starting at $60. Various yoga classes and workshops are held every day of the week, starting at $60. Call 777-7428 or visit portsmouthpaddleco.com.

Seacoast Paddleboard Club
A paddleboarding social club based in Portsmouth, with community paddles held every Tuesday night from May through September. Open ocean paddles for intermediate to advanced paddlers are held every Sunday from June through mid-September on the ocean and typically range from 8 to 12 miles. All paddles are free with a yearly membership fee of $50. Visit seacoastpaddleboardclub.com or call 498-8198.

Seven Rivers Paddling
Offers paddleboard tours, lessons and rentals out of its shop at 185 Wentworth Road, Portsmouth. Rentals cost $45 for three hours and $75 for a full day (9 a.m. to 4 pm.). Tours cost $65 and run for two-and-a-half hours. Visit sevenriverspaddling.com or call 969-5120.

Summer Sessions
Offers paddleboard lessons and rentals out of its two shops, at 15 Vaughn Mall, Portsmouth, and 2281 Ocean Blvd., Rye. One-hour lessons cost $65 for one person and $55 per person for groups of two or more. Rentals cost $35 for a half day and $45 for a full day. Visit newhampshiresurf.com or call the Rye shop at 319-8207 or the Portsmouth shop at 373-8147.

SUP-NH Paddleboard
Offers paddleboard rentals, lessons, repairs and sales. Retail shop is at 10 Mount Major Highway, Alton Bay. Rental options range from two hours for $30 to seven days for $280. A one-hour lesson is $45 per person or $40 per person in groups of three or more. Call 833-1211 or visit supnh.com.

The Wandering Paddler
Mobile service offering paddleboard tours, lessons and rentals throughout New Hampshire. Lessons and private tours cost $45 for two hours and $25 for each additional hour. Specialty tours, like a full moon paddle, are also available for $60. Rentals range from $35 for two hours to $250 for a week and include board delivery and pickup. Call 380-5077 or visit wanderingpaddler.com.

Wild Meadow Paddlesports Rentals & Sales
Offers paddleboard rentals and sales out of its shop at 6 Whittier Highway, Moultonborough. Rentals cost $50 per day (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or $275 for a week. Call 253-7536 or visit wildmeadowpaddlesports.com.

Featured photo: Photo courtesy of Contoocook River Canoe Company, LLC.

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