Pride on display in Nashua

Gate City to host pride festival, parade

By Katelyn Sahagian

The city of Nashua will show love and support for LGBTQ individuals, supporting family members and straight allies with Nashua’s 2022 Pride Festival on Saturday, June 25, from 2 to 6 p.m.

“It’s important to [Mayor Jim Donchess] that everyone feels welcome and part of the community,” said Kathleen Palmer, the communications and special projects coordinator for the office of the mayor.

Before the festival starts, there will be a Pride parade, said Palmer. Attendees who want to walk in the parade can register online in advance at At the festival grounds, Daunchess will give a speech and religious leaders will hold an interfaith blessing.

Live music will feature transgender artists Who.iAm and St. Blair, the New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus, and the local rock band Venom & Mayhem Twins. The Nashua Community Music School will preview their evening concert with music by nonbinary composer Aiden Feltkamp.

Food trucks from Kona Ice, Jeannette’s Concessions, and Soel Sistas will offer Hawaiian-style shaved ice, classic festival deep-fried candies and hand-cut french fries, and tender barbecue and soul food. Stonyfield Yogurt will be handing out free yogurt cups.

A free drag show will be held inside the Court Street Theatre from 3 to 4 pm. The show is geared toward an older audience and wouldn’t be appropriate for children, Palmer said. She added that the Peacock Players Youth Theatre will have games and activities for younger festival goers on the lawn between the library and the Court Street Theatre.

After the festival officially ends, some Nashua businesses want to keep the party going. Martha’s Exchange is hosting an adults-only drag show with Pandora Boxx from Ru Paul’s Drag Race as a special guest. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $35 for VIP, and the doors will open at 7 p.m. There will be a free open mic night from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Vibe Yoga (182 Main St.) and a 5 p.m. concert at the Nashua Community Music School (2 Lock St.).

Palmer said that the Office of the Mayor had wanted to introduce an after-festival event for people too young to attend adult-only events but who want to still keep the party going.

“We discovered after the first few years of Pride that there was a big need for things for the youth of the community to do,” Palmer said. They partnered with the Gender and Sexualities Alliance at Nashua Community College and the Unitarian Universalist Church to host an after-festival dance party.

The party is for youth ages 14 to 20 and free. It’s being held at the Unitarian Universalist Church and will start at 7 p.m.

Palmer said that the fun-filled day is one that the mayor’s office hopes emphasizes the message that Nashua is a friendly place for LGBTQ people.

“The event is important to Mayor Donchess,” Palmer said. “We want everyone to know that Nashua is a welcoming city for the LGBTQ community.”

Nashua Pride Festival
When: Saturday, June 25, from 2 to 6 p.m.
Where: Parade will kick off at Elm Street Middle School, 117 Elm St., and the festival will be at the Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St.
Cost: The festival is free; afterparty events prices vary.
Visit: to sign up to walk in the parade.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

Keep it local

Consider native shrubs for your yard

Many of the “cast iron” shrubs that no one can kill are now deemed invasive: barberry, burning bush, multiflora rose and bush honeysuckle. And many others, while not invasive, have been overused: lilacs, rhododendrons and spirea, for example, are nice but not too exciting. Today I’d like to share some nice native shrubs that support wildlife and add beauty to your landscape. These are arranged here roughly in order of season of interest (for flowers, bark, berries)

close up of flower on branch
Calycanthus or sweetshrub is a shade-loving shrub I love. Photo courtesy of Henry Homeyer.

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin): I grew up chewing on the twigs and leaves of this small native with a distinctive flavor that I like. It grows in dry shade and has yellow flowers early in the spring, and red berries in the fall. But to get berries you have both males and female plants (and they are not sexed the way winterberries are). The leaves can be used to make a spicy tea. It tolerates some drought, but prefers moist rich soil.

Common sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus): This can be a fussy plant — I have moved mine twice to find just the right amount of sun. I have it growing under a tall, sparse pear tree and right now it is loaded with wine-red blossoms, each a bit like a miniature peony. Allegedly fragrant, but mine is not, so buy in bloom and sniff first if fragrance is important to you. Reference books generally say it does best in full sun with moist soil, but mine burned in the sun, even with wet soil. Native to the south, but hardy to Zone 4.

Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia): This is a native that often plants itself — with the help of birds — in semi-shaded places. Its structure is fabulous — it often has 2 feet of stem between horizontal branches arranged in tiers. It prefers part shade, but I do have it in full sun growing out of a high rock wall. It grows 15 to 25 feet tall. Birds love the berries (drupes, actually) in August. White, subtle flowers in June. Not often sold in nurseries, but try it if you can find it. Avoid the variegated-leafed variety; it is not nearly as tough a plant and often fails to thrive

small tree with dark red leaves, in large garden
Pagoda dogwood showing fall color and interesting branching patterns. Photo courtesy of Henry Homeyer.

Blueberries: So many gardeners avoid blueberries because “the birds will just eat them.” Well, why not plant some for them? They have lovely white blossoms in June, nice fruit for feeding the birds and lovely red foliage in the fall. The trick to success? Test your soil, and then add sulfur or a fertilizer-containing sulfur designed for hollies and such. You need the soil pH to be between 4.5 and 5.5 to get good fruit production. And who knows? You might get a few berries yourself — even without netting. (I avoid netting as birds get tangled in it and die).

Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica): New to me. I just bought one at Spring Ledge Farm in New London, New Hampshire, when I saw one in bloom. It was gorgeous, and although it’s rated as a Zone 5 plant and I’m a little colder than that some years, I had to try it. It has bottlebrush white flowers in June and red fall foliage. Best of all, for me, it does well alongside water or in wet places in full sun to part shade — and I have plenty of that. It stays 3 to 4 feet tall, but can spread by root. Full sun to full shade.

Smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens): Along with oak-leafed hydrangea, this is a native that grows wild in the forest as an understory shrub. It is stoloniferous (it spreads by roots) and only gets to be about 3 feet tall, but can form large clumps. I recently read an article about these on research done that cites a named variety called ‘Haas Halo’ that is said to be the best of all hydrangeas for pollinators. Fortunately, I had already purchased some last fall. It is, however, attractive to deer. They got eaten last fall, but came back from the roots vigorously this spring.

Rosebay rhododendron (R. maximum): This is another understory shrub, but can get quite large. I like it because it grows in shade or sun, and blooms (for me) in July. It is native to Appalachia, and large specimens dug in the wild are often sold in the nursery business. It can have either white or pink blossoms. Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, is worth a visit in July — there are 16 acres of rhododendrons and mountain laurel.

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia): This is an August bloomer, fragrant and handsome. It blooms well in light to moderate shade, and thrives in moist soils (where full sun is tolerated). The bottlebrush flowers are upright and range from white to pink to red. Many selections are sold as named varieties.

Red-twigged dogwood (Cornus sericea): Common in the wet places in the wild and in roadside ditches. Its best attribute is the bright red bark in winter of first- or second-year stems. To keep it looking bright, cut back older stems each year. It can grow new stems up to 5 feet tall in one year!

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata): Common in nurseries, these bear bright red berries in winter that are great in wreaths — and for hungry birds. In the wild they grow in standing water, but once established they will do fine in most gardens. Buy a male cultivar for every five or so females.

So visit your local nursery, talk to someone knowledgeable, and buy some new shrubs. Ask for native shrubs that are good for our birds and pollinators. There are plenty of others not mentioned here that are nice, too!

Featured photo: Sweetspire grows alongside my stream and has nice fall color. Photo courtesy of Henry Homeyer.

Kiddie Pool 22/06/23

Family fun for the weekend

Wild days at the YMCA

• The YMCA of Downtown Manchester (30 Mechanic St.; 623-3558) is bringing back Rock the Block, after a two-year hiatus, for its sixth year. The party will be from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, and will shut down Mechanic Street. It’s free for all families to attend. There will be a DJ, different games and activities, a coloring competition, cornhole, a bounce house, arts and crafts, temporary tattoos, giveaways and more. There will also be an assortment of food, ice cream and drinks. Thrive Outdoors, an organization dedicated to teaching people and children about wilderness preparedness and survival skills, will be holding wellness activities. Admission is free. Register for the event on the YMCA’s Facebook page at

• The Greater Londonderry YMCA (206 Rockingham Road, Londonderry) will be holding Kids Night at the Y, a pool-party themed activities night for 4- to 12-year-old kids on Saturday, June 25, from 5 to 8 p.m. The YMCA’s trained child care staff will be taking care of the children, so parents can take time to themselves. In addition to active play, there will be different arts and crafts projects and a STEM workshop for kids wanting to do some science. A pizza dinner will also be served. Tickets are $25 for one child and $10 for each additional sibling. Register at

Nature on display

• Snakes, lizards, spiders and exotic pets will be on display at the New England Reptile Expo, happening at the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown (700 Elm St., Manchester) on Saturday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors will include everything from exotic fish and axolotl to geckos and boas. This is the largest exotic animal expo in New England and will have 180 vendor tables, featuring more than 75 breeders. Attendees are asked to leave their own exotic pets at home. Tickets are for sale at the door and cost $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 7 to 12, and free for kids younger than 6. Visit

• Petals in the Pines’ last Spread Your Wings for this month will be on Monday, June 27, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event allows for infants to elementary school age kids to explore the outdoor classroom at Petals in the Pines (126 Baptist Road, Canterbury; 783-0220). Kids can choose to build a fort in the Leaf Litter Messy area, do crafts at the Indian Paintbrush Nature Art area, tend to vegetables in the Peter Rabbit Garden or build a fairy house in the Fairy Village. Reservations are required and can be placed at The price is $10 per adult with one child, $5 for each additional child and infants are free. The maximum price is $20 per family.

• Starting on Thursday, June 30, the New Hampshire Boat Museum (399 Center St., Wolfeboro Falls; 569-4554) is hosting Lake Discovery Family Days, in which kids can participate in activities related to boating and the water from 10:30 a.m. to noon. All the activities will take place outside of the museum. Kids can learn about lake ecology, do aquatic-themed arts and crafts, and play lakeshore games. The event is free of charge but does require registration. Visit

Celebrating summer

• The SEE Science Center’s (200 Bedford St., Manchester; 669-0400, Kickoff to Summer continues through Sunday, June 26, with special activities, raffles and “Spinning Science into Fun” performances by Brett “Ooch” Outchcunis featuring yo-yos, spin tops, frisbees and more, according to a press release. The center is open daily at 10 a.m. (through 4 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on weekends) and admission costs $10 per person ages 3 and up. Advance registration is recommended, the website said.

Free museum time

• The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St., Dover; 742-2002) is hosting Free Play Days for children from military families through Labor Day. All summer long, the children of active military members, including the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard and members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps and veterans can sign up to play for free. Mask-optional days are Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. Mask-required days are Tuesdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to noon. The museum limits the registration to five immediate family members, and military identification is required upon registration. Register at

Big plans for Market Days

Find live performances, family fun and shopping in downtown Concord

By Delaney Beaudoin

Market Days Festival is returning for its 48th year this weekend in downtown Concord. Located right on Main Street, the festival will run from Thursday, June 23, through Saturday, June 25, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. At no cost to attend, the festival has events scheduled for the entire family, making it an ideal and affordable way to spend a summer weekend.

This year, the festival will feature more than 160 vendors setting up tents and booths along Main Street, along with three outdoor stages of live music each day, kid-friendly activities including yoga and bounce houses, a dog-friendly park and three beer gardens. Vendors include local retail stores, restaurants and cafes, nonprofit organizations and local service providers.

Originally known as Old Fashioned Market Days, the festival was started as a way for merchants to clear out their old inventory and make room for the new season. Jessica Martin, Executive Director of the nonprofit Intown Concord, responsible for planning the festival, noted the important role that the Market Days Festival has played in the community of Concord throughout its duration.

“It’s just grown and just became this tradition. It’s kind of taken on a life of its own as far as a community event goes, I think it does a lot for bringing people downtown. We really try to focus on making it accessible for everyone,” Martin said.

In addition to playing a large role in building Concord’s community, the festival acts as an important event for the city’s arts scene. Each of the festival’s three stages will feature a wide array of live music performances throughout each day. Most notably, the nationally known band Vertical Horizon is set to perform on the main stage on Saturday, June 25, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. This performance, born from a collaboration between the festival and the Capitol Center for the Arts, is, according to Executive Director Salvatore Prizio, the first time the pair has hosted such a high-profile artist.

“This is our proof of concept. And if it works really well this year, we’ll come back next year,” he said. “We’re going to mix things up and we’re going to try new things with it and just kind of keep the audience happy and entertained. I want everybody to have a good time.”

The Concord Arts Market will also be set up at the festival, on Pleasant Street each day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. More than 30 artists and artisans will be selling their handmade work. Some of the items available to purchase include fine art paintings, jewelry, photography, handmade soaps and pottery.

“I think it’s an opportunity to bring in a wider audience that we don’t always have, or that we’re not always able to tap into for our regular market,” said Christa Zuber, producer of the Concord Arts Market. According to Zuber, the arts market, which previously operated on a weekly basis, has transitioned to monthly in recent years.

“We found that switching it to monthly from weekly … kind of gives it a little more of an event status. A little more urgency for people to come on the day that it’s there … like if you don’t come, and you’re going to miss it,” she said.

Market Days Festival
Here are some of the events planned at this weekend’s festival.

Clueless (PG-13, 1995) film screening
Where: Red River Theatres, 11 S. Main St., Concord
When: Friday, June 24, dusk
Red River Theatres will also hold its Music, Movie & Poster sale during Market Days.

Headliner: Vertical Horizon Performance
Where: The Main Stage (South Main Street, Concord)
When: Saturday, June 25, from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

KidZone presented by Vertical Entertainment
Where: Statehouse lawn
When: June 23 through June 25, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Meet the Instruments and Students
Where: City Hall Plaza
When: Saturday, 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

Storytime Under the Tree
Where: State House Lawn
When: All three days, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Blossom Yoga
Where: State House Lawn
When: Thursday, June 23, and Friday, June 24, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Comedy and Juggling with Jason Tardy
Where: City Hall Plaza
When: Saturday, June 25, noon and 3 p.m.

Music & Movement with Miss Heather
Where: City Hall Plaza
When: All three days, 10 a.m.

Zumba for the Whole Family
Where: City Hall Plaza
When: Friday, June 24, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Doggy Splash Pad
Where: By the Statehouse
When: June 23 through June 25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Concord Pilates
Where: Statehouse Lawn
When: June 23 through June 25, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Boy Scouts Mobile Base Camp
Where: City Plaza
When: Saturday, June 25, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Concord Arts Market
Where: Pleasant Street
When: June 23 through June 25, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Featured photo: Courtesy of Intown Concord.

It’s not too late to start some less common veggies

Artichokes, tomatillos and other plants that still have time to thrive

It’s not too late to plant some more things in the vegetable garden. It’s only June, and there is still time. Here are some tips for some less commonly planted veggies — for growing and/or using. It’s way too late to start most things from seed, but you can sometimes buy started plants at a good local greenhouse or garden center.

Artichokes: These are big plants, so you need a 2-foot-wide square in good, rich, moist soil in full sun. You will get one good-sized “choke” on the top of the plant, and a few more as side shoots. Grow them because the foliage and chokes are beautiful, even if not much food. They are nice in the flower garden, too.

Brussels sprouts: I get many emails complaining that the little green globes that we eat never get big. But that’s easy to fix: On Labor Day weekend, go to the garden with a sharp knife. Then, as the Red Queen of Alice and Wonderland said, “Off with their heads!” That’s right; slice off the top 4 inches or so of the plant and it will plump up the sprouts and stop putting all its energy into getting taller. They are incredibly frost-hardy, so you can harvest as late as Christmas if you wish.

Cauliflower: These guys are fussy. If they get too cold, too hot, too wet or too dry they will only produce a ”button” of a head. But if you’re lucky, you’ll get a mouth-watering delight. And they come in purple, too! But cooked, the purple turns gray — so use them in a salad where the purple will amaze your guests.

Celeriac: These are root crops related to celery but easier to grow. My home-grown celery was always stringy and attracted slugs, so I stopped growing it. But celeriac is easy — if you have soil that stays moist. I usually start seeds indoors in March but forgot this year, so I just bought some plants in a four-pack at my local nursery. Harvest late in fall to let them get as big as possible.

Kale: A favorite of the Birkenstock crew it should be grown by everyone. Why? It’s a green vegetable that is easy to grow and, unlike lettuce or spinach, it freezes well. I blanch it, and freeze it in zipper bags to use in soups, stews and smoothies all winter. Your garden center may still have seedlings, but you could start some by direct seeding in the ground for a fall crop. Each plant needs about 16 inches of space, so if starting from seed, plant several seeds in a group at that spacing, and then thin out all but one after they germinate.

Kohlrabi: These are in the cabbage/broccoli family but are an above-ground root (actually an enlarged stem). The leaves pop out of the purple or light green above-ground sphere. Some should be harvested at the size of baseballs; others are still perfect when the size of a duckpin bowling ball. The seed packet will tell you which you have. They taste a bit like broccoli and can be used raw in salads or cooked in a stir-fry or soup. Some, like “Gigante,” will store for six months in a cool cellar or fridge. These grow fast, so you can plant seeds now.

Parsnips: I usually plant by seed around June 15 because they won’t germinate in cold soil. Seeds are good for only one year, so share the seed packet with your neighbor. We “older folks” love parsnips. Parsnips grow like carrots but get bigger. I leave them in the ground all winter and harvest them first thing in the spring. I steam them and serve them with butter and (real) maple syrup (of course).

Pole beans: Unlike bush beans, they keep on producing all summer if you keep on picking them. “Kentucky Wonder” is the classic, but the tastiest I’ve eaten in “Kwintus,” which is still good when picked big. Kwintus seeds are hard to find, but they are available from Fedco Seeds.

Rutabagas: Why do people never raise their hand when I ask a group, “Other than me, who has grown these gems?”? I admit, it’s an old-fashioned vegetable, one our grandparents grew. But it’s easy to start from seed, it’s tasty and it produces a lot of food. Use it just like potatoes in a stew. Its advantage is that it won’t crumble and fall apart after reheating the stew a few times. And potato beetles aren’t a problem. Just thin them to 4 inches apart and you will get roots bigger than any of your potatoes. Start by seed now.

Swiss chard: Swiss chard is actually the same species as beets, but has been selected for big leaves, not big roots. Plant by seed (or plants if you can find them) now. Bedrock Gardens in Lee, N.H. (one of New England’s quiet gems) used purple-leafed ones in their garden last year (or was that a purple-leafed beet?). “Bright Lights” Swiss chard offers stems in red, purple, yellow, orange and green. Plant them in the flower garden, eat them raw or steamed.

Tomatillos: These are used in Mexican dishes and can be grown here. But you need two plants to get proper pollination. I didn’t know that and only planted one the first time I tried it. It made fruit capsules, but with nothing inside! Look for plants at your local greenhouse.

Thank you, John Lenat (1888 to 1967), my maternal grandfather. You not only taught me how to make a good compost pile, you taught me the joy of eating fresh vegetables only minutes after picking them. I am eternally grateful.

Featured photo: Kohlrabi. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

Just plane fun

Aviation Museum to host annual fly-in barbecue

By Katelyn Sahagian

Along with the smoked chicken and pulled pork, something truly special is coming to Nashua for Father’s Day weekend: two fully functional World War II veteran airplanes. One of the historic planes will be selling 15- and 30-minute flights to enthusiasts.

Vintage plane owners will glide down the runway and greet families at Nashua Airport on Saturday, June 18, for the Aviation Museum’s annual fly-in barbecue.

A 10-seater Catalina, named “The Flying Turtle,” is being flown in from Aurora, Illinois, and attendees will be able to take a flight in it.

The Catalina served in the European theater of the war and was part of a squadron of planes that took out more than five German U-Boats. After the war, the plane worked as an airliner in Canada before being renovated into a luxurious air yacht, which was featured in Time magazine. The aircraft was refurbished with brand-new engines and parts to keep it safe for passengers in the 1980s.

“It’s pretty much the best [Catalina] around,” said Jeff Rapsis, the Aviation Museum’s executive director (and Hippo’s associate publisher). “Very few are still airworthy and this one was restored to a pristine condition.”

Historic Air Tours, the organization that maintains and operates The Flying Turtle, will sell 15- and 30-minute flights from noon to 2 p.m., for $250 and $350 per person respectively.

“Dad doesn’t need another necktie, but he could always use a ride in a World War II flying boat,” Rapsis said. “What dad wouldn’t want a ride in a Catalina?”

Jason Owen, a volunteer with Historic Air Tours, said the current owner of The Flying Turtle, John O’Connor, who purchased the Catalina in 2020, decided he wanted to share the history of this renovated wartime plane with as many people as he could.

“It’s really a piece of history,” Owen said. “It tells its own unique story of being a World War II vet, an airliner in Canada, and a luxury air yacht in the ’50s.”

The second plane on display, a PT-23 plane, a two-seater bird with an open cockpit that will be flown in from Texas, was used as a training aircraft for wartime pilots who had finished their studies in the classroom, before they could fly a bomber or fast fighter, said Rapsis.

“You have to start at the basics,” Rapsis said. “You [had] to work your way up.”

Thousands of these training planes were made during the war, but Rapsis said it’s rare to see any left because “[they] weren’t designed to last.” Attendees will be able to look inside the cockpit of the PT-23, but it won’t be giving flights.

“The main point of the event is to give families a chance to get close to aviation and up close to pilots and planes and aircrafts,” Rapsis said. “[At] this event you can … talk to the pilots and see the airport up close. We hope it helps spur interest in airplanes in young kids so there will be a next generation.”

Interested participants can also experience what world-renowned air show pilot Rob Holland, a Nashua native, encountered during a six-minute choreographed flight with a virtual reality headset.

“It’s not too often you get a chance to see what it’s like to be in aerobatics,” Rapsis said.

The museum will serve a barbecue buffet at noon, which will include smoked chicken, pulled pork, bowls of baked beans, mixed green salads, pasta, sweet desserts, and soft drinks.

“Our mission at the museum is to get kids excited about aviation so they’ll be tomorrow’s pilots, engineers, and aviators,” Rapsis said.

Aviation Museum fly-in barbecue
When: Saturday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Nashua Jet Aviation, Nashua Airport, 83 Perimeter Road
Tickets: $30 adults; $25 museum members; $10 ages 6 to 12; free for kids 5 and under. Can be purchased at or by calling 669-4877. Flights on The Flying Turtle will cost $350 for a 30-minute flight and $250 for a 15-minute flight per person.
More info:

Featured photo: A young visitor gets a chance to see aircraft up close and personal at Nashua Airport during a prior Fly-In BBQ. Photo courtesy of the Aviation Museum.

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