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Lupines in June
Photograph: Visit New Hampshire

Your New Hampshire guide for 2022

From motorcycle rallies to arts festivals, read on to find out the most exciting things happening in the Granite State in 2022

Written by Gerrish Lopez in association with Visit New Hampshire

2022 promises to be a fantastic time to visit New Hampshire, with lively festivals and cool events scheduled throughout the year. From maple sugaring in March to food festivals in fall, these are some of the best annual events in New Hampshire. Build a memorable Granite State getaway around one of these happenings while allowing enough time to check out some of the best things to do in New Hampshire. Take a few scenic drives to these charming towns and cities that come alive whenever they host one of these annual events. Besides the great people watching opportunities, you’ll get a chance to see an otherwise quiet community pull out all the stops for their biggest gatherings of the year. 

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Your New Hampshire guide for 2022

Maple Sugaring Month celebrates New Hampshire sugarhouses producing maple syrup. During the month of March, sugarhouses across the state are open to the public. Stroll maple orchards, tour a sugar shack to see how the syrup is made, and of course sample sweet, fresh-made maple products.

The nation’s oldest motorcycle rally, first held in 1916, takes place in Laconia each June. The nine-day festival is all about bikes and camaraderie, with events and activities throughout. Scenic motorcycle rides wind through the region and a slew of live music performances are lined up for entertainment.

Each June, 200 tons of extra sand are dumped on Hampton Beach in preparation as master sand sculptors descend on the town to create breathtaking works of art. With more than $25,000 in prizes, it’s some serious competition. The public can watch the artists at work, and the resulting masterpieces are available for viewing about 10 days after the competition. As it takes place on Hampton Beach, there’s plenty of additional entertainment nearby.

A tradition since 1974, Prescott Park Arts Festival offers a summer full of free concerts, musical theater, festivals, dance, art, kids events and more in the waterfront Prescott Park in downtown Portsmouth. The calendar is packed with a variety of events, so it’s a perfect time to visit Portsmouth and enjoy local arts and culture.

This four day festival has been a family favorite for more than a quarter century. The town comes alive with amusement rides, live entertainment, a town parade, road race, fireworks show, car and truck show and—for something a little different— the Women’s Skillet Toss, which is exactly what it sounds like.

This festival celebrates all things Moose. Held annually the weekend before Labor Day, festivities typically include a moose calling contest, live music, artisan & craft vendors, horse & wagon rides, a dog show, maple syrup tasting contest and a classic car show.

The Great Waters Music Festival celebrates performing arts by bringing outstanding, diverse musical groups to the Lakes Region during summer months. From folk to rock to acapella and more, concerts are held open air under a tent on the lawn of Castle in the Clouds. The festival engages with the Wolfeboro community year-round with music education programs, so each season supports a great cause.

An amazing way to taste the bounty of the region’s waters, this oceanside festival features dozens of the Seacoast’s top restaurants serving amazing seafood dishes. There’s live entertainment, local crafts, chef demos, fireworks, and plenty of entertainment for kids. Don’t miss the lobster roll eating contest, a favorite festival event.

Loon Mountain hosts this fall festival that has been celebrating Scottish culture since 1975. Entertainment includes pipe and drum performances, Celtic bands and highland dancers. Watch sheep dog trials and athletic feats of strength (try your hand at some of the feats!). Vendors sell Scottish faves like haggis, meat pies and scotch eggs as well as Scottish crafts and goodies.

An entire annual festival has sprung up in Exeter to commemorate the sighting of strange lights in the town in 1965. A local 18 year old reported the sighting to the police but nothing came of it other than stories, and eventually a celebration of all things alien. Held each September, there are talks by UFO researchers, activities, food, and family fun all in the name of charity. While it may not be as big as the annual event in Roswell, NM, it’s fun for all and spotlights the quaint town of Exeter.

This fall favorite lights up the Androscoggin River in Berlin each October. A series of fires burning on historic boom piers appear to be floating on the water. It’s a beautiful site, complemented by glowing carved pumpkins decorating the town bridge and entertainment including live music, a Halloween costume parade, a cornhole tournament and vendors.

The holiday season is extra special in Portsmouth. The Strawbery Banke Museum in partnership with the Portsmouth Music Hall present holiday events that highlight the picturesque town. From a candlelight stroll through the Museum grounds to musical performances both indoors and outside to a gingerbread house contest, this is a holiday celebration not to be missed.

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