10 events to visit in New Hampshire this spring


Not only the name of a famous book of poems from the 1920s, ‘Spring in New Hampshire’ is also a byword for a time of year when great events take place across the state.

(Photo: NH Bacon & Beer Festival)

The New England state is characterised by its quaint towns and large expanses of wilderness. But beyond its geography, it is also a hotbed of culture and entertainment, with tons of renowned shows and events held here throughout the year. If you’re coming to New Hampshire this spring and would like to see what’s going on while you’re here, we’ve picked out 10 of the best events set to happen over the coming months.

NH Bacon & Beer Festival

Organised by High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire – who provide life-enhancing experiences and medical equipment to sick children – this festival celebrates everyone’s favourite piggy treat alongside a mouth-watering selection of well-crafted brews. Over 60 craft breweries and 50 50 bacon and barbecue samplers are once again expected to descend on the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in the town of Merrimack, where there’ll also be dessert and merchandise vendors, plus live music to keep everyone’s toes tapping.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Merrimack / 1 June 

Laconia Motorcycle Week

(Photo: Rene Schwietzke via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Begun as a gypsy tour in 1916, Laconia MCWeek is the oldest bike rally in America and has been a continuous annual event for over 100 years, except for stoppages for the Great Depression and WWII. Today the event attracts over 250,000 riders from all over the US and Canada. Located on the banks of Lake Winnipesaukee, at Weirs Beach, the headquarters is uniquely suited for riding throughout all of New Hampshire from the mountains to the ocean. The back roads and scenic vistas throughout the state are attractive for bikers seeking to get away and explore the concerts, parties, hill climbs and vintage races.

Laconia / 8-16 June

Cask.On: New Hampshire’s Cask Beer Festival

New Hampshire’s biggest real ale event returns in 2024, when it will once again rally both hyper-local and regional breweries to put together a unique tasting experience for beer aficionados. New for this year is a judging panel who will test and score a handful of cask samples before the winner is announced at the end of the festival, with a “crowd favourite” award also selected. Special guests and brewers will be present throughout the day. Admission tickets include a hearty bowl of chilli and buffalo bacon mac n cheese and a collectors glass to use for your samples and take away as a memento.

Cask & Vine, Derry / 30 March

The Thing in the Spring

(Photo: Jim Murphy)

Founded back in 2008, this hugely popular annual music and arts festival takes comes to downtown Keene each year with a busy programme of curated concerts and exhibitions that draws hundreds of locals and visitors alike. Held over a full weekend, the festival’s music offerings span a wide range of genres, with performers hailing from New England and beyond and strutting their stuff across two stages at the Nova Arts music venue. Other notable events and activities in previous years have included poetry readings, an experimental sound lab, and yoga and ice baths.

Nova Arts Block, downtown Keene / 16-19 May 

Spring Awakening Pow Wow

There is no shortage of depictions of Native Americans in popular culture, but it is also important to give those with an indigenous heritage the opportunity to share and celebrate their own traditions on their own terms. Held at the Winnisquam Regional High School in the town of Tilton, this annual spring festival – one of many ‘pow wows’ that take place across the US – does just that, with the one-day event featuring Native American drums, dancers, vendors, raffles and lashings of food and drink.

Winnisquam Regional High School, Tilton / 4 May

Chowderfest and Brews

(Photo: Waterville Valley Resort)

A regular fixture on New Hampshire’s annual calendar for over 30 years, Chowderfest & Brews is packed full of family-friendly fun and delicious chowder samples from a variety of local restaurants.  Festival-goers can vote for your favourite and the winning chowder chef will receive the coveted “Golden Clam Award.” There’ll also be ample opportunity to pair your chowders with a brew, with a wide selection of seasonal New Hampshire beers available. A free outdoor concert in the Town Square Gazebo adds to the occasion.

Waterville Valley Resort / May

Memorial Day Weekend Craft Festival

With its beautiful vistas, sculpture walk and award-winning winery, the town of Meredith positively oozes quintessential New England charm. Each May, the town’s scenic Mill Falls marketplace, located directly across from the big Lake Winnipesaukee, comes alive with colour, flavour and music at the Memorial Weekend Craft Festival. Over 100 juried craftsmen and artisans from all over New England display their American-made works, spanning everything from fine jewellery and folk art to hair accessories and soy candles. Visitors can also sample a variety of speciality foods such as kettle corn, pickles, balsamic vinegars, pepper spreads, and beef jerky.

Mill Falls Marketplace, Meredith / May

Rodrigo y Gabriela

(Photo: Julio Enriquez via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Acclaimed Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela bring their distinctive sounds to the city of Nashua in southern New Hampshire for one night only this May as part of a two-month US tour. The pair, whose music is influenced by a number of genres including nuevo flamenco, rock and heavy metal, will perform hits from their back catalogue at one of the state’s newest entertainment venues, Nashua Center for the Arts, which opened less than a year ago. Expect hallmark instrumental duets belted out on a flamenco guitar.

Nashua Center for the Arts, Nashua / 5 May 

Journeyman – A Tribute to Eric Clapton

Another musical extravaganza coming to the Nashua Center for the Arts this spring is this new, refreshing take on the classic tunes from legendary English rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, Eric Clapton. A five-man band, led by renowned blues guitarist Shaun Hague, who cites Clapton as being his biggest musical influence, will play covers ranging from the days of John Mayall’s Blues breakers to the present day, in front of a packed-out crowd at the one-night show.

Nashua Center for the Arts, Nashua / 28 April

Great Bay Half Marathon

The Great Bay Half Marathon returns for another year this April, once again promising a heady mix of spectacular views and uphill climbs for intrepid runners in New Hampshire’s scenic Great Bay area. Among the highlights of the gorgeous but challenging course is a 3.5-mile section on a well-maintained winding dirt road where runners can catch sightings of bald eagles and great blue herons, before a dramatic finish in the heart of historic Newmarket. Those of a less energetic disposition can play their part by cheering on the participants from the sidelines. Be sure to stick around for the post-race party, too

Great Bay Estuary, Newmarket / 7 May

By Paul Joseph