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Top 20 New Hampshire Events for 2011

Top 20 New Hampshire Events for 2011
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by in May 2011

MAY 13-15: PETERBOROUGH, The Thing in the Spring. Celebrate music, art, and community downtown. Don’t miss the live concerts and “Affordable Arts Fair,” featuring local wares and crafts, including paintings, prints, textiles, sculptures, and more. thethinginthespring.com

MAY 14-15: CONTOOCOOK, New Hampshire Sheep & Wool Festival. At Hopkinton State Fairgrounds: vendors, workshops, fleece and fiber shows, sheepdog trials, and livestock demonstrations and shows. See sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas, rabbits, and more. nhswga.com

MAY 27-29: LISBON, Lilac Festival. This annual event features a parade and carnival, music and live entertainment, kids’ games, local arts and crafts, fireworks, and food vendors, all throughout downtown. 603-838-2200; lisbonmainstreet.org

JUNE 4-5: MOUNT WASHINGTON VALLEY, Inn to Inn Spring Herb Tour. Visit 10 premier country inns in the White Mountains, from Jackson to Chocorua, as each stop presents an in-depth look at a popular culinary herb. Take home historical facts, recipes, and seedlings. Preregistration required. 800-233-8309, 603-383-9339; countryinnsinthewhitemountains.com

JUNE 10, JULY 21: PORTSMOUTH, Writers on a New England Stage. Ann Patchett, best-selling author of Bel Canto and Run, visits The Music Hall in June to discuss her latest novel, State of Wonder, set amid the jungles of the Amazon. July brings Ben Mezrich, best-selling author of The Accidental Billionaires (basis of the movie The Social Network), presenting his newest nonfiction tale, Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History. 603-436-2400; themusichall.org

JUNE 11: PINKHAM NOTCH, There’s a Blackfly in My Eye Trail Race. Swat those bugs and tackle this 10-mile course over carriage roads, rocks, bogs, and stream crossings at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. Solo and relay categories. 603-466-2333; greatglentrails.com

JUNE 11-19: LACONIA, Motorcycle Week. Grab your favorite leather jacket and head to Weirs Beach for this annual event. Races, hill climbs, touring, contests, shows, and more. 603-366-2000; laconiamcweek.com

JUNE 12: NEW CASTLE, Village Walk & Garden Tour. A self-guided stroll through private gardens in a historic seaside town; hop on the trolley at Maude Trefethen School. Benefit for Portsmouth’s Pontine Theatre, which produces original interpretive works. 603-436-6660; pontine.org

JUNE 17-18: PORTSMOUTH, Pocket Gardens of Portsmouth. Sponsored by South Church, this annual walking/biking tour takes enthusiasts through private enclosures in one of the town’s most charming neighborhoods, including the gardens of a selected historic home. Enjoy light refreshments and live music at several stops. 603-436-4762; southchurch-uu.org

JUNE 17-19: MERRIMACK, Rock’N Ribfest. Professional ribbers grill for this nonprofit event sponsored by the Nashua West Rotary at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. BBQ championship, music and entertainment, kids’ activities, hot-air balloon rides, and more. 603-589-2333; rotaryribfest.org

JUNE 18-29: HAMPTON BEACH, Master Sand Sculpting Competition. Participation is by invitation only, but beachgoers have a great time watching, and get to vote for the “People’s Choice” award, too. Marvel at how 300 tons of imported sand are transformed into elaborate storybook characters, historical figures, classic and abstract artworks, architectural masterpieces, fantasy creatures, and, yes, turreted castles and forts. hamptonbeach.org

JUNE 21-AUG. 23: NELSON, Apple Hill Chamber Music Concerts. World-class guest soloists join Apple Hill’s string quartet at the Louise Shonk Kelly Barn during the summer on Tuesday evenings. Free and open to the public. 603-847-3371; applehill.org

JUNE 22-26: PINKHAM NOTCH, Climb to the Clouds. The high point of this motor-sports festival is a race up the 7.6-mile Mount Washington Auto Road to the summit of the tallest peak in the Northeast: a terrific challenge for both car and driver, a serpentine route over tarmac and gravel past dramatic dropoffs. Visit the Web site for additional events all season long–including guided “Bicknell’s Thrush Tours” for dedicated birders–celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Auto Road. 603-466-3988; mtwashingtonautoroad.com, climbtotheclouds.com

JULY 7-10: HILLSBOROUGH, Hillsborough Balloon Festival & Fair. Entertainment on the ground and in the sky at Grimes Field: hot-air balloons, midway, music, parade, road race, artists’ fair, and Saturday-night fireworks extravaganza. 603-464-0377; balloonfestival.org

JULY 14-16: CONCORD, Market Days & Summer Music Festival. Sample the offerings of local merchants and restaurants. Listen to local bands and performers on the “Homegrown Talent” stage; two bands take to the main stage each night. 603-226-2150; mainstreetconcord.com

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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