It’s hard to describe to an outsider just what a rich and vibrant cultural experience we enjoy here in Upper Valley. Live theater, live music, art shows, lectures, film series, book groups, guided history walks, writing seminars, Spanish conversation groups, craft fairs—there is always something interesting going on.
In any other rural area, things might be winding down toward the end of summer. But not here. There’s just as much to do in August as there is at any other time of the year. The five events below are just a small sample of how you can both entertain and enlighten yourself this August.
- Quilt Exhibit. Fiber arts are on full display in Woodstock, Vermont, as Billings Farm and Museum presents its 32nd Quilt Exhibit throughout the entire month of August. The juried show presents quilts that were made exclusively in Windsor County, which only serves to highlight the depth of talent that exists in the rural communities of Vermont. Be sure to take a peek online at the Saturday events lined up for the month of August, too. There’s a unique dance performance called Farm to Ballet! on August 4, the Woodstock Vermont Film Series on August 11, and Heritage Chicken Day on August 18.
- 400 Years of Music. Court Street Arts in Haverhill, New Hampshire, continues to bring a wide variety of cultural experiences to the northern reaches of the Upper Valley. From 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. on August 5 that includes an hour of music with baritone Chris Sarkis and pianist Henry Danaher. The dynamic duo has prepared a program that covers 400 years of musical styles, from early Italian operas to American spiritual music. The performance takes place in Alumni Hall, at 75 Court Street, in Haverhill, located just off the town green. Admission is by donation, with proceeds to benefit the Woodsville High School track and field team.
- Cornish Fair. The roots of its agricultural heritage are still very much in evidence at the annual Cornish Fair, held August 17, 18, and 19 in Cornish, New Hampshire. Produce and animal exhibits abound, horse and oxen pulling remain popular events, and the fair features the largest dairy show in all of New Hampshire. Since its inception in 1950, however, the fair has expanded its mission to include a wide range of entertainment options. Carnival rides and fair food are the main draws, but you can also catch the Kent Family Circus in action, enjoy dog shenanigans with the act Magical Poodles, and relive the glory days of Bon Jovi or Garth Brooks with the tribute bands Bon Jersey or Garth Live! The award-winning Shana Stack Band will also be in Cornish that weekend, as will Sweet Little Bloodhound, Rich Cortese, and Oxford & Clark.
- Apple Pie Festival. On August 25, one of the sweetest competitions in the Upper Valley takes place from 9 a.m.—3 p.m. on the common in Newport, New Hampshire. It’s the 45th Annual Apple Pie Crafts Fair, which has grown to include more than 100 booths of handmade crafts, featuring everything from pottery to soap to glass, woodworking, and fiber arts. The day includes live music, the Newport firemen’s barbecue chicken, and a book sale and a cookie walk at Richards Free Library. At the heart of it all, however, is the apple pie contest. Local bakers compete for the honor of Best Apple Pie, and there’s plenty of homemade pie on sale, too.
- Medicinal Herb Gardening. Herbal supplements are a multimillion dollar business in the United States. Why not learn to make some herbal remedies yourself? On August 30, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., herbalist Happy Griffiths will take you through a guided stroll of the herb garden at the Enfield Shaker Museum, discuss 10 herbs in detail, then talk about how to make teas, tinctures, poultices, and oils. The group will also work together to produce an herbal salve. The museum is located on Route 4 in Enfield, New Hampshire. Registration is required.