Beat the Heat at 10 Summer Food Festivals

Samantha Cave

The summer heat is beginning to set in, and with it comes festival season! Each year, New Hampshire and the broader New England region are home to dozens of festivals celebrating local food, drink, craftsmanship, and talent. By attending festivals like these, you’re supporting local food and drink businesses as well as having the opportunity to try the area’s most delicious offerings. We’ve rounded up a few of the area’s most well-known festivals, as well as a few lesser-known gems: there’s something for everyone!

New England Brewfest - June 23, 3-8PM - Loon Mountain Resort, Lincoln NH

NE Brewfest

Let the beer flow at the 14th annual New England Brewfest, one of the area’s best beer festivals! This year’s event will feature unique craft beers by breweries such as Backyard Brewery, Samuel Adams, Switchback Brewing Co., Tuckerman Brewing, and more! Be ready to dance too, because the entire day will include live music. Although the Brewfest occurs on Saturday, there will be additional beer-themed events throughout the weekend.

Best of NH Party - June 14, 6:30PM -Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, Manchester NH

New Hampshire Magazine polled over 15,000 Granite Staters this year on their favorite businesses in the state- all leading up to the biggest party of the year to celebrate the 2018 winners! More than 65 local food and drink vendors (including tacos, pizza, mac & cheese, seafood, candy, beer, and wine) will provide sampling. The night will also include live music, a fireworks show, and an appearance by comedian Jimmy Dunn. Even better, the party will benefit Stay Work Play NH, which works to encourage the younger generation to settle down in NH.

NE Food Truck Festival - June 30-July 1 - Eastern States Exposition Center, West Springfield MA

This is New England’s largest food truck festival, with almost 50 unique food trucks serving treats from grilled cheese to cupcakes! Many of the food trucks are well-known throughout the region, and some have even won awards. Better yet, you can buy a two-day pass for an entire weekend of good eats. There will also be live music, and the event is completely kid-friendly.

NH Brewer’s Festival - July 14, 1-4PM - Everett Arena, Concord NH

The 5th annual NH Brewer’s Festival brings over the most NH brewers out of any celebration in the state, with over 40 brewers showcasing more than 100 beers. The event is put on by the NH Brewer’s Association, and is a unique event in that it is “For the Brewers, By the Brewers” - proceeds help to support their organization. You’ll get unlimited beer sampling, a souvenir tasting glass, and there will also be plenty of food offerings.

Waterville Chocolate Festival - July 28, 6-8:30PM - Waterville Valley Resort, Waterville Valley NH

The 19th Chocolate Festival at Waterville Valley Resort is back! With free admission, you can feel free to sit back and enjoy an outdoor concert in Town Square by The Chris White Band. Of course, the highlight of the event is the wide variety of chocolate treats for sale by various local stores and restaurants! This year, there will also be a craft beer sampling hosted by Amoskeag Beverages.

Maine  LobsterMaine Lobster Festival - August 1-5,  Harbor Park, Rockland ME

Held annually since 1947, the Maine Lobster Festival is one of the biggest and best-known summer attractions in the New England region! Last year more than 19,000 pounds of lobster was served, along with other fresh Maine seafood like scallops, clams, and shrimp. In addition to the food, attendees can be prepared to spend the day perusing a fine arts and crafts show, seeing live performances, drink at a “Steins and Vines” tasting, race across lobster crates, and watch The Big Parade go by.

Attitash Blueberry Festival - August 4, 10AM-6PM -  Attitash Mountain Resort, Bartlett NH

Get ready for a day celebrating everybody’s favorite blue fruit! Of course, the main events of the festival are the Blueberry Pie Baking contest, and the Blueberry Pie Eating contest! There will also be a wide variety of blueberry flavored BBQ, sweets, and drinks available for your selection. Bring your whole family, because this event is kid-friendly and features many additional fun activities such as a cornhole tournament, face painting, and a live band.

VT Cheese

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival - August 12, 11AM-4PM - Shelburne Farms, Shelburne VT

Did you know that Vermont has the highest number of cheesemakers, per capita, of any state? Celebrate with them at the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival’s 10th anniversary! Over 40 cheesemakers will be there, with an additional 80 artisan food and drink producers. Besides being a sampling event, the festival also features different workshops and demonstrations to attendees for an interactive experience.

Fire on the Mountain Chili Fest - August 19, 12-4:30PM - Pats Peak Ski Area, Henniker NH

The Henniker Rotary Club hosts this Chili Festival each year, and so far has raised $175,000 that goes towards various international and local charity causes. The festival has a competitive chili contest judged by local celebrity foodies, along with cash prizes for the winners. Guests are free to sample as many different chilis as they can eat! There will also be an antique car show on the grounds, a designated KidZone, a craft and art fair, and live music.

Hampton Beach Seafood Festival - September 7-9 - Hampton Beach, Hampton NH

Rounding out the summer festival season, the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival is consistently rated as one of the best festivals in the region. This year over 60 of the area’s top restaurants will be serving up tons of mouthwatering seafood favorites, BBQ items, and desserts! There is also an extensive beverage tent for beer and wine, as well as a lobster roll eating contest. Don’t forget about over 80 craft vendors, and don’t miss Saturday’s fireworks show on the beach!