Fun for the whole family, just across the border in NH & VT
After over two decades of the Moose Festival taking place, it’s safe to say that it has become a Great North Woods tradition. Every year, the weekend before Labor Day, which falls on Aug. 22-24 this year, the communities of northern New Hampshire and Vermont put on a grand lineup of family-friendly events and activities, showcasing the best of the “North Country”. Located just two and a half hours from Montreal, this weekend-long festival makes for a great escape into the states.
This year visitors can take part in a new incentive called “Hoofin’ it at Moose Fest”. Starting August 15th, folks can drop by the Chamber of Commerce office at 4 Titus Hill Road in Colebrook, NH or at the Chamber booth at the Street Fair on Aug. 22 to grab instructions and a “Hoofin’ It” stamp card. Essentially it is a scavenger hunt type activity where adults visit businesses in the downtown Colebrook area and get their card stamped in order to enter it into a raffle to win a $100 Visa gift card. The winner will be drawn at 8 a.m. on Sun. the 23rd. All participants must agree to take a post-event survey.
Moose Fest gets underway on Friday the 22nd, with the Street Fair in downtown Colebrook that goes from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. New this year is a free shuttle ride service provided by Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital to help you park and access the festival with ease. Please follow signage and look to www.moosefestival.com for shuttle parking and pick up/drop off locations.
Entering town, you’ll find Main Street filled with food and craft vendors, exhibitors and demonstrations. The fun branches out down side streets, this year including space on Pleasant Street and a full list of offerings at the Tillotson Center at 14 Carriage Lane, where the Kidz Korner will be held. Remember to grab a map on the shuttle or at the Chamber booth to see all the offerings. The Chamber booth will also have tips for moose watching in the North Country, and raffle tickets and merchandise for sale.
The Kidz Korner will be open 3-6 p.m. and includes the new addition of “Dana and Friends- Ventriloquist & Magician”. This performer from Maine describes his act as “An excellent program for the entire family”. The Montshire Museum of Norwich, VT is also setting up a science demo tent there, which is sure to be a hit! Also taking place at the Tillotson Center: Wildlife Encounters (a wild animal show), fun & games on the lawn, Connecticut River Artisan Group art gallery exhibit, and tours of the Historical Society annex located in the basement of the building. Bring a blanket or camp chair and enjoy all the offerings with your family in the beautiful setting. (Please note—Adult supervision is required.)
Down Bridge Street in Colebrook you’ll find droves of classic cars lining up for their Moose Cruise down Main St. at 6:00 p.m. Those wishing to participate in the cruise should line up between 3:30-5:30 p.m. The Quilt Show will be happening from 1-6 p.m. at the Methodist Church. The Historical Society will be open from 1-4 pm at the Town Hall for a little peak into the rich history of Colebrook. A gathering of Boy Scouts is also planned for Moose Fest weekend. They will be camping out at a location near the Bridge Street Gym.
On Main Street during the afternoon you’ll see dance numbers by Step by Step School of Dance and the WoW (Wildlife on Wheels) Express displaying exhibits about the Connecticut River Watershed. Just around the corner of Pleasant Street will be an ATV Safety Simulator for kids to try out. For nature lovers, a guided tour of the River Walk will be happening at the North Country Community Recreation Center.
You’ll find plenty to eat, drink and be merry about while walking through the Street Fair with live music to keep you entertained all afternoon and evening. First Run Home Entertainment will start things off with a band playing for the afternoon on their lawn. Uncommon Folk will be on the main stage with their mix of bluegrass & folk tunes at 5pm. (Please bring a donation for the location food pantry, as this band is playing in exchange for non-perishable items/cash to help stock up the northern food pantries in preparation of winter!) Following the Moose Cruise will be the main act back by popular demand: The Parker Hill Road Band. Enjoy this evening when locals and visitors unite in their love for the North Country!
The next day includes a full lineup of events in Canaan, VT at the Community Park just off of Rt. 102 and in Pittsburg, NH at the Amey Homestead on Tabor Road. Start your day off bright and early with the Murphy the Moose Trail Run in Colebrook, before heading north. You can also help support the Canaan Senior Class by attending the Moose Watcher’s Breakfast, taking place from 7-10 a.m. at the Canaan School.
The country fair in Canaan takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and includes all the favorites visitors have come to love such as the Maple Syrup Tasting & Contest, the Moose Stew Cook-Off, Moose Calling Contest and the Classic Auto Show. Crafters and food vendors will be set up all day long selling their goods, and attendees will also enjoy the sounds of a band that has never before played in the North Country: The Kid Jazz Band. A NH-based family act that will be sure to impress folks!
The Kidz Korner will make an appearance again here, with Dana and Friends returning with his puppet & magic show, a dunk tank, crafts, games and plenty of fun to keep the kids entertained for hours on end! The WoW Express will also be present, as will the ATV safety simulator. The Habitat for Humanity Dog Show will be back again this year—a popular and well-attended event. Remember to browse or participate in the Photography Contest, and take a ride on the historical tour of Canaan atop a hay wagon pulled by Dick Brady’s beautiful percherons.
Meanwhile, if your interests are farming and history based, you’ll love the offerings up in Pittsburg! Events begin at 10 a.m. in the Indian Stream Valley, along Tabor Road. The Amey family will make you feel right at home! “A Day at the Farm” includes an open house of Maple Ridge Farm, visits with live animals, a farm museum, hay rides and live music. An open house at the Indian Stream Farm farmhouse includes antique household equipment on display, bread and pie baking, homemade ice cream, and demonstrations of old-time fiber crafts—spinning, weaving, braided rug making, etc.
Take a guided tour of the Indian Stream School House, a one room school house which is still commissioned by the state of New Hampshire and contains many of the original artifacts. Or perhaps you’d enjoy checking out the Antique Engine Show—featuring a variety of old engines, demonstrating how they power equipment which performs many different tasks…sawing wood, shucking corn, pumping water, etc. The Antique Tractor Show will have a display of early tractors and owners on hand to answer questions.
Pittsburg activities culminate with the authentic Amey Homestead Music Festival–bluegrass, folk, and country music with guest/cameo appearances by several local musicians. It starts promptly at 6:00 p.m. and ends “when the cows come home”! The Tillotson Center in Colebrook will also feature a band this evening—Alex Smith, playing mountain folk.
Sunday the 24th, things quiet down a bit for you to relax and wind down. The North American Martyrs Church will be holding their annual breakfast at the St. Albert’s Hall, 15 Church Street, West Stewartstown, NH, from 7:30-11:00 a.m. A historic lecture on the interesting topic of the Indian Stream Republic will take place at the Tillotson Center in Colebrook from 3-4 p.m. Dr. Steve Rogers will be hosting this talk. That evening enjoy the “Lonely Heartstring Band” at the Tillotson Center– a GNWCA sponsored concert beginning at 7 pm. A summer picnic will also be offered for “dinner & a show”.
Please visit moosefestival.com for additional information about the 23rd Annual North Country Moose Festival, or call 603-237-8939.
Please note participants are being sought for the moose cruise parade, and car show. All details can be found online. Admission fees for Canaan’s Moose Fest have changed. Please see website for rates.
This event is organized by the Moose Festival Committee and is a signature event of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. Volunteers are always welcome and appreciated. Sponsors and volunteer power make it all possible!