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New Hampshire
Folklife in New Hampshire

Festivals are a way to celebrate folklife and traditional arts and learn from tradition bearers directly.

NHSCA Traditional Arts Showcase:  Blacksmith Jack Page demonstrating at the 2002 Stratham Fair.

Blacksmith Jack Page demonstrating at the 2002 Stratham Fair.

Most folklife festivals are designed to be both educational and fun. The themes and artists featured at many folklife festivals are identified through field research carried out in local communities. The goal of the research is to identify the background and history of various traditions and authentic tradition bearers who enjoy working with the public.

Many folklife festivals have interpretive materials such as photographs, panels with written information you can read and built structures that help set a context or natural environment for the presentations.

In 1999 and 2000, New Hampshire sponsored two very large folklife festival presentations, both developed by the Traditional Arts Program of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and supported through private donations of many generous sponsors.

1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

See how New Hampshire presented our living cultural heritage to the nation at the 1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Explore the Festival

2000 Celebrate New Hampshire Festival

See how this presentation was expanded and recreated at the 2000 Celebrate New Hampshire Festival

Explore the Festival

There are many community festivals throughout the year in New Hampshire.

The late Lydia Mann singing at the 2000 Celebrate NH Festival.

The late Lydia Mann singing gospel music at the 2000 Celebrate NH Festival.

NHSCA Traditional Arts Showcase:  Cooper Ron Raiselis demonstrating at the 2003 New Hampshire Preservation Alliance Old House & Barn Expo.

Cooper Ron Raiselis demonstrating at the 2003 New Hampshire Preservation Alliance Old House & Barn Expo.


Plan a trip to visit a regional or national folklife festival!

Here are just a few:

The Working Water Front Festival held every fall in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

The Lowell Folk Festival held every summer in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The American Folklife Festival held every summer in Bangor, Maine.

The Common Ground Country Fair held every fall in Unity, Maine.

The National Folklife Festival held at a different State Park every three years.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival held in Washington DC every summer.


Photo credits
All: Photographer - Lynn Martin Graton