Newmarket Heritage Festival
An FY2010 Traditional Arts Project Grant to the Newmarket Main Street Corporation, Grant award: $4,050
The 2009 Newmarket Heritage Festival, held September 25 to 26, 2009, brought people together from the town and beyond to celebrate and recognize the importance of the arts, cultural heritage, and history. The annual event takes place in the shadow of Newmarket’s historic mills, once the economic engine of the town.
Over the years, the Newmarket Heritage Festival has grown from a one-tent festival to a full weekend of activities including music and dance performances by a wide range of cultural and ethnic groups; demonstrations by traditional artisans; hands-on children’s activities; historic walking tours of the town; narrated boat tours on the Lamprey River; strolling performers; booths for food and fine arts; a classic car exhibit; a soup and chowder supper; and more. State Arts Council funds help to support performances and demonstrations by traditional artists including blacksmith Garry Kalajian, instrument maker Jim Robinson, decoy carver Fred Dolan, weaver Craig Evans, musician, calligrapher and engraver R.P. Hale, chair maker Peter Sheffer, and others. Interpretive signage and stage announcements are geared to help audiences learn more about the traditions presented and value them.
Each year, the Heritage Festival planning committee names someone to receive the Keeper of the Heritage Award. The presentation is made during the Friday night opening ceremonies and is introduced with these words: “As a community grows, it is especially important that it not lose sight of its historical, cultural, and natural resources.” The Keeper of the Heritage Award honors those who, “without thought of thanks, praise, or worldly reward, render outstanding service that benefits all residents of the community– and so preserves the richness of our heritage.”
The festival is organized by a small group of dedicated volunteers led by Suki Casanave. They build on their accomplishments and spend all year planning for the next year’s event. The festival is one of the few in New Hampshire with such breadth of programming and such a dedicated volunteer core.
The arts are making a difference in communities throughout New Hampshire.
For more information on things to do and enjoy in New Hampshire, visit our calendars section.
Learn more about State Arts Council grants and program services.
September 7, 2010