Sunday, June 22, 2014

Classic New Hampshire: Antrim Home and Harvest Festival

Town Hall Painted Mural Antrim NH Home Harvest Festival New England Fall Events
Painted Mural - Town Hall, Antrim NH

In mid-September, New England Fall Events took a road trip to scenic Antrim, NH to check out the annual Home and Harvest Festival. Antrim is a tiny, scenic, rural town with the quintessential white steeple church and charming town hall. The lovely park and gazebo situated along the river behind the town center are postcard pretty. The overcast morning soon gave way to blue skies and perfect crisp fall weather and it was ideal for the day’s festivities.

Scenic Bridge in Antrim NH Home Harvest Festival _ New England Fall Events
Scenic Bridge in Antrim, NH

The Antrim Home and Harvest Festival is a 2-day, weekend festival and we attended on Saturday morning through early afternoon. We arrived right around 10:00am and scored a lucky curbside parking spot quite close to the town center. There were dozens of activities scheduled from morning through night yet there was just the right amount of time cushioned in between to wander, soak up the atmosphere, catch some live music, and explore the craft vendors. 

 Always popular face painting booth 
My young nephews (just 3 and 5 ½) were immediately drawn to the face painting booth (for a small fee). The craft vendors were set up on the front lawns of local businesses, churches, and houses and there was a church yard sale towards the edge of the town center. Live music was being played down the street a bit as well. (Note to organizers--why not set the band up closer to the town center where we could all enjoy?)

The festival clearly drew people of all ages, including plenty of teens and seniors, but it was a perfect festival for children to have a great time. While we were there the crowds were never so large or dense that you couldn’t easily spot your children and with the town center closed to through traffic, it was safe for the little ones as well.  

Kids Waiting for Parade Antrim NH Home Harvest Festival New England Fall Events
Waiting in anticipating for the parade 
The festival itself was free and any “extras” like BBQ, burgers, hot dogs, etc were very affordable. I can’t resist giving a huge shout out to the local businesses sponsored the ever-popular bouncy houses, giant inflatable slides, and super trampoline—their sponsorship allowed everyone to partake in these attractions totally free. And partake my nephews did! It was a nice change to not have to shell out for every little thing which added to the charm of the day. The lines were never terribly long and the folks who managed the admission/lines for these attractions were easygoing and flexible (i.e. holding everyone’s spot in line while everyone left at the same time to catch the parade).

Fire Engines on Parade Antrim NH Home and Harvest Festival New England Fall Events
Plentiful NH fire engines on parade
to the delight of young kids!

The highlight for us was the parade at 11:30am. My nephews couldn’t get enough of the various fire engines from Antrim and other local towns—and it’s a good thing because there were plenty of emergency vehicles, race cars, and tractors to delight them! Local businesses sponsored sweet hand-decorated parade floats and many passed out candy. The requisite local marching bands and scout troops also joined in the parade fun and the Christmas tree costumes parading through promoting November’s local Festival of Trees event were delightful.

The skateboard competitions were held at the skate park across the river behind the town hall—perhaps a 5 minute walk-- and this is definitely where the teens seemed to congregating but there were also a handful playing Wii upstairs in the Town Hall. (A good idea to have this backup activity handy in case it rained after all!)

Pizza Guy at the Antrim NH Home Harvest Festival _New England Fall Events
Pizza Guy was a huge hit
I was genuinely excited to witness the Corn Cob Eating Competition (go ahead, laugh but I love these type of things) and I’d circled that on my must-see list when I saw this featured on the Antrim website events calendar. However, when I went to the Town Hall to check it out, the competition was nowhere to be found. I searched and asked around about it but no one knew what I was talking about. Finally, we located a poster hung up on the wall and inexplicably, the competition was not on the printed poster at all. I have no idea whether the text calendar on the website had the competition as a typo but this would be my only disappointment about the visit. It was a great idea and I hope they bring it back!

The Saturday evening lineup included a big BBQ, more live bands, and fireworks at Tenney Farm a few miles down the road. I was sorry to miss these because I am sure they were a hit and a wonderful way to bring the townsfolk together.  If you are making Antrim a family road trip, consider finding a place to stay overnight so you can partake in these evening events as well.

The Antrim Home and Harvest Festival was definitely a classic, sweet-natured community festival and there’s a nice non-commercial vibe about the whole affair. It’s a very nice destination for people of any age but especially families looking for a fun, charming fall experience with good atmosphere and without the overwhelming crowds.

This year the Antrim Home and Harvest Festival will take place Friday and Satuday September 16-17th, 2015 in Antrim, NH. Visit their event listing here. Their full schedule of events can be found here.

Antrim Home and Harvest Tips:
Lovely Church Steeple in downtown Antrim NH
Lovely church steeple
in downtown Antrim, NH
  • Drive the speed limit (which is lower than you think). There were lots of cops with radars sitting in wait along the quiet back country roads --the only kind of roads to get you to Antrim.
  • Antrim is in a rural region of NH. Cell signals can spotty in this area.
  • For town center street parking, arrive close to 10:00am (arrive later and you'll be diverted to designated overflow parking on High Street with a shuttle to take to you town).
  • Bring cash--Most food and craft vendors do not accept plastic.
  • The festival and most events are ADA Accessible as many events take place outside in downtown Antrim or inside town buildings. (not sure about the events at Tenney's Farm - call ahead!
  • Not many gluten-free or healthier food options at all if this is important to you.   
  • On your way out of town, NH's own preservative- and additive-free Annabelle’s ice cream is worth the stop at scenic Tenney Farm!

Face Painting Skull Face at Antrim NH Home Harvest - New England Fall Events
My nephew proudly and fiercely
sporting his skull face painting.
Family Tips for Attending the Home and Harvest Festival:

  • The festival and most events are stroller-friendly.
  • Great festival if you have very young children—plenty of space to move, parks nearby if you want to spread out or picnic, face painting for a small fee and FREE inflatables! The parade will keep their attention.
  • The skateboard competition and virtual downhill skiing will appeal to your older kids and teens.
  • The schedule for the weekend's activities are posted on the Antrim Home and Harvest Festival website. Useful for planning ahead.

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