August is just about here. The flowers are blooming, the garden is producing, fall sports practices will be starting yet there’s still plenty of time to sit on the porch and enjoy the season.
It’s the heart of summer even with the days getting shorter and if you can’t help but catch a glimpse of fall some evenings and that means it’s town festival time.
It starts with Hampstead’s Summerfest, presented by St. Anne’s Parish. Next up is Londonderry’s Old Home Day celebration Aug. 15-19, followed by Sandown Old Home Day Sept.7 & 8 also on Chester’s Town Fair on Sept. 8 and Derryfest in Derry on Sept. 15.
Whatever the date or the name of the event, you’re treated to a back-to-basics festival with games of skill or chance, talent shows, hearty food, parades, many games and activities, entertainment, all kind of displays and demonstrations and the newest emergency vehicles, and often fireworks. What’s new is often what’s old too, as long-ago games of tug of war and sack races catch the attention of today’s youngsters. Look in the pages of the next issues of the papers to get all the details of what’s happening when.
Regardless of the hectic life we lead the rest of the year, the town festivals bring us together. They get us out of our homes and our backyards and into the town center, and slow us down to relax with our neighbors.
But celebrations don’t come packaged and ready to go, they’re the work of a multitude of volunteers and a variety of groups, all sharing a love of their real or adopted hometown, and a desire to make their town festival something everyone will want to schedule and come back to every year. That’s the heart of what these old-fashioned summer gatherings are all about. And while our weekdays often require long hours in another community or state, summer encourages us to enjoy where we live.
So mark your calendar for your local festival and plan to celebrate or volunteer where you live. Make this the year to get better acquainted with your neighbors and your town history, and take part in a summer rite that is part of the heart of New England.