Top 10 things to do in Concord this summer

Will Parson—WILL PARSON / Monitor staffAlex Miller
Alex Miller, left, of Portland, Maine, and Kim Dekker of Concord listen to Chris Trapper perform during the 40th annual Market Days Festival in downtown Concord on July 18, 2014. (Monitor file)
of Portland
Make sure you check out the fireworks at Memorial Field on the Fourth of July. (Monitor file)
and Kim Dekker of Concord listen to Chris Trapper perform during the 40th annual Market Days Festival in downtown Concord on July 18
See cool sights like this at the Multicultural Festival. (Monitor file)

There’s certainly plenty to do in the summertime, no matter where you are. When the weather is nice enough that you can stay outside all day and night, there’s really no limit to the fun you can have.

In Concord, the only challenge is deciding what you’re going to do – there’s probably too much going on to possibly take it all in.

But we’re here, as always, to make your life easier. We compiled a list of the top 10 things we think you should do this summer.

The list is of course just a suggestion – don’t feel like there are only 10 things worth doing, seeing or trying in this city, and don’t feel like you absolutely have to go and take in what we’re talking about. This is just a little collection of some of our top picks for this summer. These are in no particular order.


The T-shirt Sundae at Arnie’s Place

If you picked up a copy of the Insider a few weeks ago, you might remember the feature in which we tried – rather unsuccessfully – to complete the T-shirt Sundae from Arnie’s. It’s a challenge that earns you a free T-shirt if you finish the whole sundae, which has eight scoops of ice cream, six toppings and two bananas.

Since we didn’t quite live up to our own expectations and barely ate more than half of it, this is something you should definitely try to accomplish on your own.

Arnie’s owner Tom Arnold said one guy finished five of them last summer – not all at one time, but still pretty impressive – so it’s not an impossible feat. Just make sure you’re ready to eat a lot – ice cream is pretty heavy when you have eight scoops of it absolutely covered in toppings.

It’s the tastiest, coldest eating challenge you’ll find this summer (as far as we know, anyway).


Market Days

Market Days is as Concord as the State House dome or the Insider pod. If you live in Concord, you’ve definitely heard of it before and probably even checked it out a few times.

And it’s right around the corner.

The 42nd annual Market Days is ready to usher in the season with tons of great food, cool local products, live music and all kinds of fun activities. It’s a signature event in Concord, and you won’t want to be the one person who misses it this year.

The outdoor festival is June 23-25 with activities going from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It doesn’t cost anything to show up and poke around – you don’t even have to buy anything, but you might as well.

Volunteers are still needed, so to get involved or to just learn more, go to market-days.


Live Music on the Lawn at the library

You didn’t think we were actually going to have a whole list of things to do this summer without including some live music, did you? If you did, shame on you.

There are of course a slew of options for live music this summer, but you’ll want to check out Concord Public Library’s Live Music on the Lawn series.

It is basically what it sounds like – live music played on the lawn at the library. The idea is to have three shows over the course of the summer, the first one being June 29 starting at 6.

The featured act for the show is People Skills, a band that’s quickly starting to take over the Capital Region.

Prince Street will be closed during the performance and local food vendors will be on hand, so it will be a real festive, block party-type atmosphere. Bring your own chair or blanket!

Check out for more info.


Mill Brook Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit

Just like we covered our bases with live music, we’re doing the same with fine art.

Concord definitely has a lot of great art on display, and there’s no reason you can’t go to every art house in the city every day of the week – unless of course they’re closed or something.

But only one place offers an outdoor sculpture exhibit that’s up all summer long, and that’s Mill Brook Gallery.

The sculptures will be out there until late October, so feel free to head over and see what’s on display. You might end up driving home with something (or having it delivered, because a lot of pieces are probably too big for your car).

To find out more, go to


Fourth of July fireworks

The summer is full of all kinds of good times, but everyone knows the undisputed king of summer is the Fourth of July. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s our nation’s birthday, after all.

The holiday is a celebration of America, and there shouldn’t be any need to travel to some “destination” like Boston or New York to have a good time. Why make a big trip when you can stay right in Concord and catch the fireworks at Memorial Field?

The Parks and Recreation Department is in charge of the fireworks, but they were a little busy last week so we didn’t get any of the hard facts. Plan on the usual fireworks display at the usual location on the usual date (July 4, if you didn’t know).


Rock On Fest

The Rock On Fest was started by the Bonner brothers – Concord legends, to say the least – last year to coincide with the city’s yearlong 250th birthday bash, and it’s coming back for an encore this summer. Why not celebrate 251, too?

The festival, put on by the nonprofit Rock On Foundation, is all about hanging out and listening to some good music. Local vendors will also set up shop for your browsing pleasure.

Brothers Luke and Matt Bonner keep pretty busy schedules these days, so as was the case with finding out about fireworks, the details are limited at this point. What we do have is a time and place: Aug. 13 at White Park, starting at noon.

We also know that like last year, this will be a free one-day event, so you really can’t complain.

To stay up to date on the festival (you’ll want to check out the band lineup, whenever it’s available), go to or check them out on Facebook.


Watch baseball

This is pretty self-explanitory and open-ended, but that’s the kind of stuff we like around here.

Summer is baseball season, and Concord is home to countless fields always full of games. If you can’t make it down to Fenway or even to Manchester to watch the pros, you can still catch a game almost every night at one of the many parks.

Whether it’s high school, club, amateur or pickup, there’s always a game to watch somewhere.

Plus, Concord is home to the Sunset League, the oldest after-supper amateur baseball league in the country having started in 1909, so you can witness an age-old tradition carrying on to another generation.

Three prime venues are White Park, Memorial Field and Rollins Park – all of which have plenty of space for spectators. Even if you don’t care much for the sport, there’s nothing like hanging out at the park and hearing the banter of the game in the background on a nice summer’s night.


Take a dip at Rollins Park

Since you’re already going to be at Rollins Park watching some high-level varsity baseball, you might as well jump in the pool while you’re there. After all, sitting in the sun watching a game for a few hours can work up a sweat.

That’s why Rollins Park is just a perfect all-around venue for you to hit up this summer. We’re all about free stuff, and there’s nothing more free than the great outdoors.

If you’re at Rollins and you start to heat up, go ahead and go for a swim – assuming you’re in swimming attire.

It’s free to swim for Concord and Penacook residents, and visitors can buy passes.

There will also be a swim meet at this particular pool on Aug. 5, so there’s that, too.

For more pool information, check out the Parks and Recreation website at


Capital City Classic 10K road race

We’ve covered baseball and swimming, but now we turn our attention to perhaps the most common sport there is (that also happens to be a pretty common mode of transportation): running.

Running is a pretty big deal around here, so it’s only right that we tell you about a race to get into this summer.

It’s called the Capital City Classic 10K, and this will be the first one ever. It’s a 10-kilometer (duh!) race around Concord that starts and ends right in front of the State House on June 26 at 9 a.m. It’s the sixth race in the Capital Area Race Series, so if you’ve been hitting all the races in that, you’ll have to do this one, too. You can also run this one even if you haven’t run any of the series races.

Proceeds will benefit two key Concord nonprofits: the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness and Intown Concord, so you can feel extra good about yourself for participating.

Registration is $35 in advance or $40 the day of the race. People 19 and under race for $25. Register at


Multicultural Festival

Concord is a city that prides itself on being very open and accepting of everyone. Nothing exemplifies this more than the Multicultural Festival.

The annual festival is back for a 10th year this year, and it promises to be as fun as ever.

In partnership with Market Days, the Multicultural Festival celebrates the diversity of the capital area with ethnic foods, cultural performances, cool activities and more.

The festivities will go down June 25 – the Saturday of Market Days – from 2 to 6 p.m. on the State House lawn. Anyone is welcome to attend and have a good time.

If you want to contribute something to the festival, drop into The Place Studio & Gallery, 9 N. Main St., to create your own tile expressing your “Sense of Place.” All of the tiles will be collected and assembled in an art exhibit to be displayed at the festival for all to see. Give it a try!


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