Welcome to Market Days 2019!

We took in an afternoon at Market Days and found lots of folks having fun. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
We took in an afternoon at Market Days and found lots of folks having fun. TIM GOODWIN / Insider staff
People walk along N. Main Street during opening day of Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, Thursday, June 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)
People walk along N. Main Street during opening day of Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, Thursday, June 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

Can you believe it’s already mid-June? You know what that means – it’s time for Intown Concord’s annual Market Days festival, three days full of live music, food, street shopping, games, contests and anything else you can think of that’s fun and summery.

We’re heading into the 45th year of this gigantic festival, and it seems to get bigger and better every year. Market Days started off as a glorified sale for downtown retailers. It was all about finding some bargains for the summer season.

Today, the festival is about so much more than that. Sure, shopping is still a huge component to Market Days – dozens upon dozens of vendors will be set up all over pretty much every street of the downtown core, selling everything from pillows you can buy off late-night TV to handmade jewelry – but there’s a lot more beyond the retail experience that makes Market Days worth coming out to.

First and foremost, this is a festival for families to just have a good time. Assuming the weather cooperates, it’s a picture-perfect scenario: Three days in the most pleasant time of the year, in the heart of beautiful downtown Concord, with music and delicious smells wafting through the air blending with the sounds of kids laughing and friends chatting. It doesn’t get too much better than this, folks.

On the shopping side of things, you’ll find more than 150 unique vendors and merchants (shameless plug: The Monitor will have a tent there all three days, so make sure you stop by and say hello) set up on the streets. That’s on top of the dozens of shops that already call Main Street their home – most businesses along the main drag keep their doors open for the whole weekend, and many set up their own displays in front of their stores. There’s also more food than you’ll know what to do with. For the movie and music buff, Red River Theatres will be holding its annual fundraiser, the Music, Movie & Poster Sale, during all three days of Market Days. They will be selling gently used records, CDs, cassettes, DVDs and VHS tapes along with a large selection of movie posters. The sale will take place inside the theater from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

For music, there are three stages from which artists will be playing all weekend long. The main stage is on South Main Street, and it will get heavy usage over the course of the festival. The other locations are Bicentennial Square and Eagle Square, with Eagle Square being home to the Tandy’s Market Days Idol competition, the fan-favorite event that lets the audience decide who the best singer of the festival is, American Idol style. The Bicentennial Square stage is known as the Homegrown Stage, focusing specifically on New Hampshire artists, many of whom come from the Concord area.

And then there’s the general-purpose fun. Games and activities for kids and the whole family will be a prominent feature of Market Days, with something for every age group and interest level. Touch A Truck is always a popular event for the younger ones.

For the adults, there will be not one but two beer tents, featuring some staples (Bud, Coors, etc.) as well as some craft brews to appease all palates.

Over the next several pages, you’ll find detailed schedules for each day, a map of the whole festival, a list of all vendors and a few features zooming in on certain aspects. Keep this with you all weekend, and live it up out there!

Author: Jon Bodell

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