Concluding the year with virtual activities

Jazz Sanctuary continues virtually

This Sunday, Dec. 20, at 1 p.m., “Holiday Music and the Jazz of Connection (While Apart)” will air virtually as a YouTube premier. During the pandemic, Jazz Sanctuary has launched a monthly themed “Conversation and Tunes,” and this month’s production samples album cuts from 11 consecutive years of holiday “friends and family” CDs shared annually by WildVine Jazz (Tim Wildman and Jock Irvine). Pastor Emilia Halstead will also talk with Irvine, Wildman, and Ed Raczka and BJ Steinberg about the process of creating this music together and the connections it has made among musicians and among musicians’ family and friend groups all over the country. You can catch this production at the above date and time or anytime after that on YouTube or by going to the YouTube channel on First Congregational Church’s website

Tim Wildman

Hike your way into the new year

New Hampshire State Parks invites the public to celebrate the New Year with a self-guided virtual hike. This year’s First Day Hikes will run from Dec. 26 through New Year’s Day 2021 at all state parks across New Hampshire. The goal of this year’s hikes is to provide individuals and families the opportunity to safely welcome in 2021 in the outdoors while maintaining social distancing practices.

This is the tenth year New Hampshire has participated in the First Day Hikes program. The program is part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors.

Since NH Park’s 2021 First Day Hikes will be virtual self-guided outings, hikers can choose to explore any of our state historic sites, parks, or recreational rail trails at thier own pace. Leashed pets are permitted at many parks in the off-season so visit the parks pet-friendly webpage at, if you plan to bring your four-footed friends. Hikers must register to be entered for a chance to win a family season pass for the 2021 Season and other prizes. A winner will be selected randomly and announced the first week of January. Register here to commit to a hike and be entered to win at

Share your First Day Hike on social media for a chance to win prizes. NH State Parks will be giving away a bunch of parks’ swag for the best photos in several categories. In order to be considered, follow us @nhstateparks on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, use the hashtags #firstdayhikes #nhstateparks and tag us in your photo. Pictures must also be taken at one of our NH state park properties between Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

Here are a few helpful tips to make your day enjoyable. Please remember to check the weather prior to heading out. Follow all social distancing recommendations and practices. Dress in layers appropriate for the winter weather and wear appropriate footwear. Make sure someone knows you are out on the trails and when you will be returning from your hike. For more information regarding recommended clothing and gear, please visit Hike Safe ( Traction devices for footwear are highly recommended (trails may be icy). Maintain six feet of distance between others. Carry hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. Move to the side of the trail to allow others to pass. Wear a mask when around others. Slow down or speed up to maintain space along the trail. Be sure to pack water and a snack for during the hike. Avoid groups of more than 10 people.

The Division of Parks and Recreation is comprised of the Bureau of Park Operations, Bureau of Historic Sites, Bureau of Trails, and Cannon Mountain. The Division manages 93 properties, including state parks, beaches, campgrounds, historic sites, trails, waysides, and natural areas. The Division of Parks and Recreation is one of four divisions of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. To learn more, visit, follow NH State Parks on Facebook and Twitter, or call 271-3556.

Contest winners

Heights Lit It Up contest has selected this year’s top three winners. First place $500 trophy and bragging rights (sponsored by People’s United Bank-Loudon Road) went to Friendly’s Restaurant on Loudon Road. Second place $250 (sponsored by IBEW 490) went to Community Bridges-Pembroke Road and third place $150 (Sponsor: Donna Robie in memory of Dick & Barbara Noonan-Heights) went to The Stove Barn-Loudon Road. Thank you to Concord Grange for allowing use of their non-profit status. Thank you to our judges: Amanda Grady-Sexton and Ham and Sock Sexton, Esther Herrick and Christine Gauntt. Next year we will hold a contest for best decorated house in Concord-area-sponsors will be needed for cash prizes. Happy Holidays!

Donna Robie

Lights of Life

Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association has created an opportunity each year to honor and remember loved ones and friends through its Hospice Lights of Life campaign and memorial service. The 2020 Lights of Life campaign marks the 25th anniversary of the program, which began as an awareness campaign to illuminate the vital role of hospice care in New Hampshire. The 2020 Lights of Life virtual Community Memorial Service, which includes music, readings, reflection and remembrance, can be viewed at Each fall, Concord Regional VNA invites the New Hampshire community to honor people they have lost by adding names to the Lights of Life Honor Roll – those included do not need to have been part of Concord Regional VNA’s hospice program. In December, the windows of businesses throughout Concord and surrounding communities are illuminated by Lights of Life candles to honor the lives of those who have passed. For the 2020 Lights of Life program, more than $68,500 was raised, over 2,500 names were submitted to the Honor Roll and more than 1,300 Lights of Life candles are on display at 144 businesses throughout the Greater Concord area in December. Since Hospice Lights of Life was launched in 1995, more than $1.25 million has been raised, more than 3,750 individuals and businesses have participated and the names of more than 50,000 people have been submitted to the Honor Roll for remembrance.

Jessica Knight

Author: Insider Staff

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