You’re Invited! Welcome to the Newmarket Heritage Festival
As director of the Newmarket Heritage Festival, I coordinated all aspects of this annual celebration of the arts, culture, history, and community spirit. Working with a small team of volunteers, I hired performers and artisans, managed marketing and publicity, and, spearheaded fundraising and development. For 15 years, this small festival had a big impact, as the town came together each year, in the shadow of the old stone mills, to celebrate.
Over the years, the event grew from a one-tent festival to a full weekend of multi-cultural music and dance performances, artisans at work, participatory workshops and demonstrations, hands-on children’s activities, a busy waterfront venue, fine arts and craft vendors, delicious food, and lots more.
The Seacoast’s favorite international block party honored the rich diversity that defines this New England mill town and the surrounding Seacoast region. The annual line-up of multicultural performances was a changing menu that included African drumming and Irish dancing, Bavarian oompah music and traditional Chinese diabolo spinning. There were dueling dulcimers, doo-woop harmonies, Israeli dancers, and Japanese Taiko drummers. Performances by children from the local Laotian and Indian communities were always a crowd favorite. And so were the former millworkers, who took to the stage to share their stories with festival audiences.
The festival also featured artisans at work, craftspeople, dedicated to the old ways who shared their love of tradition with festival goers. Demonstrations included wildfowl carving, blacksmithing, weaving, an 18th-century printing press, the the art of Chinese knot tying, Windsor chair making, timber framing, violin making, and more.
Designed to appeal to audiences of all ages, the festival gained a reputation for its eclectic mix of entertainment and activities, as well as for its friendly atmosphere. The lively celebration took place in the shadow of Newmarket’s historic mills, where so many once labored so hard—and where a sense of community continues to thrive.