Publisher's Note: A holiday 'big three'
By Jeff Rapsis
As we face Thanksgiving weekend, I hope you’ll join me in taking a deep breath, looking on the bright side, and once more plunging into the most wonderful time of the year.
If that’s your aim, this week’s edition of the Hippo can help. It’s packed with tons of listings and information about local holiday events, and also with a sleigh load of advertising from local businesses and groups.
And that’s not all. You may have heard of the problems faced by the nation’s “Big Three” automakers. Well, in southern New Hampshire, we have the “big three” holiday events, and they’re in no need of a bailout. Here’s a quick list:
• Saturday, Nov. 29: Nashua Holiday Stroll. This event starts at 5 p.m. with a promenade of candle-bearing folks from City Hall down Main Street to Library Hill for the lighting of the city’s official Christmas tree. An evening-long party follows, with dozens of performing groups providing entertainment in venues throughout the city’s downtown. If you’ve never experienced this incredible community get-together, make this the year to do it.
• Friday, Dec. 5: Concord Midnight Merriment. Concord’s downtown has maintained its status as one of the region’s most appealing retail areas. Its streets are lined with interesting and unusual shops that carry one-of-a-kind items you’re not going to find in a big chain-store mall. It’s a great place to browse any time, but the retail community puts its best foot forward during its annual “Midnight Merriment” promotion, which runs from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.
• Saturday, Dec. 6: Manchester Spirit of the Season Parade. Stepping off at 4 p.m., Manchester’s annual downtown holiday parade is a great way for the whole family to experience the wonder of the season together, and somewhere other than in front of the tube. Watch as the community struts its stuff with floats, vehicles, marching bands and the now-traditional appearance of the giant Hippo balloon. And a rumor has it that Santa Claus may drop in, despite his busy schedule.
I’ll also put in a plug for the many local performing groups that stage holiday concerts this time of the year. There are way too many to list here to be fair to everyone, so you’ll have to check the paper’s listings for details.
But here’s an observation taken from nearly a decade of writing about local music for this newspaper. Too often, it seems the audience for these kinds of concerts is primarily family members or close friends of the performers. Nothing wrong with that, except the rest of us are missing out on something very special.
So take an evening this season and unplug yourself from the prepackaged, prerecorded kind of holiday music that surrounds us all season long and go out and search for a dose of the live and local stuff. Check out a concert of music made by local singers and musicians, many of whom do not get paid a cent for their efforts but do it out of sheer love for the art.
Even if Aunt Marion isn’t in there rounding out the alto section, it’s well worth it.