HAMPTON — The events Hampton Beach is known for are all returning this summer, including Miss Hampton Beach, Children’s Week, and the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival.
The Master Sand Sculpting Classic kicks off the fun from June 15-17, followed by Country Fest, headlined by country star Chris Janson on July 13. New this year is pop-up sand art with Sebastian Privitera on July 21, Reggae Fest on Aug. 19, and the ultimate Disney cover band Little Mermen performing on the Seashell Stage on Aug. 20.
Here’s a look at what you need to know about the events at the beach in summer of 2023.
Master sand sculptors hit the beach
The Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Classic features 10 of the best sand sculptors in the world competing for bragging rights and the first-place prize of $6,000. Sculptors will have three days — eight hours each day — from June 15-17 to create masterpieces using only sand and water.
“What we are doing here in Hampton is actually creating a museum in the sand for a lot of folks who have never been to a museum in their lives,” said Greg Grady, who organizes the event put on by the Hampton Beach Village District. “It’s truly museum-quality sculpture that we have out there and it’s all free.”
Grady said the 10 sculptors competing this year are familiar faces including last year’s winner Mélineige Beauregard.
Joining her are five-time World Champion sand sculptor Karen Fralich from Toronto; Justin Gordon, known for his 50-ton sand sculpture at the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts; and Rusty Croft, of California, who is known as one of the “sand guys” on the Travel Channel’s television show “Sand Masters.”
This year’s theme for the sponsor site is “Sands of Time,” a ‘”Jurassic Park” type theme, according to Grady.
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Senior Day at Hampton Beach
Hampton Beach will be hosting a day just for seniors on June 21.
The event features an old-fashioned summer barbeque, oldies music and more. Sculptures from the Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Classic will also be on display.
“It’s all free to the seniors,” said John Nyhan, president of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce. “Over the last couple of years doing this, we have been averaging 200 to 250 seniors that participate and they love it.”
Nyhan said the chamber partners with senior citizen clubs, assisted living facilities and nursing homes, who provide free transportation to the event.
He said it’s always a special day because “a lot of these seniors don’t get to the beach” that often.
“We have folks in wheelchairs and walkers and they just have such a great time,” Nyhan said.
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Country star Chris Janson to headline Country Fest
Country star and platinum-selling recording artist Chris Janson, known for such hits like “Buy Me a Boat,” “Fix a Drink,” and “Done,” will be headlining Country Music Fest at Hampton Beach.
Janson will be performing the free concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 13, on the Seashell Stage as part of the three-day festival that “brings country stars to the beach.”
The festival kicks off Tuesday, July 11, with Kevin White and his Garth Live – The Ultimate Tribute Band followed by New Hampshire native April Cushman on Wednesday, July 12.
Janson is a three-time Country Music Award nominee, a five-time Academy of Country Music Awards nominee, and has over 1.7 billion global streams of his music. Rolling Stone called him a “live legacy in the making” and DJ radio host Bobby Bones named him among the “greatest performers in country music.”
Opening for Janson on July 13, is Boston country singer Alec MacGillivray, known for his song “Bad Day to be a Bud Light” which has over 2 million streams in 60-plus countries.
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Pop-up sand art lessons on the beach
After he created a large, multi-circular medallion on the sand at Hampton, Sebastian Privitera, of Methuen, Massachusetts, was spotlighted on Seacoastonline, WMUR’s “Chronicle” and Hampton Beach’s Official Facebook page.
His fleeting artwork washed away by the tides wowed beachgoers and now he will be offering pop-up lessons on July 21 and Aug. 23 from 8 to 11 a.m. on the beach courtesy of the Hampton Beach Village District.
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Privitera will show you how to make beautiful large-scale drawings in the sand using a rake.
According to Privitera, Hampton Beach is one of his favorite beaches to visit when he feels the desire to commune with art and nature. The other is Maine’s Ogunquit Beach, where through that town’s recreation department he also teaches others how to form their own sand art.
“It’s my therapy,” Privitera said about the designs he sketches onto flat, wet sand.
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Who will be crowned Miss Hampton Beach?
It’s been a tradition for more than 75 years. And on Sunday, July 30, contestants will vie to be crowned Miss Hampton Beach 2023.
“What we are looking for is a nice girl to represent Hampton Beach,” Stephanie Lussier, pageant organizer and Miss Hampton Beach 1995, explained in a previous interview. “I’m not looking for a Miss America that’s got to have a $3,500 gown and perfect hair. I want a nice girl who wants to spend time here at the beach and promote what a great vacation spot it really is.”
Judging is based on appearance, poise and personality and the winner receives $500.
Contestants between the ages of 16 to 24 compete in swimsuit and evening gown competitions. The top five finalists selected will move on to the on-stage interview.
A day before the pageant (July 29), Little Miss and Junior Miss Hampton Beach will be crowned. Both events will take place at 2 p.m. on the Seashell Stage.
Interested contestants should contact Stephanie Lussier at 603-512-5257 or Princess50@yahoo.com.
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A day of polka, dancing and more
Hampton Beach will be celebrating Czech customs, music, dance and food at the second annual Polka Fest on Sunday, Aug. 13.
The event will feature some of the area’s best polka bands in the region.
The Polka Beetbox Band will kick off the music at 3 p.m. Led by Dan Blajda, also known as “Polka Dan,” the band plays a variety of European village tunes, some of which date back hundreds of years in Blajda’s family. Eastern Sound Polka, named the No. 1 Polka Band in N.H., will follow at 5 p.m. followed by the Maestro’s Men, a Grammy-nominated and Polka Hall of Fame award-winning band, at 7 p.m.
The event is put on by the Hampton Beach Village District and attendees are encouraged to come in traditional dress or costume and plan to participate in traditional polka dancing.
Several Hampton Beach restaurants will also be serving Polish food in honor of the event.
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A family tradition: Hampton Beach Children’s Festival
The Hampton Beach Children’s Festival is back this summer with five days of free activities and entertainment for kids from Aug. 14-18.
“It’s one of our most popular events,” Nyhan said. “We continue to get phone calls as early as January from families from New York and Pennsylvania asking when Children’s Festival is because they are planning their family vacation around the festival.”
The festival is designed for children ages 12 and under. Special children’s activities are planned each day, beginning at 10 a.m. and on most days running until 3 p.m. On Friday, Aug. 18, the Grand Finale costume parade starts at the Seashell Stage at noon – when every child gets a prize.
Reggae Fest at Hampton Beach
Hampton Beach will be hosting its first-ever Reggae Fest, featuring the band Redemption.
The event will take place from 3 to 9:30 p.m. on the Seashell Stage on Aug. 19.
“We will have three bands including Redemption, which will be headlining,” said Lisa Martineau, the Hampton Beach Village District marketing director.
Martineau said they introduced reggae music to the Seashell Stage last summer and it was very popular with tourists.
“It’s a perfect fit because reggae is beachy music and it makes you feel like you’re on vacation,” Martineau said.
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The Little Mermen: The ultimate Disney cover band
A Disney rock cover band? It exists and they are coming to the Seashell Stage on Aug. 20 for a free show.
The Little Mermen play all the Disney hits, from “The Jungle Book” to “The Lion King,” and even “Frozen” and “Encanto.”
The group was founded by singer-songwriter Alexis Babini and promises to “rock your Disney World.” The New York City-based group reimagines classic Disney songs in the style of rock and roll while in full costume.
Hampton Beach’s got talent
The Hampton Beach Talent Contest is looking for the best junior and senior singers on the beach. The contest kicks off Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Seashell Stage with the juniors (under 18) and continues Aug. 26 with the seniors (over 18) taking the stage.
The winners of the junior’s division will be announced Aug. 25 while the top seniors perform again on Aug. 27 to determine the best singer on the beach. Winners receive $1,000 in prize money. Judging is based on vocal ability, stage presence and entertainment value.
There are two ways to enter the contest. Vocalists can either come to the open auditions on Aug. 6 from 12-3 p.m. on the Seashell Stage or mail an audition tape, photograph and a brief biography and shirt size, postmarked by Aug. 1 to: Amanda Morneault; The Harbor Agency; PO Box 1628; Portsmouth, NH 03802.
The competition began in 2005, a fresh take on the old talent shows once held at the Seashell Stage each Monday night. It was first promoted by the late Jack Knox, who frequently performed at the beach with the Continentals, and its success led organizers to expand from two nights to three after its inaugural year.
Originally, it was called Hampton Beach Idol, but producers of “American Idol” in 2010 put the kibosh on using the registered trademark, leading to a name change.
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A circus on the Seashell Stage
The Boston Circus Guild performers bring “Cirque du Hampton Beach” to the Seashell Stage at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2. See jugglers, musicians, acrobats, and some mind-blowing, body-bending unimaginable feats.
“It’s going to be a whole new show,” said Lisa Martineau, the Hampton Beach Village District marketing director.
The Boston Circus Guild is a collaborative membership-based organization of over 50 musicians, artists, circus performers, dancers, and event producers from the New England area.
Hampton Beach’s end of the summer party
The Hampton Beach Seafood Festival returns for a 34th year featuring 50 food vendors, 70-plus arts and craft vendors, culinary demonstrations and continuous entertainment on two stages.
This year’s festival will take place Sept. 8-10 on Ocean Boulevard, which will be closed to traffic creating a pedestrian mall.
Returning events include the Hampton Beach Pop-up Art Show on Friday, Sept. 8, the Bags on the Beach Cornhole Tournament and fireworks on Saturday, Sept. 9 and the 5K road race and Lobster Roll Eating Contest on Sept. 10.
Admission is $10 each day, or $30 for all three days. You can get tickets the day of or online. There are also discounts available for local residents and veterans.
For more information and a schedule of events, visit seafoodfestivalnh.com.