It’s Not Summer Until the Prescott Park Arts Festival Kicks Off

Amanda Flitter

Prescott Park Arts festivalAs a kid growing up in the Seacoast, each summer my family would drive out to Portsmouth, spread a blanket in the grass in Prescott Park, and see the annual musical put on by the Prescott Park ArtsFestival. As I got older, I still went, this time to either watch friends in productions or have an evening out. My parents enjoy the arts, and while we went to other local shows too year-round, something about sitting outside by theocean to see a quality production that was open to the public sticks out in my memory.

The festival has been a local tradition since 1974, and is about to kick off another year of offering quality shows. It has grown to offer weekly concerts featuring national-level acts and movies in addition to the theater production on the main stage. Perhaps most impressive, the productions are all offered on a donation-only basis, meaning people can access the arts at an affordable price (suggested donation is $8-10) or free.

Prescott Park itself is managed by the city, and offers waterfront views, gardens, and water fountains. This time of year it’s not uncommon to see prom-goers, new grads, and newly married couples taking pictures among the trees, which are in full bloom. The beauty of the park has resulted in it being named “Best City Park” by Hippo Readers, “Best Place for a First Date” by Seacoast Media Group Readers’ Choice, and an Editor’s Choice Best in New England designation by Yankee Magazine.

Since Prescott Park is walking distance to a variety of downtown restaurants, grabbing some food to go and then eating it picnic style as you wait for the show to start is a fun, relaxing way to spend your summer nights. The Rosa is a classic option that is close by, and Dos Amigos offers great burritos if you like something quick and simple. Make sure to get to the park early, since spots are first-come, first-served and fill up fast! Short on time? The festival does offer some table and blanket reservations for a fee, but these go fast too.

You know it’s summer in New England when it’s warm enough to kick back by the water and enjoy both local and national talent! So whether you’re a Seacoast resident or live a little farther away, Prescott Park is definitely worth a trip this summer.

Prescott Park Arts Festival kicks off mid-June. The first concert is held June 18, and the first performance of the musical Mary Poppins is June 23. Visit for event times and reservation information.

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