Where and when are the free activities?
FIREWORKS AT WEIRS BEACH
Click here for the fireworks schedule
Click here to enlarge the fireworks photo
MUSIC AT THE MARKETPLACE
          Whether Weirs Beach's 1886-1902 original Music Hall (left) at Endicott Rock Park

          Or Weirs Beach's 1903-1924 Music Hall (right) on Tower Street
(click here to see a rare, color photo of the interior of the Music Hall)
          Or Weirs Beach's 1925-1976 Irwin's Winnipesaukee Gardens ballroom at the Winnipesaukee Pier. Click here to enlarge the photos below and for a bonus photo.

          The rooftop sign showed a dancing couple.

Some of the other big band attractions that played at Irwin's Winnipeaukee Gardens but not mentioned in the above advertisement:

• Benny Goodman • Nat King Cole • Guy Lombardo • Dean Hudson • Count Basie • Harry James • Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey • Glenn Miller • Sammy Kaye • Tony Brown • Glen Gray

          "The Gardens had a glossy grand piano and big frame around the stage. On that frame were two mermaids on each side and King Neptune at the top" - Carole Gosselin

           From the mid 1960's until the closure of the ballroom in 1976, the Gardens shifted its entertainment emphasis to rock and roll. While the few surviving famous big bands would still occasionally swing through town, the Gardens now rocked with a different beat. Some of the famous rock acts who performed there included:

Gary Pucket & The Union Gap • Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs • The Beach Boys • The Turtles • Eric Burdon & War • The Spectras

          Music at Weirs Beach has had a very long tradition, and the Winnipesaukee Marketplace has been carrying the flame since 1992. In July & August, on Wednesday nights, you can hear the Lakes Region Chordsmen barbershoppers sing songs that would undoubtedly be familiar to those who attended concerts at the earlier Weirs Beach Music Halls. And on Sunday nights, the Boardwalk Jazz Quartet brings back the familiar tunes by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and other Jazz greats whose music once graced the Winnipesaukee Garden's ballroom.

Click here to enlarge the barbershoppers photo
SQUARE DANCING ON THE BOARDWALK
 
What and when are the special events?
LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE FISHING DERBY
On May 18-20, 2012, the 30th annual event will be presented by the Lakes Region Inland Fishing Association and the Laconia Rotary Club. A variety of prizes will be awarded for major catches of Landlocked Salmon and Lake Trout. Bystanders can watch as the fish are weighed in at the weigh station, located on Lakeside Avenue in Weirs Beach. About 2800 anglers are expected to compete in the contest.

GRANITE STATE NATIONALS
10th Annual
July 28-29, 2012

Formerly the Laconia Nationals. In previous years, the event has been held at Gunstock, the Castle in the Clouds, and the Sandwich Fairgrounds. This year the event takes place at the Belknap County Fairgrounds in Belmont. Prizes for best Hot Rod, Custom, and Muscle. One constant is that many classic car owners will be showing off their rides along the Boardwalk at Weirs Beach.

Jalopy races were held at the Gilford Bowl during the 1950's. The above ad is from a 1954 advertising brochure. Now the site of the Meadowbrook summer concert series.

24th Annual WHITE MOUNTAINS TRACK CAR MEET
     Saturday, June 2, 2012, about 11am-1pm. Watch as more than 50 railroad Track Cars ride the rails into Weirs Beach. The pride and joy of their individual owners, each track car is customized differently. They remain along the boardwalk in Weirs Beach for about an hour.
MOTORCYCLE WEEK
JUNE 9-18, 2012. Now in its 89th year!
Over 300,000 bikers will attend this event, the third largest Motorcycle rally in the USA.

Above, the start at Laconia, N.H. of Championship 100 Mile Motorcycle Race. Below, spectators line the race course, held at the Belknap Recreation Area (now known as Gunstock). Photos are from the early 1950's.

          In recent years, Motorcycling has become a respectable hobby, with many of the bikes owned by doctors and lawyers. The sport is no longer dominated by the gangs that sparked the infamous riot of 1965, when Weirs Beach made the front page of the New York Times, and an article in Life magazine.
     Click here for a look at some of the official "Gypsy Tour" publications of the 1950's & 1960's.
RACING AT THE
NEW HAMPSHIRE
MOTOR SPEEDWAY
     Two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races are held at the speedway, about a half-hour drive from Weirs Beach. Close to 100,000 people attend each 300-lap race around the 1 mile oval. In 2012, the 20th annual Lenox Industrial Tools race will be held July 15th, while the 16th annual Sylvania race, the second race in the final ten-race "Chase for the Cup", is scheduled for September 23rd.
Click here for some great aerial photos of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, taken during the July 1, 2007 race.
MONTREAL-BOSTON TOUR
THE SOUL FEST
Four days of soul-inspiring Christian music of all genres, guest speakers and authors from around the world, workshops, discussion groups, and numerous recreational activities comprise this event, the largest multi-day music festival of its kind in the Northeast. This years event, to be held at Gunstock on August 1-4, 2012, will celebrate the Soul Fest's 15th Anniversary.
Stage #6: Franconia to Concord
Originally scheduled for August 10, 2007
Indefinitely postponed.

          Passing from the White Mountains through the Lakes Region on its way to the state capitol, this eight-stage bicycle race, based on the famous Tour de France, could have become one of cycling's top international events. Over 20 professional and national cycling teams would have competed. The closest the race would have passed to Weirs Beach would have been at Wellington State Park on Newfound Lake in Bristol.

TIMBERMAN TRIATHALON
August 17-19, 2012

     Attracting nearly 1500 extremely talented athletes, this 70.3 mile, "half-ironman" triathalon is an official qualifier for the Ironman World Championships, and features a 1.2 mile swim in Lake Winnipesaukee, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run, all starting from Ellacoya State Park in nearby Gilford, about 7 miles from Weirs Beach. In 2006, the winner finished with an incredible sub-4 hour total time of 3 hours, 57 minutes, and 46 seconds!

QUILTS AT THE WEIRS
     One of the only outdoor quilt shows in the country, celebrating the creativity of Quilters. The beautiful quilts were hung from the porches of the Victorian homes and the buildings of the New Hampshire Veterans Association lining Lakeside Avenue in Weirs Beach. Held annually from 2001-2005, the show is currently on hold, due to lack of an organizer. However, Weirs Beach still has a "Quilt Connection", the Quilted Frog (603) 366-5600, which sells DIY books, fabrics, and supplies.
THE BASS FEDERATION EASTERN DIVISION
     In 2008 a bass fishing tournament was held on Lake Winnipesaukee during the third week of September. Sponsored by FLW Outdoors, the largest organizer of fishing tournaments in the USA, the tournament may return in the future.
LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE RELAY RACE
SEPTEMBER 8th, 2012 at 8:00am

     This annual road race, now in its 24th edition, consists of about 100 eight-person running teams, each completing a 65.1-mile circle around Lake Winnipesaukee! The race starts and ends in Weirs Beach, with each member of the team completing one leg. The race, sponsored by the North Medford Club, is dedicated to Fred Brown, a pioneer in New England road racing. In 2007, the winning team completed the course in less than 7 hours, posting a blistering pace of one mile every 6 minutes, 13 seconds!

Smokin Stangs Mustang Rally
SEPTEMBER 7-9, 2012

The 2nd annual rally begins on Friday night with a meet and greet on Lakeside Avenue. The rally continues on Saturday with events at the race track; and returns to Weirs Beach Saturday evening for Cruise Night, on Lakeside Avenue and at Endicott Rock Park. Sunday will feature a Generations Cruise - the four different generations of Mustangs will depart from different locations in Laconia and converge at Funspot.
ANTIQUE & CLASSIC BOAT SHOW
LEE'S MILLS STEAMBOAT MEET
SEPTEMBER 7-16, 2012

The town of Moultonborough sponsors this annual 10-day meeting of Steamboats, now in its 40th edition. The Meet features a parade of boats each Sunday of the event. The parade occurs at 2pm on the first Sunday, and at 10am on the second Sunday. There is also a race on Wednesday from the Moultonborough town docks to 19 Mile Bay in Tuftonboro. For further information please contact:
David Thompson
PO Box 175, Moultonboro NH 03254
(603) 476-2224

Saturday, July 28th, 2012, 9am-3pm.
Meredith Town Docks.
After 29 years in Weirs Beach, the show moved to Meredith in 2003. 2012 will be the 10th Meredith show, and 39th overall.
ARTS & CRAFTS/ANTIQUE SHOWS
           In 2011, arts and crafts fans headed to Meredith on May 28-30 for the 20th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Craft Festival; and on October 1-2 for the 13th Annual Autumn Craft Festival. These shows were organized by Castleberry Fairs & Festivals. In 2012, on August 25-26, the 33rd annual Lakes Region Fine Arts & Crafts Festival will be held in Meredith.

Besides these three crafts shows in Meredith, there is also a craft show during the July 4th holiday at Gunstock. This year's show is the 40th annual and takes place from July 2–4, 2011.
HISTORICAL & FUTURE EVENTS
          Events that enjoyed a long history in Weir Beach, but that are no longer being held, or have relocated elsewhere, include: boat carnivals and exhibitions; boat races of all types – steamboats, wooden inboard-engine speedboats, fiberglass outboard-engine speedboats, hydroplanes, and most recently, massive offshore power boats, which raced down the Broads of Lake Winnipesaukee in the 1990s; sailboat regattas; water skiing races and exhibitions; helicopter rescue demonstrations; parachute jumping exhibitions, and beauty pageants.
          The recent absence of boating events from Weirs Bay is very likely due to its increasing congestion. In 1939 there were only 1681 boats registered on the entire Lake, in 1948, 2496 boats, and in 1955, 3753 boats. By 1979 there were more than 15,000 boats, according to one study. With 100, 835 boats registered statewide in 2003, it would be safe to assume that today, there may be as many as 25,000 boats on Lake Winnipesaukee.
          It is interesting to speculate whether these events will ever return in the future. There may be newer events many years from now that cannot even be imagined today.

          A skydiver lands on Weirs Beach, early 1970's.

          Five waterskiers, pulled by one ski boat, pass between the ski jump and the public docks, Boat-O-Rama, 1964.

          A helicopter churns the water off the Mount Washington Wharf, 1950's.

          A late 1920's speedboat race. Lakeside Avenue houses are in the background.

          Offshore power boats gather at "Aqua Fest" at the Weirs Beach public docks, 1996. Click here for a larger picture.

          The Miss Winnipesaukee beauty pageant was held in Weirs Beach, at Irwin's Winnipesaukee Gardens, from 1925-1968; and from 1969 - 2000 at various closeby venues including Funspot, Laconia High School, and Gilford Middle School.

The above photo was probably taken in 1954.
          "Sailboat racing on Lake Winnipesaukee, Weirs Beach, New Hampshire. Exciting races are held every weekend."

         Since 2001 the pageant has been held at Gunstock, in Gilford. Click here to enlarge the above photo.

A boat carnival in the 1900's. Click here to enlarge and for additional photos and info.

Miss New Hampshire 1954 (Mae Allen), was on the
cover of the 1955 Weirs Beach brochure.
Miss New Hampshire 1955 (Margaret Johnson), was on the cover of the 1956 Weirs Beach brochure.

WINTER EVENTS
In 2012, the Meredith Rotary sponsors the 32nd annual Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby on February 11-12. The Lakes Region Sled Dog Club holds its 83rd annual Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby on February 10-12. The 3rd annual New England Pond Hockey Classic is scheduled for Meredith on February 3-5. These events require cold weather, ice and snow, so hopefully, they will be held every year, despite global warming. Good ice conditions (8"-16" thick) are essential to the fishing and hockey events, while plenty of snow is required for the sled dog derby.

ICE FISHING - BY THE NUMBERS

4: Minimum thickness in inches of new clear ice needed to safely walk upon
8–12: Minimum thickness in inches of ice needed to safely drive a car upon. Varies according to vehicle
2: Maximum number of ice fishing holes legally allowed per person
18: Minimum length in inches for a legal "keeper" - a fish that you don't have to throw back in
5x6: Dimensions, in feet, of a typical bobhouse – an ice fishing shack
4/1: Latest date bobhouses must be removed from the ice or pay fine and lose fishing license for 1 year!

A bobhouse on Weir Bay. Notice the Spindle Point lighthouse in the distance. Click here to enlarge.

While racing began in 1929, 1936 was the first "World Championship" sled dog race. A pinback button is a common memento of the race.

Racing down Laconia's Main Street in the 1960's (color photo) and in the 1950's (black and white photo).

Racing down Laconia's Main Street in the 1930's, past the local banks.
Of the two banks in the photo, the Laconia Savings Bank still exists, although in a different location. The Laconia Peoples National Bank was bought out by other banks until it eventually became a part of Citizen's Bank.
return to  www.weirsbeach.com   home page