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Holiday events in N.H. this weekend: Santa via helicopter, Hanukkah ‘Latkepalooza,’ and more

The “Chanukah On Ice” event in Portsmouth will sport a giant menorah, gelt, and a chance to skate along to Jewish music

Santa arrives by helicopter in 2022 at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire, in Londonderry.Jeff Rapsis/Aviation Museum of New Hampshire

Santa Claus himself will pay an early visit Saturday morning to families who gather at the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire in Londonderry — but instead of taking his sleigh, he’ll arrive by helicopter.

“This close to Christmas Eve, Santa prefers to travel by chopper because the flying reindeer are resting up for the big night on Dec. 24,” said Jeff Rapsis, the museum’s executive director.

Santa’s touchdown is scheduled for 11 a.m. outside the museum, so those who want to catch a glimpse should park no later than 10:45 a.m. and make their way to the observation area, organizers said.


Santa will greet kids one by one inside the museum, with goodie bags from the jolly fella’s helpers. He’ll stick around until 1 p.m., when a fire truck will whisk him away, according to an event announcement.

Rapsis said Santa’s helicoptered pitstop has become an annual tradition at the museum, which exists to celebrate New Hampshire’s role in aviation history and to inspire future aerospace professionals. The museum will be open to visitors for free on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., then regular admission prices will resume after Santa leaves.

The event will include free hot chocolate, coffee, donuts and more from the Common Man Roadside, and the museum’s store will be open for those on the hunt for holiday gifts. Saturday also marks the opening of an exhibit that features vintage uniforms and posters from World War II, vintage Barbie dolls, and more.

In the event of inclement weather, Santa will arrive by fire truck rather than helicopter, organizers said.

The whole event is made possible by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Common Man Roadside, CR Helicopters of Nashua, Signature Flight Services, and the Manchester Airport Fire Department.

Hanukkah events

Undaunted by chilly temperatures, a large crowd gathered Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, to watch the lighting of a 13-foot Menorah in front of the New Hampshire State House in Concord, in honor of the first night of Hanukkah. Pictured center left is Rabbi Levi Krinsky, who was joined in lighting the Menorah by Yoram Fleisher (center right) in honor of his brother, Avi, and all those killed in the Oct. 7 attack in Israel. The gathering was flanked by several armed police officers, an increase in security from recent years, according to Chanchie Krinsky, a program coordinator for Chabad of New Hampshire. “We felt this was an important year to come out, be part of the community, and show our support for Israel,” said Laura Macnow, a Chabad member. Amanda Gokee/Globe Staff

Several fun celebrations to mark the Jewish Festival of Lights are planned for this weekend in New Hampshire as well:


  • The Jewish Community Center in Newington will host a “Chanukah Musical Havdalah & Kumzits,” with James Predergast and Guy Ben David, on Saturday at 6 p.m.
  • The “Chanukah On Ice” event at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. will offer a chance to skate along to Jewish music, see the lighting of a giant menorah, and enjoy donuts, gelt, and arts and crafts.
  • Temple Israel Portsmouth will host a “Latkepalooza” community celebration on Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m., with a hanukkiah lighting, crafts, music, dancing, latkes, and donuts.

Coming up next week, there are more Hanukkah events, including a show at The Palace Theatre in Manchester featuring circus and ventriloquist acts, a parade in the Seacoast, an interfaith service in Portsmouth, and on-demand streaming of “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” as performed in 2022 by the Manchester Community Theatre Players.

This story first appeared in Globe NH | Morning Report, our free newsletter focused on the news you need to know about New Hampshire, including great coverage from the Boston Globe and links to interesting articles from other places. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Steven Porter can be reached at steven.porter@globe.com. Follow him @reporterporter.