The Unofficial Insider Idiot’s Guide for Dummies to the Hope Recovery Festival

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Before taking my daughters to Disneyworld 20 years ago, I purchased an “insider’s guide” for all the secret tips. I learned the fictional characters we were likely to meet (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White, etc.) and those we wouldn’t meet (Bugs Bunny, Milburn Pennybags, The Scarlet Pimpernel, etc.) We also got advice on how to dress—apparently, Florida is warm, so fur parkas and insulated pants are discouraged. The guide advised us if we wished to ride the most popular rides we should get in line early. It was a most useful $12.95 book.

Today, at no charge, I’m giving you the Unofficial Insider Idiot’s Guide for Dummies to this Saturday’s Hope Recovery Festival. You might think because this information is free it’s not worth much. You would be wrong. I guarantee you will learn more useful inside dope here than I ever did. If you don’t I’ll give you triple your money back!

First, basic details: 

What: The largest Recovery Celebration north of Boston

When: Saturday, September 30 (three days from now for those you without a calendar.)

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Arms Park, down by the river

Price: $0, nada, nothing, zilch. It’s free

Insider’s Tip #1: Hope staff members and some concierges will be wearing bright red bucket hats with Hope bumper stickers on them. Picture Gilligan in a slasher movie. These folks can direct you wherever you need to go.

Insider’s Tip #2: The dunk tank is being operated by the Freeman House. Saturday is going to be warm, but far from hot. Selling old but dry towels to the dunkees may raise enough money to buy a lot of raffle tickets.

Insider’s Tip #3: The chess activity operated by Into Action is really an exhibition by its owner and operator, Jonathan Gerson. He is a consummate chess hustler, so if you have any legitimate grandmasters in your life, please set them loose on him.

Insiders Tip #4:  If you like food, you should bring some. Without wanting to start a theological debate, you might also consider bringing a loaf of bread under your shirt and a fish in your pocket. Recovery, after all, is a miracle, so who knows what might happen.

Now onto the serious grown-up stuff.

Recovery houses from throughout Manchester are putting on activities of various kinds. Here’s the list as of publication:

Recovery House Activity
Saint Christopher’s Dart game 
Adira Sober Living Kindness Rocks
Starting Point 5 Pillars of Recovery
Home Chalk Boards
Tabula Rasa Guessing Game – winner gets a gift card
Into Action Chess Exhibition- winner gets gift card
GRC Sand Art
Live Free Bubble Station
RJM Take a Gratitude, Leave a Gratitude
Freeman House Dunk Tank
Isaiah 61 House and 603 Recovery Henna Tattoos
Bonfire Scavenger Hunt


This year’s raffle has a ton of prizes in two tiers:

Top Tier
Two Patriots Tickets
Big Screen TV
Oil painting by local artist DR Cote
Handmade and hand-crafted table by local artisan


Lower Tier
Coffee, health club memberships, Hope Swag Bag, DRM Hoodie and lots and lots and lots and lots of gift cards

The festival will be a good, nay a great, time. I hope to see you there.

You matter. I matter. We matter.


About this Author

Keith Howard

Keith Howard is former Executive Director of Hope for NH Recovery and author of Tiny White Box