Shovels & Ropes
Shovels & Ropes performs at Prescott Park this weekend.

Top five things to do: Aug. 31-Sept. 2

A roundup of weekend entertainment on the Seacoast

The heat wave is breaking just in time for the long Labor Day Weekend, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate on the Seacoast. Here are a handful of the highlights.

Exeter UFO Festival

Exeter UFO Festival weekend events

Exeter has long been a known hotbed of extraterrestrial activity, so it’s a fitting location for this annual UFO festival. This year’s festivities begin with the Extown Space Jam on Friday, Aug. 31, from 5-7 p.m. at the Exeter Bandstand. The festival continues on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 1 and 2, at Exeter Town Hall. There will be speakers, kids’ activities, food, souvenirs, and more. Tickets are $20, with donations supporting the Exeter Area Kiwanis Club. Learn more here.

Last two PPAF concerts

Steve Earle

There are two concerts remaining in the Prescott Park Arts Festival’s River House Restaurant Concert Series in Portsmouth, and they both qualify as highlights. First up on Friday, Aug. 31, is southern rock duo Shovels & Rope, who late last year released “Busted Jukebox Vol. 2.” Then Steve Earle and the Dukes bring their Copperhead Road 30th Anniversary Tour to the park on Saturday, Aug. 1. Both shows begin at 7 p.m.; there’s an $8-$10 suggested donation.

The Pavement Artist

Lynne Cullen Pavement Artist

The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth opens its 27th season with “The Pavement Artist,” an original humorous drama by Portland-based playwright Lynne Cullen. Directed by Marina Altschiller and starring Gavin Barbour, the play tells the story of a reclusive Vietnam vet obsessively painting a mural in a parking lot. It runs Aug. 31 to Sept. 16; show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18; for more information, click here.

Dave Howland CD release

Dave Howland

Singer-songwriter Dave Howland is releasing his debut album, “Something Goin’ On,” with a show at The Stone Church in Newmarket on Friday, Aug. 31, at 8 p.m. Though this is his first solo recording, Howland is a former member of Boston’s Stacking Stones Band and has shared the stage with local acts such as Truffle, Bliss, Dan Walker, and Back on the Train (the latter of which will share the bill in Newmarket). Tickets are $8-$10; learn more here.

Black heritage tour

Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti

After Ona Maria Judge escaped from George Washington’s plantation in 1796, she boarded a ship for Portsmouth, where she lived the rest of her life as a runaway slave. On Saturday, Sept. 1, the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire presents a guided tour beginning on the Portsmouth waterfront at 2 p.m. and ending at the Governor John Langdon House. There, Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti (above) will play Judge in a living history performance. The tour is $20; learn more here.

For a complete calendar of local events, click here.