The family-friendly Porcupine Freedom Festival, held annually at Roger’s Campground in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire, is featured on the Free State Project’s website, discussed on various social media platforms, and seen in the 101 Reasons: Liberty Lives in New Hampshire film. This month, my family had the opportunity to enjoy our first PorcFest, and what a truly unique and amazing experience it was!
Our First PorcFest
My husband and I first became aware of PorcFest before we came out to visit New Hampshire in the fall of 2015. After making the move, we anticipated the event and bought early bird tickets as soon as they were available. We heard stories recounted among those who had frequented PorcFest, and our excitement grew. The closer PorcFest got, the more of our friends within the Freecoast community bought their tickets as well.
Before we knew it, the day to venture up to Lancaster was upon us. We loaded up our car and headed out on the 2 ½ hour drive up through the scenic White Mountains. We were unsure of exactly what to expect from our first PorcFest as a family. Having kids ages 7, 5, and 3 gears our entertainment towards a family-friendly experience. I had been assured that kids were granted quite a bit of freedom and thoroughly enjoyed their time at PorcFest.
Kids and Teens at PorcFest
The independence that the kids at PorcFest experience is incredible. Kids venture from their campsites to the playground to friends’ campsites, and they all seem to gravitate around PorcuPint Central, the venue for kids activities. We did not stay onsite at the campground, so my kids did not have a home base. They are a little young to roam on their own, so we watched from the picnic tables at the playground while they ran back and forth from there to PorcuPint Central.
I loved watching the older kids walk around on their own with walkie talkies attached to their hips. I overheard one 10-year-old on his walkie checking in, “Hey, I’m leaving the playground to head back to the campsite and make myself lunch.” It is a safe and wonderfully unique environment for kids to experience freedom and form new friendships. Parents told me that some of the kids make friends from different regions and only get a chance to be together at PorcFest. Watching these special friendships grow has been a distinctive joy experienced by many Free State families.
There is also a venue for the kids who have outgrown the playground. “Teen Central” is a tent on the main field with inflatable furniture set up, a place just for teens to hang out in the shade away from younger kids, and, of course, away from parents. Every time I walked by, it was populated by a group of teens talking and laughing, no doubt enjoying their annual visit with PorcFest friends. I even discovered that the teen venue and all of their activities are coordinated by a teen, a 17-year-old homeschooler who is well on his way to becoming a leader in the liberty community!
Plenty for Parents
As parents, it can be difficult to find events that cater so well to us – and to our kids. We miss a lot of live events because we cannot find a sitter or we don’t want be away from our kids for days at a time. This is why PorcFest is so special. Knowing that our kids are able to be in a safe area where we can keep in constant contact allows us as parents to thoroughly enjoy the event as well.
The PorcFest website updates frequently leading up to the event with a schedule of speakers and panels. My husband really enjoyed the presentation from Eric July, co-founder of Being Libertarian and the front man for the band BackWordz, who performed on Saturday night. Eric shared his journey to libertarianism and what it means for him to grow the liberty movement. I was fortunate enough to present with a panel of recent movers to New Hampshire as we shared our experiences with potential Free Staters. It was great getting to brag about the wonderful community that we have here.
One of the best parts of PorcFest is just walking around the campground. Agora Valley is where vendors set up shop to sell food and unique liberty-themed merchandise. Being new to crypto, I enjoyed walking around and discussing currencies with vendors and even getting to make my first purchase using Dash, the main sponsor this year.
Whether you are new to the Free State community or have already made friends here, PorcFest is a wonderful social experience. Walking from one event to another, you are constantly among friends. And if you’re new to the community, the experience is just as welcoming. Once people find out it is your first PorcFest, they make a point to make you feel welcome and invite you to campfires or events where you can meet people and learn more about the FSP.
The talks and panels held at PorcFest change every year, but they always center around liberty in all aspects of life. When you come to PorcFest, there will be something for everyone in your family. Between the vendors in Agora Valley, the activities in PorcuPint Central and Teen Central, and the captivating presentations given by leaders in the libertarian community, PorcFest will delight your entire family and have you asking yourself, “Why haven’t I made the move to New Hampshire?”
Molly moved to the Seacoast region of New Hampshire in November 2017 as a participant of the Free State Project. She spends her time attending liberty outreach events and assisting organization efforts for the annual Freecoast Festival. In Free State Family, Molly and her family of five take on a new adventure each month, giving us a glimpse of life in New Hampshire.