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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Buzz building for downtown mini golf tournament

July 06. 2018 10:23PM

There won’t be any prizes awarded for the top golfers in the inaugural Manchester Mini Masters tournament.

“Because we anticipate a lot of shenanigans as far as score keeping,” said Jim Bellisle, territory manager of New Hampshire and Vermont for Shipyard Brewing.

Bellisle is hoping that hundreds of people and their putters will be drawn downtown for the Saturday, Aug. 4, inaugural miniature golf event to benefit Manchester Animal Shelter. Participants will “wander-at-will” to nine downtown bars and restaurants that have each been charged with building their own, unique mini-golf hole for the tournament.

“During the summer on the weekends downtown suffers because everyone takes off and goes to the lake or the beach,” Bellisle said.

Bellisle said he has three goals for the Mini Masters. He wants to help his downtown accounts bring in more customers, help the Manchester Animal Shelter bring in more funds, “and hopefully sell a bunch of Shipyard, Sea Dog and Ice Pik Vodka,” he said. “In that order.”

I appreciate the salesman’s honesty. The event is obviously sponsored by the three aforementioned beverage companies, which will all offer drink specials at each of the putting locations. Ice Pik, which is distilled in North Hampton, has run a similar event in Bangor, Maine, for three years.

Mini Masters runs from noon until 6 p.m. Holes will be found at The Farm Restaurant, Wild Rover, The Pint, Bonfire, Shaskeen, Strange Brew, Portland Pie, Thirsty Moose and Murphy’s Taproom.

And while there will be no green jackets for Mini Masters winners, there is a competition among the bars and restaurants for the most creative hole, to be voted on by the players. “They win a very influential prize called The Rusty Putter,” Bellisle said. “In some circles, it’s on par with the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Bellisle isn’t privy to any of the course design blueprints yet, but said he really hopes Murphy’s Taproom finds a way to incorporate its multi-level decks. He suggests they could use PVC pipe. But really Murphy’s, no pressure.

Manchester Animal Shelter will receive 100 percent of each $10 ticket. They can be purchased through the events link on There’s also an event Facebook page, just search Manchester Mini Masters.

More downtown delights

In addition to the fun new Manchester Mini Masters event, there are dozens of other reasons to spend time downtown this summer.

Intown Manchester’s Summerfest series starts this Thursday with a lineup of concerts and movies at Veterans Park. Concerts include Foreigners Journey on July 12, Manchuka on July 19, The Army Rock Band on July 26, Rock Spring on Aug. 2, and Jimmy Lehoux on Aug. 9. Movies planned include “The Greatest Showman” on Aug. 23 and “The Avengers” on Aug. 30. They each start around 7 p.m.

Intown has also organized a series of fitness classes on Thursday afternoons to take place on Stanton Plaza during the Manchester Community Farmers Market. Offerings include yoga, tai chi, kickboxing and boot camp classes. They will be held from 3 to 3:45 p.m. on Thursdays from July 12 through Aug. 30. Visit for a complete schedule.

Picnic in the park

Even when you work downtown in the summer, it’s hard to brave the summer heat. The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has a big plan to pry downtown workers from their air conditioned desks and out into the community for a few hours: food trucks.

Its annual community and downtown employee appreciation picnic will bring eight food trucks to Veterans Park on Wednesday, July 25, from noon to 2 p.m.

Entrance is free, but food prices vary by the trucks offering lunch, ice cream and snacks. There will also be lawn games and other activities provided by downtown businesses.

What brings you downtown during the summer? Tell Katie at

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