As Dan Lagueux remembers, it all started out as a dream. One night Lagueux’s daughter woke up crying, saying she wanted to become a famous soccer player and that her friends mocked her for it. After Lagueux gave his daughter a pep talk, she turned the table on him: “‘Well, what’s your dream daddy?’ she asked me,” Lagueux says. “And I said, ‘My dream is to own a restaurant one day.’ So she proceeded to say, ‘Why don’t you have a restaurant?’ I broke down, cried and decided and it was time to put my money where my mouth is. I went downstairs that night and started to write a business plan. The rest is history.”
Today, Lagueux and his wife Valerie Vanasse own New England’s Tap House Grille in Hooksett and are ringing in 10 years of business with Ice Fest, an outdoor celebration at their sister location Oscar Barn Wedding Venue. Ice Fest takes place 6 to 10 p.m. on January 12 through 14 and includes a range of outdoor winter-themed activities. Lagueux says he and Vanasse’s French Canadian roots and the Quebec Winter Carnival inspired the event’s theme. Ice Fest will offer a curling rink, ice cocktail luge, interactive ice displays, wood-fire pizza, food trucks, five different bars, several photo booths and more. The event also features a variety of live music, including DJ Chad and the Bob Pratte Band playing Thursday, January 12, DJ Shamblez, Brad Myrick & Paul Costley and Pop RoKs playing Friday, January 13 and DJ Chad, Dave Glannon and the Rebel Collective playing Saturday, January 14.
Lagueux looks forward to celebrating the community that’s kept New England’s Tap House Grille open for an entire decade. He recalls the business’ vast evolution, and how he and his wife now own their own farm providing vegetables for the restaurant, an Airbnb property on the farmland and the Oscar Barn Wedding Venue, which opened in late 2021. Lagueux and Vanasse plan for Ice Fest to become an annual event in years to come, with this first celebration as a slightly smaller, more intimate commemoration of the townspeople who regularly provided their patronage through thick and thin.
“We did all of this because we cared about the integrity of our community,” Lagueux says. “Now it’s a celebration of all the things we went through, and after 10 years we want to say to our customers, ‘You’ve been there for 10 years. Here’s a big party.’”
Tickets for Ice Fest 2023 can be purchased at oscarbarnweddingvenue.com and are $25 per day. “Tokens” are $4 each, can be purchased online or on the day of the event and will be used to buy food and drinks at the event; leftover tokens can be used at New England’s Tap House Grille for up to a month following Ice Fest. Event parking is limited and can be purchased beforehand for $25, although free parking is offered at nearby Tri-Town Ice Arena with regular shuttles transporting attendees to and from Oscar Barn Wedding Venue. Visit taphousenh.com for more information.