Aug.30 POST NEXT WEEK
Chile. Art. Wine. Music.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the fiesta choices this weekend? You aren’t alone.
If you’d like a few tips to help you navigate Full-Tilt Fiesta Season (FTFS), you’ve come to the right place.
I’m a seasoned festival veteran, a fiesta pro, an FTFS Yoda. In fact, I literally coined the term and have been gratified that “Las Cruces Full-Tilt Fiesta Season” is regularly showing up in guide books and magazine features.
It was inspired by love of local fiestas and my World War II flying ace/aircraft engineer dad, who frequently used the term, which he picked up in the U.S. Army Air Corps, as a life lesson and strategy for living.
Going full tilt, literally with maximum force and speed, came to mean more to us. It was something greater than going all out. “Full tilt” also implied a certain passion, expertise, style and finesse. That’s what we have here at FTFS Central.
Festivals may come and go, as the last year has shown, but I think most of us will agree that there always seems to be a good fiesta around when you need one, and sometimes there will be several.
Like this weekend.
That’s why I’m offering you some insider tips I’ve picked up both as an enthusiastic fiesta aficionado, and as a journalist who has sometimes been called upon to cover three or more fiestas in one day, and lived to tell about it. (And even had a good time in the process.)
First of all, do a little planning. If you’re going with family, friends or out-of-town visitors, consider the preferences, ages, attention spans and other limitations, if any, of those involved. Unless maximum crowds and occasionally sitting in traffic jams is part of the fiesta experience you enjoy, develop some strategies to avoid peak crowd times. Check out festival websites for schedule times for your favorite band or activity. Buy tickets in advance to avoid lines and look for discounts.
Be prepared. Gas up, check the oil, make sure your transportation is in good repair and your AAA card is handy, if you have one. Charge your cell phone.
Safety first: Make sure your first aid kit is stocked up. A bandage in time can save a day of fun. Include insect repellent, moist wipes, hand-sanitizers, pain revievers and stomach remedies, if you can’t resist those funnel cakes and deep-fried everythings. If you take prescription medications, take extras in case you’re stranded, and have a complete list of meds, dosages and physician contacts handy. If someone in your fiesta party has a chronic medical condition, it’s a good idea to make a list of urgent care medical facilities if you’re going to an unfamiliar community. Appoint a designated driver if anyone in your party is planning to sample beer, wine or other libations.
We love fiesta food and drink, but bring water and snacks for the trip.
Dress for fiesta success. You want to look cute and impress your fellow fiesta animals, but consider the weather, time of day and length of time you’ll be in fiesta mode (including those aforementioned traffic jams). Essentials include a hat, comfortable shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a complete change of clothes (including shoes: snap a sandal strap and you could be relegated to fiesta sidelines) for everyone in your party.
Umbrellas, blankets or beach towels and folding chairs could come in handy.
Leave pets at home or with pet sitters if you’ll be gone overnight. Most fiestas ban pets (except for service animals) and it’s too hot to leave them in the car.
Here are a few fiesta-specific tips. The Franciscan Festival of Fine Art: Still the most laid-back of the fiestas, it’s a great place for a date or day with a good friend. It’s become a birthday or anniversary tradition for some, a place to have a meal or drink, inside or out, enjoy mellow tunes and choose one-of-a kind artistic gifts. Hatch Chile Fiesta: If you plan to watch the 9 a.m. Saturday parade, pack a breakfast picnic and arrive as early as possible to find a parking place along the parade route. Wine Fest: Wine merchants may find they’ll have more time to chat early on Monday, usually the festival’s least-busy time.