Friday, September 3, 2010

Fiesta Roundup

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — This is it, party animals.
Last weekend’s old standby, Deming’s Great American Duck Races, and the new chica on the block, MainStreet Salsa Festival, now in its second year, kicked off the 2010-11 Full-Tilt Fiesta Season.
As today’s Labor Day weekend roundup shows, whether the economy has rebounded or not, our fiesta spirit is going strong.
And even the festivals that had called it quits seem to be coming back in some new forms.
The Hillsboro Apple Festival has been reborn as the Hillsboro Harvest Festival, with the same great attractions in a mountain town full of art galleries, antique stores and historic adobe homes. This year, they’ll also feature a new crop of apples.
From now on, we’ll be pretty much going full-tilt through New Year’s. Labor Day weekend attractions include the New Mexico Wine Harvest Festival, Hatch Chile Festival and the Franciscan Festival of the Arts, which evolved into the Doña Arts Council’s Renaissance Arts Faire, the region’s largest cultural event, before returning to its original name and site at Holy Cross.
DAAC has bee the source of other spin-offs, too. Their annual ArtsHop has morphed into the monthly Downtown Ramble and other artists’ neighborhood studio and gallery tours, including the brand new Camino del Arte, which will make it’s debut from 11 to 3 p.m. Sept. 11 in the city historic Mesquite District, along with DAAC’s brand new Color Las Cruces Plein Air Competition and Community Arts Festival Sept. 11 and 12. Fort Selden Frontier Days will be the same weekend, a boon for art and history buffs.
The White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational runs Sept. 17 to 19. Save some energy to celebrate Mexico’s independence at the Diez y Seis de Septiembre Festival Sept. 18 and 19 on the Mesilla, Plaza. Get ready for the city’s street party (and the world largest enchilada) at The Whole Enchilada Festival Sept. 24 through 26.
Livestock shows, a cowboy rodeo, a midway, food, music and fun, plus a showcase of our best animals, produce, arts and crafts and more, highlight the Southern New Mexico State Fair and Rodeo Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.
It will be a very jazzy FTFS. The Mesilla Jazz Happening will be Oct. 2 and 3, with wine gardens at both locations. at the Mercado Plaza and the Mesilla Plaza. If you’re up for a third venue, check out the La Viña Wine Festival, also Oct. 2 and 3.
And here’s more: “Jam Session in Las Cruces,” two months of events focusing on the art and culture of jazz, will feature multi-media exhibits, concerts, films, gallery talks, and educational outreach events at several locations from December 10 to Feb. 3 For more info: visit the "Jam Session in Las Cruces" website at: That’ll ease us into 2011 February For the Love of Art Month celebrations of visual, performance and literary arts.
Meanwhile, back in 2010, autumn fun continues with Dias de los Muertos celebrations around Las Cruces and from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 on Mesilla’s Plaza.
Deadheads and RenFaire fans will be able to spread out the fun this year, since two of our most popular celebrations won’t fall on the same weekend. DAAC’s Renaissance ArtsFaire will be Nov. 6 and 7 at Young Park.
The Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference Nov. 11 through 14, includes concerts, a Mariachi Mass and the Parque Festival.
December is packed with festive and spiritual celebrations, pageants and festivals, some with historic roots that stretch back centuries. The Tortugas Pueblo invites the community for events that include a pilgrimage up A Mountain, dancing ceremonies and a traditional albondigas feast during their Virgen de Guadalupe Festival, always held Dec. 10, 11 and 12. There are traditional luminaria displays at NMSU and Doña Ana Plaza, and the Christmas Eve lumniarias and carols on Mesilla’s Plaza.
There are holiday concerts, church and school events and pageants, bazaars and bake sales, holiday Downtown Rambles and lots more.
There are many more special events, too, from area autumn mazes to gallery and museum openings, special shows, theater openings, Las Cruces Symphony and NMSU Choral Department premieres and concerts, the Las Cruces Chamber Ballet’s annual presentation of the beloved holiday classic “The Nutcracker” and the La Casa Bazaar Dec. 3, 4 and 5, one of the first events at our brand new Las Cruces Convention Center. Pace yourself, ease into fiesta mode and we’ll do our best to keep you posted.
¡Viva Full-Tilt Fiesta Season!

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450

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