By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — It’s a big year for significant birthdays in the Land of Enchantment in general and the City of the Crosses in particular.
We’re always up for a party, here in the city of fiesta moods and festive attitudes.
J. Paul Taylor turned 90 about the same time the Branigan Cultural Center turned 75. Initially, the August birthday bashes were scheduled for the same day, but “human-before-institution” honors prevailed, and the Branigan fiesta moved to anther day, Sept. 3.
The celebrations continue.
On Sept. 15, No Strings Theatre Company celebrated its 10th anniversary. As it happens, that’s also Guatemalan Independence Day and the birthdays of my late dad Jack and my early soulmate Dr. Roger. Hmm. I’m sure a good astrologer could enlighten me about the significance of these Sept. 15 events. Maybe I’ll write a play about it all and present it at the Black Box Theatre, No Strings’ home base.
There are some other interesting things involving birthday/anniversary celebrations, like the fact that our state is so much younger than its three biggest cities. New Mexico will celebrate its 100th birthday (the centennial of statehood) in 2012, yet our state’s capital, Santa Fe, is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year.
Albuquerque, if I remember right, had a big 300th birthday bash about four years ago and Las Cruces has a year of sesquicentennial (150th) celebrations in 1998.
Probably on some plain of existence, there are some chuckles about these “founding” dates and epic birthdays from Anasazis and Mimbres and other ancient souls, whose first appearances in shards and fossil remains date back thousands, not mere hundreds, of years.
Back on the home front, coming up soon is another, if much younger, milestone anniversary.
The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico will celebrate with a 10th Anniversary Gala at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Las Cruces International Airport. There’ll be dinner, dancing and a live auction and dress is “semi-formal or aviation costume,” so if you’ve ever wanted to dress up as a World War I flying ace, this is your big chance. Tickets and info: (575) 521-4794 or cfsnm.org.
Coming up is a season of 25th anniversary celebrations for the New Mexico State University Choral Department. In a few months, Court Youth Center, home of Alma d’arte Charter School, will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its rebirth.
Today you can read about the nation’s oldest two-story adobe theater, the Rio Grande, which first entertained Las Crucens in the 1920s. What we’re celebrating this month is the fifth anniversary of its facelift, or restoration. It’s an intriguing fiesta concept, a kind of rebirthday.
I’ve always wondered why the only birthdays deemed worthy of major fiestas always seem to end in “5” or “0,” whether they’re measured in two- or three- or four-digit increments. And we stop there. I can’t remember the 10,000th anniversary celebration of anything, can you? Though I do recall, growing up, monitoring the number of burgers sold on ever-changing signs at McDonald’s. I don’t think they do that anymore, but a website reports that by spring of 2010 the total was about 245 billion served.
Meanwhile, back home on the range, we have some more eco-friendly, organic, downhome numbers to celebrate. Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market fans who might have missed the earlier stories will be pleased to know that in the America's Favorite Farmers Markets Contest, we ranked first in New Mexico overall and No. 9 in the United States for markets with more than 56 vendors.
Chris Faivre of the Las Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau noted that we were also “the only market within New Mexico to rank nationally in any one of the contest categories. In fact, the LCFCM was only one vote shy of an 8th place tie with the Chattanooga Market in Tennessee.”
The contest is sponsored each year by American Farmland Trust (farmland.org).
In 2011, the LCFCM will celebrate its 40th anniversary. If trends continue, our market could be No. 1 in the United States at age 40.
That could be quite a birthday present.
NOTE: City officials, spare the tree that shades our nation’s fabulous No. 9 market! Many of you are fighting mad about plans to cut down what many of us think is the Downtown’s most beautiful tree — and we’d also like to preserve some other old-growth faves. We’ll share your comments in next week’s Las Cruces Style column.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450