By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — It used to be that this weekend marked a kind of last hurrah for fiesta animals, as we danced into our annual Fourth of July fiesta feeding frenzy and went out with a bang, followed by a long, hot jornada del muerto … a deadly dull mid-summer’s journey, or a welcome fiesta furlough, depending on your attitude.
Some look forward to a little breather — a long, languid spell until the official start of FTFS (Full-Tilt Fiesta Season) traditionally waddles in with the Great American Duck Races and then gains speed and goes full throttle, maybe with a little January breather, until the following Fourth of July.
And many of us are ready for a rest, after a weekend that celebrates everything from alleged 1947 UFO landings in Roswell to ancient Apache traditions and ceremonies in Mescalero, as well as our nation’s Independence Day. There is a Smokey Bear Stampede and Rodeo in Capitan. There are powwows and patriotic concerts, picnics, festivals at cities and small towns, concerts, fun runs and arts and crafts fairs. And fireworks … launched from venues that range from a space museum to theme parks and Rattlesnake Island in the middle of Elephant Butte Lake.
And where else in the world can you celebrate all that is wonderful about America with a spicy, creamy bowl of home-grown green chile ice cream, made in a churn powered by an antique John Deere “Hit ‘n Miss” engine? (That’s a tradition at the annual Silver City Museum Ice Cream Social from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, if you’re in the mood for a little road trip.)
After all that, we should be ready for our annual mid-summer extended siesta.
It’s too hot to get excited about much of anything. Even laying around on the patio or having an outdoor picnic doesn’t seem like such a good idea this year. The freeze and drought of 2011 has made it next to impossible to create and maintain anything that could pass for a lush desert oasis.
Better to head inside and crank up the air or the swamp cooler and relax with a cool movie, a good book or an entertaining video game.
But kids on summer vacation get bored, and nature abhors a vacuum, so our usual midsummer fiesta hiatus is not as long as it used to be.
There have been a few new events cropping up in fill the void in recent years. New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum lures lovers of fiestas and frozen treats to its Ice Cream Sunday, this year on July 17.
By then, we’re desperate enough for fiesta fun and cool sensations that many overheated desperadoes are willing (or maybe even eager) to risk brain freeze and enter ice cream eating competitions.
There are other ways to gather with others and have a little laid-back summer fun: Monthly Downtown Rambles on first Friday evenings, and Camino del Arte Mesquite Street strolls on second Saturdays, to visit galleries and shops and meet friends.
You can pick up some fresh produce and other gifts and treats at outdoor markets Wednesdays and Saturdays on the Downtown Mall and Fridays and Sundays on the Mesilla Plaza.
There are summer camps and crafts classes, outdoor concerts, dances and clubs, a few plays and performances. Go to a baseball game. Or make your own fun. Enjoy your unscheduled time. Imagine a duck in a superhero costume.
“Super Heroes,” by the way, is the theme for the 2011 Great American Duck Race festivities Aug. 25 through 28 in Deming.
But the races, and the onset of 2011-12 FTFS, are many weeks away. Until then, plan on some power lounging and stay cool.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at email@example.com; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to www.lcsun-news.com and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.