Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ideas for the Fiesta Dead Zone

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — Do you feel your group or cause is being crowded out by the growing competition during FTFS (Full-Tilt Fiesta Season)?
Maybe it’s time to consider a new approach, and boldly go where few fiesta animals have gone before.
Are you brave and creative enough to tackle the Fiesta Dead Zone (FDZ)?
FTFS traditionally stretches from Labor Day to Memorial Day and things get pretty quiet during the hot summer months.
In recent years, the season has stretched out a bit, with several successful festivals, including Pride Fest, Father’s Day events, Juneteenth, Raft the Rio and Turtle Fest in June and a burgeoning Borderland crop of Fourth of July festivals.
From then until late August, the fiesta pickings have been traditionally been pretty slim.
There’s good reason. We’ve been good sports through increasingly torrid Junes here, but by July, the heat has worn us down, and even though temperatures may drop quite a bit, as they have this year, the monsoons have started.
Much as we love and pray for rain, we high desert creatures have never really figured out how to party in it.
If you’re game, I have just the concept for you: the Singin’ in the Rain Festival, in honor of Nacio Herb Brown, the Deming-born musician who composed the tune that was immortalized in the 1952 movie of the same name. Of course, it would get tricky in drought years. Maybe we could hire rain dancers, install misters and water slides and hedge our bets by holding the festival in tents, or have back-up plans for a Jornada del Muerto Fiesta if we have to call it in case of no rain.
It’s safer to bet that, rain or no, the FDZ season will be hot. So we must come up with more cool alternatives and themes, as the season’s most successful planners have done. Examples: Ice cream Sunday at New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Asombro’s new Nightlife in the Desert event, Butterfly Flutterby and the brand new Tour de Beer. What could be more refreshing than frozen treats, a cool desert night, breezes generated by butterfly wings and a frosty mug or two?
Even smarter are those who move their fiestas indoors. That’s the plan for the White Sands International Film Fest, most of which is held in Las Cruces movie theaters, in air-conditioned comfort.
Heading inside and cranking up the A/C is a concept that is catching on with more and more fiesta planners.
Arguably, July and August could be prime time for museums, art galleries and theaters (many local theater groups start new seasons about now) and for glittery new facilities like the Las Cruces Convention Center and the almost-finished New Mexico State University Center for the Arts.
The LCCC will host the Men Who Cook benefit Aug. 11. When it’s too hot to cook, why not let our big strong, desert-hardy men do it? And we’ll do our part by eating … in air-conditioned comfort.
The FDZ would be a great time to experiment with new events and uses for the convention center, like the well-received recent community garage sale. We’d probably all be more inclined to clean out our attics and profit from our surplus stuff, if we didn’t have to hang out in our hot driveways all day to make a sale.
It could be that the fiestas dwindle because it’s too hot to generate interest in anything very energetic. Maybe we could gather hammock vendors, power loungers and dream analysts for an annual Siesta Fiesta.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

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