Saturday, October 27, 2012

Help save our crumbling fiesta infrastructure

By S. Derrickson Moore LAS CRUCES — Only time will tell what will happen when the calendar hits Dec. 21 this year. Prognosticators’ opinions are sharply divided about what the most frequently cited sources (Hopi and Mayan prophets and their descendants) really have to say about the much-discussed date. Most authoritative sources I’ve encountered seem to agree that it will be more of transformation, an ending of an era, rather than the end of the world. But in the meantime, here at home on the range, in our own timeframe, we have some crises to confront. Whatever happens in December, we already know that 2012 has seen some crucial crumbling in the Las Cruces fiesta infrastructure. It started when Roberto Estrada announced that his equipment was no longer up to the task of creating the world’s largest enchilada. For the first time in its history, the Whole Enchilada Fiesta came and went without production of its behemoth namesake dish. And now comes the news that Magellan, the Doña Ana Arts Council’s official Renaissance ArtsFaire lake dragon, will not be floating in its customary Young Park pond position this year. Bob Diven’s locally legendary creation has suffered a broken neck, which has left him in danger of becoming “nearly headless,” I learned during this month’s Ramble. I had a deja vu moment when I heard the news. I remembered when my comadre (grandson Alex the Great’s other grandmother) moved to Las Cruces and contemplated our territory through a feng shui master’s eyes. She informed me that our town was very nicely situated with hills and mountains in all the right places. Crouching tigers and bountiful bears may have been involved, if I remember right. And I’ll never forget her pronouncement that the Organ Mountains represented the most impressive example of a dragon she’s ever seen: a sleeping dragon, about to wake up. Ah, the symbolism. My first thought is that if we should let sleeping dogs lie, wouldn’t it be even more prudent to leave sleeping dragons to rest in peace? What if Diven’s dragon symbolizes a behemoth that rose, was injured and now may be very cranky and loaded for bear, to mix my animal metaphors. But we Las Crucens are a brave, resourceful and caring lot, and many are working to restore our cherished fiesta traditions. And in the meantime, the show must go on. Roberto made lots of spicy small dishes for enchilada eating contests instead of the big one this year, and efforts are under way to raise $40,000 for new equipment in time for next year’s Whole Enchilada Fiesta. And I hear that Magellan will make an appearance at DAAC’s RenFaire Saturday and Sunday. But the wounded dragon will be “in the dragon hospital, waiting to be restored to his fiery former glory,” DAAC’s Summer Irvin revealed. He’ll be soliciting comfort kisses for $5, and looking adorably pathetic enough to help generate donations to fix him up and get him back in the pond in 2013. By this time next year, we may have pulled together and be back in the giant enchilada biz and ready to launch a frisky, new — or artfully mended — lake dragon. Or maybe the form of this world will have passed away and it won’t matter. Time will tell. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty — and the key to maintenance of fiesta infrastructure. And our planet. S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

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