The big art events are behind us, the Opera season has concluded, and now it’s time for the Santa Fe locals to have a party….a party that’s almost 300 years old! Although the City of Santa Fe celebrates its history and heritage throughout the year, Fiesta de Santa Fe heralds the approach of autumn with all of its attendant glories, fresh green chile, golden aspens and refreshingly cool mornings, welcome after the heat of summer. Viva La Fiesta de Santa Fe!
Fiesta events encompass somber recollections of the past in conjunction with the delights of the present, in short, they offer a little bit of everything for everyone. Although the Fiesta Council works diligently throughout the year to ensure that the Fiesta court has been chosen and the event schedule coordinated, the majority of Fiesta events take place during the week that coincides with the Labor Day holiday.
The annual Labor Day Arts and Crafts Festival takes place all day on the Plaza through Monday, September 5th, and local artisans will be on hand to talk about their work. Music will ring out at the Fiestacita at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center on Tuesday, September 6 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. And if you simply must have the music continue, there will be two more opportunities to enjoy the happy sounds of the trumpet and guitarron at a Concierto de Mariachi at the Lensic on Wednesday, September 7 at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
History buffs can make an afternoon visit to the New Mexico History Museum on Wednesday, September 7, and return at 6:30 p.m. to learn more at an informative lecture, entitled “Death Along the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro 167o,” presented by Dr. Joseph Sanchez. Dr. Sanchez examines the dramatic escape of Bernardo Gruber, branded as a witch by the Spanish Inquisition.
Thursday is given over to the burning of Zozobra, Old Man Gloom, a 50+ foot puppet (for lack of a better term), who offers Santa Fesinos the opportunity to put an end to the dark thoughts and distractions of the year. This annual conflagration, created by artist Will Shuster in 1924, pre-dates Nevada’s Burning Man by 60-some years, and advance tickets are advised. Following the burning of Zozobra, the revelry flows down to the Plaza, for music, munching and merriment. With on-field attendance at 25K, take note that Zozobra is NOT for agoraphobics or the faint-at-heart!
The firm commitment made to La Conquistadora in 1712 to commemorate the re-conquest of Santa Fe after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 includes several religious events, including the Pregon de La Fiesta at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, September 9, in the historic Rosario Chapel. There will be a Pontifical Mass celebrated by Archbishop Sheehan on Sunday, September 11 at 10:00 a.m., that starts with a Procession from the Plaza to St. Francis Cathedral. And Fiesta events also end on a more solemn note, with a Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, September 11, at 7:00 p.m. at the beautiful Cathedral, followed by a candlelight procession to the Cross of the Martyrs.
Like all small towns, Santa Fe loves a parade, and Fiesta offers two to enjoy, complete with marching bands. On Saturday September 10 at 9:00 a.m., the children of the City Different bring out their pets, both live and stuffed, for the unique Pet Parade, Desfile de los Ninos, where you might encounter a lizard dressed as Don Diego de Vargas or a few adorable Senorita Barbies! Sunday, September 11 is the Desfile de La Gente, aka the Hysterical/Historical Parade, in which residents poke fun at local figures and national events. And speaking of hysterical, clapping, stomping and booing are all welcome behavior at the Santa Fe Playhouse, when the Fiesta Melodrama, anonymously penned each year, skewers pols and prima donnas alike.
Entertainment takes place all weekend on the Plaza Bandstand, with folkloric dance, traditional music, and Fiesta garb galore. The Gran Baile takes place at the Community Convention Center on Saturday night, September 10, at 7:30 p.m.; you’ll certainly see some fancy Fiesta fashions there. And food booths will be wafting tempting aromas around the downtown streets throughout the weekend.
Our Fiesta de Santa Fe holds a very special place in our hearts, and we invite you to join us as we fondly declaim, “Vivan Las Fiestas! Que Viva!”