Fall in Santa Fe
Fall is the most beautiful season of the year for hiking or mountain biking the high elevation trails. Trails in the Santa Fe National Forest are open, rivers and streams are full of trout, and golf courses are uncrowded.
In town, outdoor patios are ideal for sipping a cocktail and watching a slow, spectacular sunset light up the sky. New Mexico’s chile crop is harvested in the fall and it’s hard to miss the spicy scent of roasting chiles in parking lots and at the farmers market as locals buy their annual supplies. The city’s arts scene is as robust as ever with museum and gallery openings and a full schedule of live performances. Some of the region’s most popular special events also take place in the fall. In short, Santa Fe has four distinct seasons, each with its own character and charm–but fall is the best of the best.
Here are just a few of this fall’s events, including several new ones. More will be added and sometimes schedules change, so visit www.santafe.org for updates.
Sept. 12-15. AIDSImpact Conference. This prestigious conference – held this year for the first time in the U.S. – brings several hundred global AIDS experts to Santa Fe to focus on current research and prevention programs. There will be a special art exhibit at the Community Gallery at the Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau running in conjunction with the conference.
Sept. 17-18. Santa Fe Renaissance Fair. Swordfights, costumes, and pirates galore. Fun and food for the entire family at this outdoor fair.
Sept. 18. Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon. Stunning mountain scenery and a celebration of Native American distance running tradition will inspire athletes in the race from Santa Fe to Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino on Pojoaque Pueblo.
Sept. 18. Tango, an evening of toe-tapping music presented by Santa Fe Pro Musica.
Sept. 23-25. Santa Fe Concorso. This premier event for sophisticated motorheads, a gathering of exotic and rare cars, is in its second year. Held on a lovely ranch north of Santa Fe, the show is juried by a panel of celebrated judges who are auto and design experts. There will be gourmet cuisine and a number of events and classes throughout the weekend.
Sept. 24. Steve Earle and the Dukes (and Duchesses). The singer releases his new album, a much anticipated follow-up to his Grammy winning Washington Square Serenade.
Oct. 1-2. Harvest Festival. Join costumed villagers in winemaking, stringing chiles, blacksmithing and more on the working Spanish Colonial farm at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum. There is also food, music, games, and traditional crafts, plus spectacular scenery.
Visitors staying in Albuquerque can watch the balloons in the morning and ride the Railrunner Express train for an afternoon in Santa Fe. Santa Fe Pick Up provides free shuttle service from the rail station to historic downtown Santa Fe.
Oct. 4. Saint Francis of Assisi Feast Day at Nambe Pueblo. This traditional celebration will include ceremonial dancing and food. Feast days are important religious events and visitors are welcome, but are asked to be respectful. Nambe Pueblo, 505-455-2036.
Oct. 20-23. Santa Fe Film Festival. This popular and provocative film festival has a growing international audience. Four days of screenings at various venues around Santa Fe showcase the best in independent cinema from all over the globe, plus new works. There are also lectures, workshops and awards.
Oct. 25. “From the Top,” the popular NPR radio show that features talented young musicians, tapes its show live at the Lensic, presented by the Santa Fe Concert Association.
Oct. 27-28. Dance Festival. Daniel Ulbricht and Friends from the New York City Ballet bring two nights of dazzling dance. Presented by the Santa Fe Concert Association.
Oct. 30. Dia de los Muertos. The Museum of International Folk Art celebrates this iconic Mexican holiday with art projects, food, and music for all.
Nov. 1-23. Santa Fe Harvest Festival. This new event will showcase food and fun. There are many events, including discounted dining, chef competitions, a bartenders contest, a restaurant relay race, and a gala Best of the Fest evening in the style of a celebrity chef cookoff.
Nov. 8. Renowned violinist Gil Shaham in a solo concert presented by the Santa Fe Concert Association.
Nov. 12-13. Santa Fe Pro Musica presents works by Beethoven.
Nov. 18. Gypsy Fire, Compañia Flamenca Jose Porcel, rocks Santa Fe with live musicians, vocalists, and dance.
Nov. 26-27. Winter Indian Market. This is a smaller version of the huge summer event and an opportunity to buy fine Native American art directly from its creators. Only 130 artists are invited to participate, making this event something special.
Nov. 26-37. La Cienega Studio Tour. Artists welcome visitors to their studios and sell glass, jewelry, sculpture, paintings and much more.
Dec. 3-4. The Nutcracker. Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet enlists many local dancers for this popular version of the Christmas classic.
Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum. Opening in October are exhibits of the Saint John’s Bible and Contemplative Landscape, a photographic exploration of the state’s landscape and people. Other temporary exhibits focus on women in the West and African American history in New Mexico. Long-term exhibits reveal the colorful history of the state and its cultures.
New Mexico Museum of Art. “Earth Now,” a photography exhibit, and “New Native Photography 2011” close in October. Karen LaMonte’s dramatic sculptured glass kimono, shown with Japanese woodblock prints can be seen until November 6. A display of contemporary artist James Drake’s sculpture and paintings will open October 28 and there is a continuing exhibition of selections from the museum’s vast collection.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. “Robert Henri and Ireland” is a presentation of a group of works produced by the artist, known as a leader of the ashcan school of art, after a trip to Ireland. The exhibit opens September 23.
Dec. 3-4. Winter Spanish Market. The Market has expanded this year by adding several new events. First, there will be a Luncheon with the Artists on Wednesday, November 30. This is an opportunity to enjoy lunch with a Spanish Market artist and learn more about them and their work. Tickets are only $60. Then, the market will open at the Santa Fe Convention Center for the first time on Friday night, December 2, from 6:00 to 9:00 with a special party. It’s called WinterNite and will feature food and music along with the artists selling their work. The market runs for two full days as usual over the weekend. Only 100 Hispanic artists are invited to participate. Many of their pieces will have holiday themes and are perfect for home or as gifts. In addition to all these activities, there will be a Holiday Home Tour of spectacular homes decorated for the holidays on Saturday (shuttles will leave from and return to the convention center throughout the day) and a Traditional Christmas Tea held at the Hotel Saint Francis on Sunday. In all, Winter Spanish Market will be just as exciting as the bigger summer market and an event not to be missed.
Dec. 9. Christmas at the Palace. This beloved tradition evokes Christmas from New Mexico’s past. Gather at the 400-year-old Palace of the Governors for cider, carols, and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the sparkling setting of the historic Palace.
Dec. 11. Las Posadas. This traditional Spanish play depicts the search by Mary and Joseph for a room on Christmas Eve. It is held outdoors and begins with a candlelight procession at the Palace of the Governors. Everyone is invited to participate, follow the journey around the Plaza, and boo the ever-popular devils. All are invited for cookies and carols after.
Dec. 12. Feast of Guadalupe at Pojoaque Pueblo. This feast day honors the patroness of the Americas and of Pojoaque Pueblo and includes ceremonial dances. Visitors may be invited to dine with pueblo families, but should not linger as many guests will be fed. As always, feast days are religious and guests should be respectful. 505-455-3549.
Music. There is a wealth of holiday music in Santa Fe. Look for concerts by New Mexico Pro Coro, Musica da Camera, Santa Fe Concert Association, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble, and more. Check the calendar at SantaFe.org for times and locations.
Farolitos. These are candles in brown paper bags, humble materials that line sidewalks, rooftops, and fences and transform the city with their glowing amber light. There are more than 1,000 of them lit in the early evening on the Plaza on Christmas Eve. You will also find them at the Cross of the Martyrs and in some neighborhoods. Luminarias are small bonfires that provide a warm respite on a cold Christmas Eve walk.
Dec. 24. Noche Buena. Midnight mass on Christmas Eve at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi commemorates a folk story about the animals in the manger on the night of Christ’s birth. They were dismayed, so the story goes, that no humans had come to see the child, so an old rooster flew to a high place and announced the birth for all to hear.
Native American Dances. There are many beautiful ceremonial dances at Native American Pueblos around the holidays that are both a renewal of culture and a religious expression. Elaborate, handmade garments are worn and dances follow traditional patterns. There are generally dances around Christmas and New Years Day. Dances happen on set days, but not at set times, so be prepared to wait patiently. It is important to remain respectful and quiet and to stay out of the way during dances. Checking ahead with the individual Pueblo for restrictions is advised.
AND DON’T MISS…
Jan 27-Feb 5. Winter Fiesta. Following a great debut last year, this event promises to be bigger and more successful in its second year. Buy a pass and get discounts or free admission to all kinds of events, outdoor adventure, dining, happy hour parties, and more. Watch for details in our next newsletter and on www.santafe.org
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