PEGGY KING UNDERSTANDS THE IMPORTANCE of the Día de los Muertos celebration and its return to the Mesilla Plaza after a two-year hiatus. An event coordinator at the Calavera Coalition, which oversees the festivities, King recalls a little boy she met sitting next to his grandfather’s altar 18 years ago. “He told me everything about his grandfather, from what kind of tractor he drove to what kind of foods he liked,” she recalls. “When his mother came by later, she told me his grandfather had been dead for over 15 years. The little boy had never met him, but this tradition helped keep his spirit alive.” This year’s event, October 28–30, invites families to build altars honoring their departed loved ones with pictures, favorite foods, and flowers. There will be plenty of food, arts vendors, live music, and dancing to celebrate those ancestors as well. “That’s what this is about,” says King.
With us in spirit: “To remember is to live,” says Blanca Araujo, of the Calavera Coalition. “Keeping memories of departed ones alive means they are always with us in spirit.”
Take your time: “Expect to spend several hours viewing altars and looking at vendor work,” King says. “Many express there is a healing to it—to creating the altars and in the interaction of all the people who come by and see them.”
Walk the walk: Don’t miss the candlelight procession from the plaza to San Albino Church Cemetery on All Souls’ Day (November 2). “The procession is really special,” King says. “We usually have 300 to 400 people.”
Filmmaker Joshua Zunie's (Zuni Pueblo) short film, Rude Girl, is among those featured at this year's Santa Fe International Film Festival.
There’s more than a new name at this year’s Santa Fe International Film Festival. Founded in 2009 as the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, the annual gathering of cinephiles has grown into the largest event of its kind in the state, with 300 hours of films, shorts, lectures, and other programming at five theaters throughout the city. The festival truly has become a worldwide draw, with this year’s entries spanning 94 countries. The 110 final selections include films from Canada, Ukraine, Romania, United Kingdom, Taiwan, and Kazakhstan. “There’s not anywhere else in this region to see a lineup of films like this,” says Jacques Paisner, SFIFF artistic director. He’s excited by the international interest in the festival, especially from places like South Korea. “They are experiencing a cinematic renaissance,” he says. “Being in touch with so many people working with ideas that can change the world for the better is very attractive to me.”
Fall into a bounty of events at El Rancho de las Golondrinas.
10/1-10/2 - 50th Annual Harvest Festival
10/8 - 50th Anniversary Celebrations
10/22 - Santa Fe Spirits of New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA
Balloon Fiesta Park, 5000 Balloon Fiesta Pkwy NE, Albuquerque
Hundreds of colorful hot-air balloons, special-shapes rodeos, and twilight balloon glows are just part of the fun at the 50th Balloon Fiesta.
NICHOLS RANCH APPLE FESTIVAL, LA LUZ
The apples are ready for pickin’ at Nichols Ranch and Orchards. Plus: hayrides, live music, and a petting zoo.
Peanut Valley Craft and Music Festival, Portales
Nothing goes better with a two-day jam session than getting a little nutty—with kids’ games, food trucks, and arts and crafts vendors.
Break out the lederhosen and enjoy Oktoberfest celebrations at the Ruidoso Convention Center.
Bike through the Sawmill District in Albuquerque in costume (or regular biking clothes) on October 23 during the annual Day of the Tread cycling event. The routes, ranging from 7 to 100 miles, meander through some of the Albuquerque area’s most stunning spots, including the Río Grande Bosque and the road through Placitas. (Don’t bike? There’s a 4K Fun Walk, too.) No matter the distance, participants return to Sawmill for live music, costume contests, food, and drinks at the Treadfest celebration. All entry fees benefit nonprofits supporting children and families, such as the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation’s Tread Setters, which purchases hand cycles for kids with disabilities. “People come up with amazing costumes,” says Day of the Tread committee member Joanie Griffin. “Every 10 miles, we have a recharge zone with music and great food.”