1 Geek out at ScienceFest.

Every summer, the city of Los Alamos hosts ScienceFest, a flurry of hands-on activities, concerts, and markets that focus on science and history. It kicks off Friday with offerings through Tuesday, July 18.

The 2023 theme is “Energy” and the many forms it takes, from kinetic to thermal to chemical. On Saturday, Discovery Day happens at Ashley Pond from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. “We’ve been doing Discovery Day for 16 years,” says Jacquelyn Connolly, executive director at Los Alamos MainStreet and Creative District. “We have a lot happening this year.”

“A lot” is right! Check out a “drone zone” obstacle course, where folks can fly their own drones before a few drone performances by professionals; an electrical vehicle show, put on in partnership with Toyota; a solar car race; an immersive virtual reality experience at SALA Event Center; a beer garden and performance by the Manzanares Quartet on the lawn at Fuller Lodge; and a photography exhibit of images by New Mexico Magazine contributor Minesh Bacrania.

“The exhibit is called Behind the Fence,” Connolly says.It is a collaboration with Smithsonian Magazine. The photos show spaces from the Oppenheimer Project the general public wouldn’t normally see, like sites where they did nuclear testing. It’s featured on outdoor displays, so you walk through it like a tour.”

Other ScienceFest events this weekend include the Los Alamos Big Band Dance, held at Fuller Lodge from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Next Saturday, July 15, plan for ScienceFest’s Play Crawl event from 6 to 8 p.m., where STEAM activities geared toward adults pop up in Central Park Square alongside trivia—and there will be beer. That same evening, ScienceFest partners with the Pajarito Environmental Education Center to host an astronomy viewing party at Overlook Park in White Rock, starting around 9:30 p.m. 

The International Folk Art Market moves to the Santa Fe Railyard District and partners with SITE Santa Fe for an artist talk with designer Carla Fernández. Photograph courtesy of SITE Santa Fe.

2 Learn about Mexican design.

For the first time this weekend, the world-renowned International Folk Art Market (IFAM) takes over the Santa Fe Railyard, featuring new experiences that include a night market and artist talks at SITE Santa Fe. (Check our July Datebook story for more info on the change of venue from the market’s traditional home on Museum Hill.)

“Heritage of Fashion Design,” an artist conversation held at SITE in conjunction with IFAM, features fashion designer Carla Fernández, who heads a fashion house in Mexico City. She strives to preserve textile traditions from Indigenous and mestizo communities. She will speak with Carolina Franco, external affairs manager at SITE.

“Carla’s whole manifesto is that the future is handmade,” Franco says. “We are going to get into that, the textile heritage in Mexico, and how those textiles tell so many stories. Some of these textiles have been in production for 3,000 years using the same techniques.”

Fernández creates work that bridges the space between what some consider folk art and contemporary art. She has shown her creations in museum settings that include SITE Santa Fe and also creates performances that debut with her collections. “We will talk about where the line between folk art and contemporary art is,” Franco says. Catch the conversation at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. Grab a ticket here.

La Emi opens her summer show at the Lodge at Santa Fe. Photograph courtesy of the Lodge at Santa Fe.

3 Watch a flamenco master at work.

Emmy Grimm has dedicated her life to the art of flamenco. Ever since her mentorship as a young girl by the renowned dancer and Santa Fean María Benítez, the artist known as La Emi has made dance her cherished livelihood. (To learn more, read our December 2002 story “La Emi Shares Her Passion for Dance.”) La Emi’s new flamenco series sees the master mount a completely original show, featuring fresh choreography and costumes, every time she takes the stage at the Benítez Cabaret at the Lodge at Santa Fe. Her newest show kicks off this weekend with performances through October 5. To create this show, La Emi collaborated with choreographers from Spain including Gala Vivancos, who hails from Madrid, and Eloy Aguilar of Granada. The shows feature guest appearances from Vicente Griego and his band Rumba Flamenca.

Among the items on display at Branigan Cultural Center's new exhibition "The Chinese Experience in the Borderlands, 1880–1930" is a portrait of Lee Wing, a resident of El Paso, Texas. Photograph courtesy of Southern Methodist University, DeGolyer Library.

4 Dive into the experience of Chinese Americans.

In Las Cruces, a fascinating new exhibit opening at the Branigan Cultural Center, The Chinese Experience in the Borderlands, 1880–1930, examines the lives of Chinese Americans who lived in El Paso and Deming at the beginning of the 20th century. It was a time when anti-immigration laws aimed at Chinese immigrants made life extra difficult.  

Jennifer McClung, exhibits manager and museum curator at the Branigan Cultural Center, gained valuable insights into Chinese communities in Deming and El Paso as she was doing research for another exhibit. “I thought, I have to do an exhibit about this,” she says.

Visitors will see historic photographs and newspaper clippings, maps marking buildings with monikers like “Chinese laundry” and “Chinese tenement,” and around 25 objects that were uncovered during an archaeological dig in 1983. “A professor at New Mexico State University oversaw the dig,” McClung says. “There are a broad example of artifacts: soup bowls, rice bowls, containers, and other miscellaneous objects.”

While covering a 50-year period in the exhibit, McClung wanted to make sure visitors understood the various obstacles these immigrants faced. “They will be acquainted with the anti-Chinese legislation that was passed so they can understand what repressions Chinese immigrants were facing.” See the exhibit from Friday through October 7.

Watch man and beast battle it out at the WildThing Bullriding Championship. Photograph courtesy of the WildThing Bullriding Championship.

5 Ride ’em, cowboy.

There are few more impressive shows of strength and grit than bull riding. A tried-and-true standout, the 30th annual WildThing Championship Bullriding event comes to Gallup this weekend. Catch the buckin’ fun at Red Rock Park on Friday and Saturday evenings, when cowboys from around the globe do their best to hold onto the bulls for 8 seconds. Attendees will see more than just bulls, with rodeo classics like mutton busting and a firework show, too. Proceeds from the concessions at the event support Manuelito Children’s Home—it’s one of their biggest fundraisers of the year. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children.

Read more: For more things to do, check out our online calendar of events.