1 Celebrate a historic site.
The land where Fort Selden Historic Site sits has had a remarkable past, first as farmland for Mogollon people as early as 400 AD, and much later as an 1860s military outpost. Among others, Buffalo Soldiers were stationed there until it was abandoned in 1891.
On Saturday, Fort Selden marks another important milestone—its 50th anniversary as part of the New Mexico Historic Sites system. Starting at 6 p.m., visitors can enjoy a sunset tour of the site and live acoustic music by Reed Rische, as well as hot dogs, hamburgers, cake. The festivities include the Doña Ana County Historic Society, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary and played a pivotal role in Fort Selden’s recognition as a historic site. “One of the main reasons the Doña Ana County Historic Society was founded was to help protect and preserve Fort Selden,” says Alexandra McKinney, Fort Selden instructional coordinator.
McKinney and Fort Selden manager Rhonda Dass lead a guided tour that covers the last 50 years of the space and what the state has done to preserve it. “When you go visit, you are standing in the location where historic events happened,” McKinney says. “You get to actually stand in that history, and you become part of that history.”
2 Let it ride in Vegas.
The four-day Fiestas de Las Vegas, which has happened in some form since the city’s founding in 1835, takes place July 1–4 with a full day of mariachi performances, a 5k and 10k Fiesta Fun Run, a parade led by Las Vegas native and Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández, food vendors, and a mini carnival. “When we celebrate fiestas, we celebrate the richness, strength, and resilience of our precious northern New Mexico people,” says Mayor Louie Trujillo in the fiesta guide.
Festivities officially kick off Saturday at 10 a.m. with the mayor’s welcome at Park Plaza, followed by live mariachi performances from Mariachi Plata de Western New Mexico University, The Blue Ventures, and the Carlos Medina Trio. More than a dozen food vendors, a craft market, and local businesses are set up around the plaza throughout the fiesta.
3 Party in Elephant Butte.
City Manager John Mascaro says Elephant Butte will be hopping this weekend as the city celebrates its 25th birthday (Elephant Butte became New Mexico’s 101st incorporated community in 1998). The party starts Friday at 5 p.m. with DJs, beer garden, food, and local vendors across from city hall. “I like to keep everything local,” Mascaro says. “The vendors have everything from crafts to kayak stuff, camping gear, jewelry, and home goods.” On Saturday, the celebration includes a car show, vendors, beer garden, and a live performance by Tudy Romero & the Silver Bullet Band at 7 p.m. Catch the state’s largest fireworks show at the Elephant Butte Lake State Park before heading back to the festival, which continues until 11 p.m. and picks back up Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
4 Sip wine along El Camino Real.
El Rancho de Las Golondrinas hosts the 29th annual Santa Fe Wine Festival on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Vintners from throughout the Land of Enchantment set up shop on the 200-acre grounds, which now functions as a living history museum. Festival goers can taste the abundance of varieties produced in the state, eat delicious food, dance to live music, and seize the satisfaction of a summer day well spent.
5 Get artsy in the mountains.
Since 1995, southern New Mexico creatives have combined forces to host the Art Loop of Lincoln County. This weekend, art lovers can visit more than 20 studio spaces throughout the Sacramento Mountains, view artist demonstrations, buy works ranging from bronze sculpture to painting to jewelry, and speak with the artists about their processes on Friday and Saturday (10 a.m.–5 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.–5 p.m.).