1 See your favorite writers in person.
Authors such as John Irving, Gillian Flynn, Diana Gabaldon, Laila Lalami, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Ed Yong take the stage at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center this weekend during the second annual Santa Fe International Literary Festival. The festival invites bestselling and acclaimed authors to the City Different for a weekend of literary engagement. Conversations, readings, workshops, and other events take place Friday through Sunday. Tickets are available to individual events or for the full festival (some events are sold out, so grab a ticket ASAP if you’re planning to attend). The festival includes some fun, interactive happenings like spirits tastings, morning meditation sessions, and presentations at local spaces—including a literary night with featured festival poet Natachee Momaday Gray and acclaimed artist Thais Mather, who have previously collaborated, at Hecho Gallery on Thursday, May 18.
2 Gather wool.
Raw wool, dyed yarn, handcrafted fiber tools, crocheted works, knitted items, felted pieces, and looms are just some of the things you can shop for at the 10th annual Heart of NM Fiber & Art Gathering, in Edgewood. On Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the market invites local vendors to show their wares at Wildlife West Nature Park. See alpacas, angora goats, and sheep, whose coats can become beautiful fiber artworks. There will also be live demonstrations of wool spinning, felting, and other crafts.
“This particular event started 10 years ago in a city park with about six vendors,” says Julie Plougmann, a committee member and artist who has worked with the gathering since its inception. “It has turned into a fiber and arts market, so you will see things like homespun wool, but also jewelry.” Bring the little ones and head to the education area where kids can make felted pet rocks. Attendees can talk to wool growers about the process. “With a better understanding of what is involved with growing wool, you get an idea of why the price is more than acrylic at Walmart. It’s a process,” Plougmann says. “Any of the wool growers are happy to talk about it.”
3 Fish for cash.
New Mexico’s largest lake bustles with kayaks this weekend during the annual Elephant Butte Lake Kayak Fishing Tournament, hosted by Zia Kayak Outfitters. The main event is on Saturday, when competitors catch and release fish, combining the lengths of their five biggest catches to get their final score. On Sunday at 11 a.m., the winners receive their prizes (more than $5,000 in cash and goods) at an awards ceremony held at the Elephant Butte Community Center.
4 Visit studios in El Rito.
The northern New Mexico community of El Rito, lush with natural creative inspiration, is home to artists working in a wide array of mediums. On Saturday and Sunday, visit many of these artists in their homes during the El Rito Studio Tour, a unique opportunity to see where these artists work and buy art directly from the hands that made it.
Shawn Demarest, board member of El Rito Arts Association and co-coordinator of the tour, says there’s a magic that attracts artists to the hamlet. “It feels very removed from busy society,” she says. “It’s a very small village, and people know one another. It’s a very special place.”
Attend a mercado with 30 artisan vendors at the El Rito Campus of Northern New Mexico College from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Visitors can also see the studios of artists who work in a variety of mediums, such as David Michael Kennedy, who creates palladium prints. “You can see where he prints his photographs, as well as a wide selection of black-and-white photography dating back to his time when he photographed notable people like Bob Dylan and Debbie Harry,” Demarest says. “He has a beautiful space.”
Bring cash, especially if you want to eat at El Farolito, the excellent local restaurant in El Rito. Look for maps at the mercado and participating studios, and signs directing visitors to the studios. Check the website for info and a downloadable map.
5 Admire some tailfins.
Custom paint jobs and vintage hot rods shine at the Albuquerque Museum during the New Mexico Car Club’s 37th annual car show, held Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This year’s auto show celebrates the art of the tailfin by featuring antique, classic, exotic, and sport varieties. See vintage camper trailers, trucks, and motorcycles, too, plus car-centric artworks featured in the special events room inside the museum.
“The first American car with tailfins was the 1948 Cadillac, which was 75 years ago,” says Joyce Clements, car show chair. “The show is open to all kinds of cars, but we make a feature row with tailfins.” Entry to the show is free for spectators, who can look forward to seeing between 250 and 300 rides. “People have different reasons for going to car shows, and this one is a little different because we don’t do music and fancy entertainment,” Clements says. “We just try to gather people who enjoy cars.”