1 Look up.
A true spectacle, the 51st annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta starts Saturday, when hot-air balloons in every color of the rainbow lift into morning skies over the Duke City. Lauded as the world’s largest ballooning event, more than 500 balloons participate during the nine-day event, which attracts visitors from around the globe. Arrive bright and early to catch a drone show at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday morning before the balloon glow at 6:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies and the first mass ascension kick off at 7 a.m. There are a few ways to get to Balloon Fiesta Park, including shuttles. Find all the details and buy your ticket ahead of time on the event’s website.
2 Shop for winter wool.
Mountain and Valley Wool Festival, Santa Fe
Just in time for cozy season, the 40th annual Mountain Valley Wool Festival takes over the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday. It offers a bonanza of hands-on activities; alpacas, angora rabbits, and sheep to meet and greet; and regional wool vendors hawking fiber art, wool, yarn, crafting tools, and more.
Fest competition categories include hand-dyed, fleece, milled, and handspun, bringing a variety of offerings to the visitors. Hear live music while you shop with performers like harpist Serena Serenity and Plaza Flowers, a multigenerational string ensemble. The free fest is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Taos Wools Festival
Taos Wools Festival opens for its inaugural event at Revolt Gallery on Saturday, where more than 20 fiber artists shows their works. Artists celebrating the medium include Josh Tafoya, a fashion designer who creates garments that have garnered the attention of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and Kathy Kiraly, who makes hand-felted vessels. A party and fashion show kicks off Friday at 5 p.m., followed by the free all-day festival hosted by Taos Wools on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
3 Celebrate the harvest season.
Harvest Festival, El Rancho de Los Golondrinas
The towering cottonwoods at this historic 200-acre property in La Ciénega turn gold just in time for the 51st annual Harvest Festival. Attendees can pick their own pumpkins in the pumpkin patch, make corn-husk crafts, learn how to create a ristra, shop handmade artisan goods from a collection of local vendors, and stroll the beautiful grounds. It’s open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and kids ages 12 and under get in free.
Harvest Festival, ABQ BioPark
Enjoy the fall weather at Harvest Festival at the Botanic Gardens, where the foliage is looking pretty autumnal. The fest brings live musical performances from groups, including Americana ensemble High Desert Playboys, Latin band Baracutanga, and bluegrass group Watermelon Mountain Jug Band. Enjoy face painting, a small makers’ market, and apple cider made with apples grown on-site. The festival is Saturday and Sunday. Get your ticket here.
Oktoberfest, Red River
Don your lederhosen and head to Brandenburg Park to catch the mountain town of Red River’s 18th annual Oktoberfest, filled with beer, wine, and fall fun. The fest includes a kids’ zone, a beard and mustache competition, tons of food vendors, Mr. and Mrs. Oktober awards, a contest to find Red River’s strongest man, and live music from groups like Eastern New Mexico University’s German ensemble, DJ Luisa, and Cameron Wrinkle. It’s open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Aspen Fest, Ruidoso
Classic rides, golden leaves, the aroma of roasting green chile, a vendors’ market, beer and wine, and a parade are all part of the offerings at AspenFest. The parade steps off at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Sudderth and Mechem streets and ends at the Chamber of Commerce. “We’re going to have floats, the Shriners club, decorated vehicles, and lots of local entries,” says Deborah Douds, director of the Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The festival follows at Wingfield Park at 11 a.m. Expect tons of live music, beginning with the Matthew Palmer Band at noon and ending with Phil Hamilton, who takes the stage at 4:30 p.m. Kids can check out a petting zoo from Runyan Ranches, a story time led by the Ruidoso Public Library, and rare birds from Desert Willow Wildlife Rehab. “The festival is our celebration of the fall weather,” Douds says. “The last float in the parade is Santa, and he brings winter into Ruidoso.”
4 Celebrate print, which is not dead.
Kyle Durrie, co-organizer off the Southwest Print Fiesta and owner of Power and Light Press in Silver City, says the fiesta is going to be bigger than ever this year—more than 40 printmakers are at the Saturday market, hailing from all around the Southwest. “Printmaking is an inherently shareable artform,” Durrie says. “It’s democratic because it creates multiples instead of one solitary, precious piece of work. Price points tend to be lower, and it’s a really collaborative process.”
The fiesta kicks of Friday evening with the opening of three print-centric exhibits in downtown Silver City. On Saturday, enjoy the printmaker’s market, an interactive community printmaking project led by visiting artist Nikki Jabbora-Barber, and the steamroller printing event at Main Street Plaza. On Saturday evening, the fiesta hosts a party at Whiskey Creek Zocalo with live music from Albuquerque-based artist Heather Trost and visiting printmaker Heather Moulder. See a full list of events and locations on the event’s webpage.
5 See writers rise.
Up from the Ashes, We Rise is a collection of poetry and prose published after the Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak Fire that ravaged San Miguel and Mora counties in 2022. With works by more than 40 writers, the book is an exploration of what it looks like to move through loss and overcome extreme adversity. Many families lost property and homes that had been in their families for generations, and most are still in the process of rebuilding their lives. On Saturday, support the writers featured in the book as several of them read at SOMOS Taos starting at 2 p.m.
6 Catch the Santa Fe Plaza’s first powwow.
More than a dozen states, including New Mexico, have replaced the federally recognized holiday Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Since Santa Fe first recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2016, the holiday has continued to expand. On Monday, enjoy the Santa Fe Plaza’s first-ever powwow, which caps a weekend of Plaza dance and music performances with the Santa Fe Indigenous Center’s Honoring Native Nations Powwow. Vendors are open at 9:30 a.m., and the lineup includes Gourd Dancing, a Grand Entry and Parade of Nations at 1 p.m., and activities all day until 4:30 p.m.