1 Saddle up to the state fair.
The New Mexico State Fair bursts out of the gates like a rodeo bull this weekend with activities, rides, concerts, delicious eats, and cute animals. Gates are open on Expo New Mexico grounds from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday; the fair goes through September 17. Attendees can look forward to pig races, drum band performances, stilt walkers, pony rides, a salsa competition, a flower show, the largest rodeo in New Mexico, and tons of live musical performances, including Mammoth WVH on Friday and Justin Moore on Saturday. The fair parade marches down Central Avenue into Nob Hill starting at 8:30 a.m. If you’re a car lover, don’t miss the antique car show, which brings a stunning display of Model Ts, early Ford V8s, and Model As to Main Street on Sunday at 10 a.m. See the full scheduled events here.
2 Stop and smell the sunflowers.
Celebrate the endangered Pecos sunflower in Santa Rosa during the Pecos Sunflower Festival, which begins Friday. The three-day event includes concerts at the Blue Hole Amphitheater, a cornhole tournament, a crafts fair, a photo contest, sunflower painting, and of course, a flower show. “This ciénega is one of the last remaining wetlands in the Southwest,” says Estela Thompson, community event coordinator with Blue Hole Cienega. “It’s home to a few endemic species, one of them being the Pecos sunflower.”
Attendees have the chance to see the beautiful flowers in full bloom and participate in many activities, including a concert by northern New Mexican band Quarenta Y Cinco, Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Blue Hole Amphitheater. “It’s kind of the last hurrah of summer,” Thompson says.
3 Rev up your engine in Farmington.
Extreme vehicles roll into Farmington during the Four Corners 4x4 Week. The event is a chance for off-road enthusiasts to gather, show off their rides, test their mettle on local trails, and see professionals compete in the W.E. Rock Grand Nationals on Saturday and Sunday. Competitors travel the country and test their skills and vehicles on off-road courses throughout the year, leading up to this final event at Farmington’s Glade Run Recreation Area, which is one of the toughest courses in the United States.
Gates open at 9 a.m. and competitions start at 10 a.m. Food vendors are on site along with plenty of action as the drivers try to tackle the course. “The point is to push your vehicle to the extreme,” says Ingrid Gilbert, online marketing manager at Visit Farmington.
Check out the cars and competitors at the Off-Road Downtown Takeover on Arrington Street in front of the Farmington Civic Center from 6 to 10 p.m. The car show includes categories for dirtiest Jeep, best custom vehicle, and prettiest Jeep. Attendees can look forward to a slew of cool cars, a sound system demonstration, face paintings, a flex ramp competition, a concert from Battle of the Badlands, and a beer garden. The event takes over.
4 Fall in love with Taos art.
Emerging artists show their work alongside those with national renown in the Taos Fall Arts Festival. The offerings include workshops, art shows, and readings from writers and poets at Coronado Hall. On Friday, hit the opening reception for the group exhibition Beyond Black & White at 1022 Reed Street. On Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., the Kids4Kids Kick of Party serves up community art making, a selfie booth, sticker making, and more. On Sunday, catch a live jazz performance by Kevin Cannon at noon, as well as a poetry slam, book readings, and a writers’ workshop.
5 Get fired up in Tucumcari.
The 11th annual Fired Up Street Festival in Tucumcari fuels weekend fun with lowriders, market vendors, and fiery shows. The festival begins Saturday in downtown Tucumcari, where streets close and vendors surround the Historic Railroad Depot, from noon to 9 p.m. Expect a poppin’ car show hosted by Rollerz Only, a national car club with a local chapter, with a 2 p.m. lowrider car hop. Local businesses have sidewalk specials, and over 60 vendors sell everything from fair foods like turkey legs and barbecue to crocheted items and T-shirts. At 8:30 p.m. Odd-Lab performs their fire show. “They are a crowd favorite and always bring a great show,” says Connie Loveland, executive director at Tucumcari MainStreet. The event wraps with a fireworks display put on by the Tucumcari Fire Department at 9 p.m. “It keeps growing organically,” says Loveland.