1 Burn your gloom.
Say goodbye to all the sorrows of 2022 during Friday’s 98th Burning of Zozobra. The tried-and-true Santa Fe tradition was created by Will Shuster and his band of artist friends in 1924. A towering marionette over 50 feet tall, Zozobra (also known as Old Man Gloom) moans and groans while he burns in front of thousands of folks who gather at Fort Marcy Park to yell “Burn him!” and, once the annual rite is complete, “¡Que viva!” Hosted by the Kiwanis Club since 1964, this year’s Zozobra will be decked out in 1990s fashion. This is a rain-or-shine event, so come prepared for anything.
2 Check out artists’ studios.
The 15th annual Chama Studio Tour welcomes visitors to see the creativity abundant throughout the Chama Valley on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At numbered stops along the tour, see multiple works from artists working in mediums like printmaking, painting, jewelry, ceramics, beadwork, and glass art. The tour goes beyond traditional mediums, including tie-dye, herbal medicine, and tote bags. This region of New Mexico is truly stunning, and particularly verdant after a season of heavy monsoon rains. See a full list of artists and locations on the tour’s website.
Explore artist studios in and around Taos during the Taos Open Studio Tour, happening Saturday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 30 artists open their creative spaces to visitors, providing unique insights into their workspaces along with opportunity to purchase art directly from makers. Stone sculpture by Bruce Barnes, fine jewelry by Susan Gancher, pastels and hand-painted silks by Patricia Keeler, and photography by Tom Quinn Kumpf are all available on this tour. A preview exhibit at the Taos Valley Lodge & Espresso Bar, open all weekend, offers a sample of what’s offered on the tour to help you decide what you want to see first. Find a map of locations on the tour’s website.
Red dots mark the open studios on the Silver City Art Association Studio Tour this weekend, which opens with a 5 p.m. reception at Light Art Space on Friday, featuring live classical guitar by Aaron Lewis. The studio visits offer a peek into the artists’ processes, techniques, and inspirations, plus an authentic picture of creative life in Grant County. See blacksmithing, woodwork, photography, painting, fiber arts, and sculpture. Find a full brochure with studio locations on the event’s website or in person at Light Art Space.
3 Go to a chile party.
In New Mexico, the most wonderful time of the year is chile season, and the best place to celebrate is in Hatch, the chile capital of the world. Cue the Hatch Chile Festival, which is marking its golden 50th anniversary this year, starting at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The fest includes a parade, a carnival, watermelon-eating contests, ice cream-eating contests, chile-eating contests, live mariachi performances, ballet folklórico appearances, magic shows, a cornhole tournament, a rock-climbing wall, tons of food, beer and wine gardens, and of course, a cornucopia of chile.
“The whole town participates,” says Lisa Neal, president of Hatch Valley Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a great opportunity to get the flavor of Hatch.” The events happen throughout Hatch, and you can find a map with location details on the event’s webpage, or in person at the festival information booth across the street from Sparky’s. All of Hatch’s chile stores will have fresh roasted peppers for sale, and most of the vendors will be set up at the entrance to Hatch High School. Neal expects around 30,000 folks to attend this special anniversary event, so expect a bit of traffic.
4 Sip and savor New Mexico wine.
The Harvest Wine Festival is happening in two locations this weekend: Albuquerque and Las Cruces, featuring New Mexico’s premier vintners, including Amaro, Noisy Water, St. Clair, Casa Rondeña, Black Mesa, Gruet, and more. The vino party offers the chance to taste a variety of local wines, eat delicious food, and enjoy the bounty of harvest season.
The Albuquerque Harvest Wine Festival takes over Balloon Fiesta Park Saturday through Monday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. A dueling pianos concert, painting classes, a silent disco, and mini golf all come together for a great opportunity to get the most out of the last days of summer. This is a 21-and-over event, and you can get tickets ahead of time online.
The Southern New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo grounds host the Harvest Wine Festival in Las Cruces. Sip sparkling, red, white, and rosé varietals from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday. There will also be an arts and crafts market, live music, and food trucks. Kids are welcome at the Las Cruces event, with littles 15 and under allowed in free. If you buy a bottle or two and don’t want to carry them around, you can stash them at the bottle check and grab them on your way out.
5 Eat your beans.
Celebrating agriculture is at the heart of Wagon Mound Bean Day, a festive event that began in the early 1900s and has been a staple of the community’s Labor Day weekend ever since. The fun starts on Friday evening at 6 p.m. with a street dance and bean cleaning party at the Wagon Mound Firehouse. The community and visitors bring bowls to clean 300 pounds of pinto beans, which are served during the barbecue dinner on Monday night. Other fun activities during the weekend’s celebration include a beer garden featuring New Mexico–made craft brews, a parade, a car show, a horseshoe tournament, and a rodeo. See more details about the events and locations on the event’s Facebook page.
6 Get groovy in Ratón.
Head north and groove to tons of live music at the 7th annual Gate City Music Festival in Ratón on Saturday and Sunday. You’ll need tickets for Sunday evening’s performance of headliner Keith Anderson with special guests Colfax Reunion and Will and Crystal Yates, but there are free outdoor concerts on Historic First Street, too. The tunes start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, along with fun that includes an axe-throwing contest, two mechanical bulls, and a kids’ zone. Food vendors will serve up burgers, barbecue, and Mexican treats for good eating in a big tent with plenty of tables.
“We try to appeal to everyone,” says Brenda Ferri, executive director at Raton MainStreet. “The quality of entertainment is excellent, and it’s mostly free. I realize there are other big events this weekend, but this is accessible, intimate, and personal. Most years, the headlining entertainer comes out and meets everybody.”