MAY 3–4

In Mesilla, Cinco de Mayo is way more than an excuse for margarita happy-hour specials. May 5 marks the 152nd anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, when Mexican forces defeated the French outside the town of Puebla, Mexico, during the second Franco-Mexican War. In Mesilla, part of the Las Cruces metro area, townspeople and visitors have been celebrating the victory annually for decades with an array of family-friendly events and performances held during the annual Mesilla Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. “As is tradition with Cinco de Mayo celebrations, entertainment will include mariachis, ballet folklórico dancers, and Mexican foods and beverages,” says special-events coordinator Irene Parra. There will also be a greased-pole climb and piñatas for the kids. Old Mesilla Plaza. (575) 524-3262;


Born in the small, north-central town of Dixon in 1936, Al Hurricane released his first album, Mi Saxophone, in 1967. He came to be known as El Godfather, La Leyenda de Nuevo Mexico (“The Legend of New Mexico”) and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Mexico Hispanic Awards Association. Keeping local musical traditions alive is a family affair for Al, who frequently performs with his son, Al Hurricane, Jr. The Mescalero Apache tribe’s Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, just outside Ruidoso, hosts this dynamic duo. (800) 545-9011;

MAY 4, 17, 24

Calling all hard-cores. The 14th annual Alien Run Mountain Bike Competition (May 4) in Aztec’s Hart Canyon offers expert and sport riders 26 miles of top-tier, single-track terrain with tons of rocky sections, while beginner riders can hit the shortened 10-mile course through and around this alleged 1948 UFO crash site (505-333-2057; The 12-hour Dawn ’til Dusk Mountain Bike Race (May 17) in Gallup’s High Desert Trail System offers 13 miles of fast and rolling single-track trails for experienced and expert riders (505-722-2228; thegallupchamber .com). Winding through parts of the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Pajarito Mountain ski area, the Jémez Mountain Trail Runs (May 24)—half-marathon, 50K, and 50-mile courses on trails with challenging elevation changes—offer up stellar views along the way.;

MAY 9–10, 23–25, 29–JUNE 1

This month, the northwest portion of the state is festival heaven. Bloomfield Days (May 9–10) features entertainment, regional and festival foods, arts-and-crafts vendors, and games as well as the popular rubber-duck race (known to involve more than 2,000 toy-duck contestants) at Vereda del Rio San Juan Park (505-632-0880;
Waterways around Farmington are celebrated during Riverfest (May 23–25). Sign up for a 10K and 5K run/walk, wander a riverside trail, and ride a raft. Wiener-dog races, music, arts and crafts, and a car show round out the fest (505-599-1184; During Aztec Fiesta Days (May 29–June 1) in the small town of Aztec, locals and visitors enjoy a carnival, parade, car show, and a downsized burning of Old Man Gloom. (505) 334-7646;

MAY 16–18

“Santa Fe has the best of both worlds: a strong bicycle culture and plenty of great locally crafted beers,” says Chris Goblet, executive director of the New Mexico Brewers Guild. “Combining them just seems like a natural win-win.” Hence the birth of the Outside Bike & Brew Festival, three days of races and rides, concerts, riding clinics for kids and adults, and plenty of New Mexico–made microbrews. The festival in capital city is anchored by the Santa Fe Century, a 103-mile competitive road race that starts and finishes in Santa Fe, looping south through Madrid, Galisteo, and Eldorado. Fun rides include the “Tour de Brewer,” which takes riders from the Railyard downtown to the Santa Fe Brewing Company, making sudsy pit stops along the way, and the tongue-in-cheek “Bike Instead of Work Day,” which encourages riders to “call in healthy” and hit the trail early. Festivalgoers can take in one of more than 10 beer-tasting dinners at Santa Fe restaurants; catch a performance by Mississippi Hill Country blues phenom Cedric Burnside (to celebrate the grand opening of
the new Marble Taproom); and hear local bands at participating brewpubs and restaurants.
(For context, see March’s “Brew Mexico” feature, (505) 660-2951;

MAY 17

In 1908, in what is now known as the Folsom Man Archaeological Site near Ratón, an educated ex-slave and cowboy named George McJunkin discovered some pretty significant fossils. This eventually led archaeologists and scientists to realize that Native Americans made it to the North American continent 12,000 years earlier than previously thought. May 17, this national historic landmark is opened to the public for guided tours. “A state archaeologist familiar with the site and its contributions to science will be on hand to answer questions, and give people a little history about the area’s importance,” says tour volunteer Vinita Brown. Reservations are required via email or phone. (575) 278-2122;;

MAY 17–18, 23–25

The seventh CrawDaddy Blues Fest in Madrid (May 17–18) promises music on three separate stages around the Mine Shaft Tavern. “It’s a great mix of local and nationally touring acts,” says tavern owner Lori Lindsey, “and it isn’t really limited to blues.” Some revelers go to hear festival favorite Junior Brown, a honky-tonk-rock guitar powerhouse who plays a hybrid electric guitar/lap steel; others converge on this funky former mining town for the fresh Gulf Coast crawfish. “Lots of people just come for the food—gumbo, catfish, smoked brisket, ribs, shrimp, and étouffée are also on the menu,” says Lindsey. (505-473-0743; The Silver City Blues Festival (May 23–25) is one of the state’s premiere (mostly) free annual festivals. This year’s lineup in historic downtown Silver City includes Grammy-winning headliner Alvin Youngblood Hart (often referred to as “the cosmic American love child of Howlin’ Wolf and Link Wray”); Guitar Slim; Austin-based funk-soul ensemble Mingo Fishtrap; and blues-jazz-gospel chanteuse Hazel Miller. (575) 538-2505;

MAY 24–26

Festivals celebrating the state’s more than 40 wineries and long love affair with Vitis vinifera and its luscious by-product are a year-round occasion. Now in its 15th year, the Albuquerque Wine Festival at Balloon Fiesta Park presents wines from around 25 New Mexico wineries. “It’s really a chance to highlight wines from the state, some of which can’t be found through regular retail channels,” says Dawn Starostka, who helps organize festivals for the New Mexico Wine Growers Association. “The event draws around 11,500 people, and it gives wine lovers a chance to interact with the winemakers.” Food vendors, including farmers, will provide sustenance, and three days of free live music includes performances by Rio Rancho-based classic rockers Vinyl Tap (575-522-1232; Also on Memorial Day weekend, the Southern New Mexico Wine Festival in Las Cruces offers up selections from 20 NM wineries, plus food booths and live music by country band Border Avenue, among others. You can also attend a pairing event or a short tasting class at the festival’s on-site educational tent, aka the University of Wine. Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. (575) 522-1232;