JULY 1–6, 19, 20

The 28th Freedom Days Celebration in Farmington (July 1–6) includes a brass-band concert in Berg Park, a nighttime electric light parade, and one of the region’s largest car shows. A gem and mineral show attracts rock hounds from across the Southwest, and no Independence Day celebration would be complete without a magnificent fireworks display (505-326-7602; farmingtonnm.org). At the Animas River Blues and Brews Fest in Aztec (July 19), Janis Joplin– esque headliner Teresa James and her Rhythm Tramps hit the Riverside Park stage, along with Albuquerque bluesman Todd Tijerina, among others (505-330-4616; animasriverblues.com). The 32nd Land of Enchantment Rod Run in downtown Farmington (July 20) celebrates New Mexico’s vibrant classic-car and lowrider cultures. Many merchants and eateries keep their doors open late during this evening event. (505) 599- 1419; farmingtonnm.org


The 126th Las Vegas Fiestas features a parade, live music, and a crafts fair in Plaza Park (505- 454-1401; mynm.us/meadowfourth). The Freedom Fourth Celebration at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque includes a fireworks display, a car show, a beer garden, and a performance by Grammy-winning Nashville star Wynonna Judd (505-768-3556; mynm.us/abqfourth). Smoke on the Water in Clovis features patriotic music, food, and the biggest fireworks display on the Eastern Plains (575-763-3435; clovisnm.org). In Socorro, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology puts its explosives expertise to good use for the 22nd July 4th Celebration and fireworks display. (575) 835-5688; nmtpas.org

JULY 4–6

The 11th Pork and Brew BBQ State Championship held at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho draws more than 20,000 fanatics and some of the nation’s top pit masters. Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the event gives these seasoned cooks a chance to compete for prizes—and to make headway in earning a finalist spot in the American Royal World Series of Barbecue. “At this event,” says veteran barbecue competitor Kelly Wertz of Great Bend, Kansas, whose team took top honors at the 2013 Pork & Brew, “you have to be prepared for extreme changes in the weather. It keeps the pit masters and teams on their toes.” The Santa Ana Star Center introduces a new indoor-outdoor floor plan this year, so visitors will have plenty of room to stretch their wings (and drumsticks, and fists full of locally crafted beer). (888) 746-7262; rioranchonm.org

JULY 5, 12

The USA Cycling–sanctioned Gran Fondo is a 105-mile race through Taos, Mora, and Angel Fire (July 5). If the Gran Fondo and 84-mile Medio Fondo routes seem a bit ambitious, there’s also a 46-mile Micro Fondo route (719-434-4200; taossportsalliance.com/ bicycling). Mountain bikers, take note: The New Mexico Endurance Series presents the Chama Redneck Epic, a 101-mile race from Chama to Antonito, Colorado (July 12). Riders may instead choose to ride in shorter races. nmes.wordpress.com/rides/chama-redneck-epic

JULY 14, 26

Located about 20 miles southwest of Santa Fe among the cone-topped white cliffs of the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, Cochiti Pueblo remains a vibrant center of daily life and Pueblo cultural traditions. In celebration of its patron saint, San Buenaventura, the Pueblo hosts a feast day on July 14. Besides viewing a traditional corn dance, visitors can sample Native foods and shop at arts-and-crafts vendors, many of whom create storytellerfigurine pottery in a style influenced by famed Cochiti potter Helen Cordero (505-465-2244; pueblodecochiti.org). On July 26, Santa Ana Pueblo, located eight miles northwest of Bernalillo, hosts a feast day and corn dance honoring its patron saint, Saint Anne. Native artists will sell pottery and fiber arts alongside vendors and cooks offering products that utilize the Pueblo’s legendary blue corn. (505) 771-6700; santaana.org


Silver City is nestled near the cottonwoodgilded Mimbres Valley, an area in southern New Mexico once occupied by the Mimbres people. The valley’s rich deposits of clay inspired its ancient inhabitants to create some of the most striking functional and decorative pottery in the Southwest. Since 2012, ceramist Lee Gruber has overseen the Silver City Clay Festival, aka CLAY. “The Mimbres culture left behind a marvelous record of earthenware artifacts that speak to the importance of something as simple as mud, or clay, to the creative and cultural enrichment of a people,” Gruber says. The program includes free kids’ pottery classes, archaeological tours, a mini film festival, and the juried international exhibitions Neo-Mimbreño and A Tile & A Vessel. Festivalgoers and serious ceramists can sign up for an array of two- and three-day workshops, including “Mata Ortiz Pottery,” led by artists Diego Valles and Carla Martínez. Free lectures such as “1000 Years of Upland Mogollon Pottery” give further insight into the valley’s enduring love affair with clay. (575) 538-5560; clayfestival.com