Friday, September 18, 2009

It's State Fair Time!

Expo New Mexico started on September 11th and runs until September 27th. Thomas and I usually try and make it to the Fair at least once. Today we had to pick up a friend at the airport so we decided to do a little letterboxing and then go to the Fair.

We arrived at the Fair Grounds early afternoon and it was a good time - it wasn't very crowded yet and that made it easy to move around. When we first entered we passed by an area with stadium seats and notice a crowd in the stands and someone talking. So we stopped and watched the Marcan Tiger Preserve, Tigers of India. It was a neat show and I especially loved the white tigers. After the show we wandered for a little while and then stopped to see Dock Dogs Big Air. This show incorporates the locals. It is a competition between dogs to see which can run down the dock and dive to catch an object - the goal is to see who can jump the furthest. It was okay but we got bored soon so we started walking around again. We next stopped in to see the Fine Arts Exhibit. Now I am not an educated art critic but I was seriously doubting the judges abilities. Some of the winners were awful and some of the nicer pieces (at least the ones I thought were good) didn't win anything. It was still and enjoyable exhibit. After the Fine Arts exhibit we went to the Creative Arts exhibit - I liked this much better. More arts and crafts type stuff here and some very talented people entered their creations. I really enjoyed seeing everything here and left with quite a bit of inspiration.

Next we did a little shopping at the Manuel Lujan Building - they were selling anything and everything here - it was a little overwhelming. So we left and went to the barn to see some baby animals - this was more enjoyable and relaxing than the shopping area. We spent the next half hour or so just walking around and watching people. We saw a live bronze statue, a puppet parade with kids and their parents and a food booth where everything was fried (moon pies, oreos, twinkies, m&m's, cookie dough, snickers and cheese cake). Then we wandered over to the rides area. We didn't ride anything but we walked around and enjoyed the sounds, sights and smells. I took lots of pictures of the midway and we enjoyed watching people on the rides (I wasn't getting on any of them).

Well, we had a great time at the Fair but we were all tired and hungry. As we were walking to the exit we passed this gentleman sitting on a curb, he apparently was more tired than we were because he seemed to be napping while sitting. Anyway, we left and went to find a place to eat and made our way back to Santa Fe. I really enjoyed the Fair this year and I might make another trip this coming week.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Burn Him! Burn Him! Burn Him!

Today begins Fiestas de Santa Fe, a celebration of the "peaceful retaking" of the city by Spanish colonist that goes through the weekend. There is food, music, arts & crafts, processions, religious ceremonies and the burning of Zozobra. Tonight Thomas and I went to a little party at Diane and John's house. They live about two blocks from Fort Marcy Park where Zozobra meets his doom. Zozobra (aka Old Man Gloom) is a marionette that stands between 40' and 50' tall. He is made of wood and muslin and is stuffed with shredded paper. That paper contains the worries and troubles from the previous year. Some people even put in divorce papers and other legal documents to burn. We started the night with appetizers and drinks and conversation. Then we had a great dinner that Diane and John cooked and more conversation. While we had dessert we watched what was happening with Zozobra on TV and when it got closer to the time for him to burn we made our way to the field. The crowd seemed more subdued than in past years that I have attended the event. But there was still a kind of energy in the air and when the lights went out and the ceremony started the crowd livened up a bit. There is a fire dancer and gloomies. The fire dancer drives the gloomies away from the base of Zozobra so that he can burn and take the gloom from the previous year with him. Then the crowd starts chanting "Burn Him!" and eventually he starts to burn - it only takes a couple of minutes for him to burn completely - but that is enough to give the crowd a fresh start for another year. Then there is a pretty good fireworks show - we watched the fireworks as we walked back to the house. We then sat and talked for a little while so we could let the traffic lighten up a bit before we headed home. We had a great time and I really enjoyed seeing Zozobra again. Click on the picture to see a slide show of the event.

Addendum: The Santa Fe New Mexican ran an article on September 11 about the burning and they called it Zozo's Last Stand.

Monday, September 7, 2009

V¡Va! santa fe - Happy 400th Birthday

In 2010 Santa Fe turns 400. The city has decided to have a year long celebration. That celebration started this past weekend. The city launched V¡Va santa fe (Santa Fe 400th Anniversary - Opening Weekend).

There was an Arts and Crafts Festival on the Plaza. This lasted through today. There were artisans there selling hand made products and it was much more affordable that Spanish or Indian Market. I spent almost two hours walking around looking at all the artwork. There were some really interesting things. But after two hours I needed something different to look at. So I left the Plaza and headed up to Fort Marcy Park. I stopped at the New Mexico Tourism area and picked up a Tour NM Card (aka The Enchantment Card). This card gives you discounts at places all over the state and it was free to sign up. They also had a converted RV there with an exhibit about The History of Travel in New Mexico. It was pretty interesting. From there I stopped by the Legacy Arts Stage and watched Bailé Folklórico. They did a great job and it was so colorful. When they finished I made my way to the Legacy Artisans at Work. This was pretty much a hands on exhibit where you could learn different things from the artisans. Here is a quote from a handout I had . . .
"Guests will explore the artistic and architectural legacies of Santa Fe through the eyes of artisans, musicians, dancers, architects and homebuilders and hands-on demos."
It was really nice. They had people teaching salsa dance, how to make adobe bricks, wood carving and lots more. I didn't get a chance to stop at every booth - there was just too much to do. Next I went to the Tapestry of Taste booth. Unfortunately they weren't open yet so I didn't get to taste any food. After that I just wandered around and enjoyed the celebration. I think it was a good start for the city in celebrating 400 years. I am looking forward to all the other activities they are planning for this year. This weekend was also the start of Santa Fe Fiesta - well not acutally the start but the Court was present. As I was heading back to my car I passed by the Cathedral and watched the Fiesta Court procession to the Plaza - very festive! There is another activity this coming Thursday and that is the burning of Zozobra. It has been a while since I attended this event and I am really looking forward to it.