Santa Fe - Activities
Santa Fe hosts a seemingly unending series of community fairs, festivals and celebrations, of which the most characteristic is the Fiesta de Santa Fe. This grand city-wide festival is held over a weekend in mid-September, after most of the summer tourists have left (and has been described as Santa Fe throwing a party for itself to celebrate the tourists leaving!). Festivities start with the Friday night burning of Zozobra, also known as "Old Man Gloom," a huge, animated figure whose demise at the hands of a torch-bearing dancer symbolizes the banishing of cares for the weekend. The crowning of a queen (Reina) of the Fiesta and her consort, representing the Spanish nobleman Don Diego de Vargas who played a key role in the founding of the city, is a matter of great local import. Revelry continues through the weekend.
A few of the other festivities during the year, arranged in (usual) chronological order through the year, are:
• Heart of Santa Fe Gallery Tour, usually in February
• Santa Fe Plaza Arts and Crafts Festival, early June
• Rodeo de Santa Fe, middle to late June
• Summer Antiquities Show, July, Sweeney Center
• Spanish Market (summer), July in the Plaza
• Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival with a series of internationally known musicians, July and August
• Santa Fe Indian Market. This annual mid-August event is possibly the second most significant Santa Fe festival after the Fiesta. The entire downtown area is filled with vendors of American Indian arts and crafts, ranging from $10 tourist trinkets on up to breathtaking works of the highest quality. It advertises itself as the world's largest show for Native American artisans, and the description is probably accurate; an artisan who wins one of the top prizes in the juried competitions here is "made" as a significant folk art figure. Web site . Lodging is tight, so if you're attending, make plans early -- Indian Market weekend in 2006 is August 19-20.
• Santa Fe Jazz and International Music Festival, October, James A. Little Theater
• Santa Fe Film Festival, early December
• Las Posadas, a pre-Christmas festival filling the downtown area with all manner of performing arts
• Winter Spanish Market, December
In addition, many of the Native American pueblo communities nearby schedule dances and other ceremonies through the year that welcome tourists (along with a few that are for tribe members only).
Santa Fe is an important center for music and musical groups, the most illustrious of which is the Santa Fe Opera. Web page . The opera house is on US 285 on the north side of town and is partially "open air," so that opera goers get attractive views of the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos as an additional backdrop to what's on stage. The Santa Fe Opera is known around the world for staging American and even world premieres of new works, the operas of Richard Strauss, and promising new artists on their way up (and, to be fair, one or two aging superstars each season who are on their way down, not up). Opera season is the summer, with opening night (tickets are almost impossible to get) usually around July 1 and the last performances in mid-August. (Bring a light jacket/wrap and an umbrella to the later performances; the open-air nature of the house can make August performances nippy and drippy, although seats are protected from the rain.) Many performances sell out well in advance, so book early. (KHFM radio, frequency 95.5 MHz, airs a "ticket exchange" that may be helpful in finding tickets to sold-out performances, if you find yourself in town on the spur of the moment during opera season.) People-watching here can be as much fun as the opera itself; you'll see folks in the most expensive formal wear sitting next to others in jeans, which is typical of Santa Fe. Dressing up at least a little from jeans is a good idea, though.
Other important musical venues in town are:
• Lensic Performing Arts Center, a converted movie theater downtown (225 W. San Francisco Street) with a pleasant atmosphere; box-office phone 988-1234.
• Sweeney Center, the main convention center; all the ambience of a warehouse, but lots of seating for when big-name groups come to town. On West Marcy Street just north of downtown.
• James A. Little Theater, on the campus of the New Mexico School for the Deaf, remarkably enough.
• St. Francis Auditorium, at the Museum of Fine Arts (see above).
• Armory for the Arts, on Old Pecos Trail; mainly theater.
• Many churches host concerts of various kinds, among them St. Francis Cathedral and the Santuario de Guadalupe downtown, and the remarkable Santa Maria de la Paz Catholic Community far out on the south side of town -- extraordinary acoustics at the latter.
Some of the musical groups using these spaces are:
• Santa Fe Desert Chorale web page
• Santa Fe Pro Musica web page
• Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus web page
• Santa Fe Women's Ensemble web page
• Serenata of Santa Fe
• Sangre de Cristo Chorale web page
• Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco/Institute for Spanish Arts web page
• MusicOne: The Santa Fe Concert Association, not a performing group but rather the body that brings in many visiting artists (web page )
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
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