Each October, around 900,000 people head to New Mexico to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Visitors from around the world converge on the city for nine days of activities, and this year will mark 48th installment of this iconic event.
The state also plays host to a number of other popular annual festivals, including the following six that are held in Albuquerque, Gallup and Las Cruces:
Monuments to Main Street
This month-long celebration is full of special events and activities that showcase the region’s vibrant culture. Attendees can enjoy nature and history tours highlighting Las Cruces heritage, concerts and film festivals, the local culinary and agricultural scenes, and the great southern New Mexico outdoors.
The Las Cruces Country Music Festival
(Oct. 11–13, 2019)
Celebrating its seventh year this October, this country music showcase has established itself as one of Las Cruces and New Mexico’s premier events. This year’s line-up includes Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy, Gretchen Wilson, Ronnie Milsap and many others, who will perform over three days.
Red Rock Balloon Festival
(Dec. 6–8, 2019)
While smaller than the Alburquerque version, Gallup’s Red Rock Balloon Festival provides a perfect way for people to usher in the holiday season. More than 150 balloons float through and above the area’s red rock canyons. In addition to the balloon flights, there are parades and live entertainment.
The Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest
(March 21–22, 2020)
As the largest chocolate and coffee consumer festival in the country, this Albuquerque event brings together 140 purveyors of chocolates, coffees, gourmet foods, wines and beer. Beyond sampling and shopping, attendees can enjoy cooking demonstrations, baking contests, coffee seminars and more.
Festival Flamenco Alburquerque*
For eight days, the city is abuzz with the pulse of flamenco—on display as part of performances, workshops, classes and seminars. Next year will mark the 33rd installment of the event, which is organized by the National Institute of Flamenco and the University of New Mexico.
*The spelling of Alburquerque includes the additional R to recognize the original spelling of the city’s name.
Gallup Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial
(Aug. 1–9, 2020)
The festival, which is the oldest commemoration of Native American culture in the U.S., will celebrate 100 years in 2021. Attendees can see a powwow, two parades, a juried Native American art show, a rodeo, a queen pageant and nightly performances by Native American dance groups.
To learn more, contact Maureen Chavez of Visit Albuquerque or go to visitabq.org; Jennifer Lazarz of the City of Gallup or go to galluprealtrue.com; and Rochelle Miller-Hernandez of Visit Las Cruces or go to visitlascruces.com.
Top photo by newmexico.org