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Free Sipapu Music on the Rocks Concert: August 4

Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort hosts the free Music on the Rocks festival on Saturday August 4, 2012, from 1 – 9 pm, featuring popular New Mexico and Colorado bands. Admission is free to the family-friendly concerts in the mountains, and although times and acts may change, the concert schedule at time of writing is:

  • Jenne McIntosh 1 pm – singer, guitarist and pianist performing original and cover songs
  • Cali Shaw Band 2:15 pm – Albuquerque-based Cali Shaw co-founded the southwest funk contingent Felonious Groove Foundation
  • Monkey Feeders 3:30 pm – voted Best Band in Taos in 2012
  • Main Street Garage Band 5:15 pm – a Boulder pop band
  • Last to Know 7 pm – The Taos band is the final headline act of the day, performing until 9 pm

Sipapu is 20 miles southeast of Taos, about 90 minutes north of Santa Fe, and a 2.5 hour drive from Albuquerque. Get directions to Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort.


DH Lawrence Ranch Free Tour: June 16

The D.H. Lawrence Ranch north of Taos will be open to the public for a free tour on June 16, giving Lawrence fans a rare opportunity to get a guided mosey around this historic property.

The free tour of the D.H.Lawrence Ranch takes place on Saturday June 16, 2012, between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm, led by Bill Haller, president of the Friends of D. H. Lawrence. The ranch is truly a beautiful place, I’ve often visited and taken writing workshop students there in the past. 

The location and views are lovely, and you can see Lady Dorothy Brett’s cabin complete with typewriter, the ponderosa pine famously depicted by Georgia O’Keeffe in her painting The Lawrence Tree, and walk the zig-zag path up to the Lawrence memorial, where Lawrence’s ashes are mixed into the altar. Take your camera – it’s a very photogenic and unique memorial!

The D.H. Lawrence Ranch is 17 miles north of Taos off Highway 522 near San Cristobal. Find a map to the Lawrence Ranch at the Friends of D. H. Lawrence website.

Free talks at Taos Public Library before and after the tour tie in with this event. Dr. Katherine Toy Miller will present  ‘Native American Connections: The Early Moderns, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Taos Pueblo, and the D. H. Lawrence Ranch’ on June 16 at 10 am and repeated at 2 pm at the Taos Library, 402 Camino de la Placita, Taos.


New Mexico Centennial 2012 Summerfest in Albuquerque: June 16

New Mexico Centennial Summerfest takes place on Saturday June 16, 2012 in Albuquerque, as a celebration of New Mexico’s Statehood Centennial.

The free New Mexico Summerfest Centennial promises a great line-up of entertainment, culminating in free evening concerts at the Albuquerque Downtown Harry E. Kinney Civic Plaza:

  • Country singer Will Banister from Clovis NM at 5:30 pm
  • Taos Pueblo Grammy award-winning musician Robert Mirabal at 6:30 pm
  • Grammy award-winning band Los Lobos at 8 pm

The day’s events starts at 12 noon, offering live entertainment at various Summerfest locations along Central Avenue, with pavilions and stages dedicated to performers reflecting New Mexico’s cultural mix: a Hispanic Heritage pavilion, a Native American stage with Gathering of Nations Inter Tribal Dancers, a New Mexico Office of African American Affairs stage, a World Pavilion, and a Rock and Rockabilly stage in honor of the classic era of Central Avenue as part of New Mexico’s historic Route 66.

Other event highlights include an arts and crafts show by New Mexico artists, a vintage car show, a Youthfest with activities for youngsters, plus storytellers, a cowboy poet, chautauquas on New Mexico history, gunfighters, drumming, dancing, and of course plenty of food vendors offering a feast of New Mexican foods!

A Science and Technology Center will feature exhibitors Spaceport America,  Explora, White Sands National Monument, Sandia National Labs,the National Museum of Nuclear History & Science, the Fractal Foundation, and other New Mexico science organizations.

All entertainment is free, and the full schedule for New Mexico Centennial Summerfest gives performance and event details and a map of the various locations.

Summerfest starts at 12 noon on June 16, and the ABQ Trolley Co will provide free trolley rides in a shuttle along Central Avenue from noon to 6 pm. 

This will be a very busy event, so if you’re visiting Albuquerque from out of town, it’s worth checking the options for New Mexico Summerfest public transportation, parking, and park and ride services.

And you might also want to check out our sister site Albuquerque on the Cheap, for local dining and attraction deals once you’re in the Duke City!


Taos Ski Valley Free Torchlight Parade

They’re commemorating the birthday of Taos Ski Valley’s founder Ernie Blake with a free Taos Ski Valley Torchlight Parade and fireworks on Saturday March 24, 2012.  The action starts at 8 pm, but arrive early because traffic can be slow winding up the ski valley road, and you’ll need time to scope out your spot to watch!

This is a great free show with torchlight parade skiers descending down the mountain, followed by a fireworks display.  Kids love it! My own favorite place to watch is from the deck at the St Bernard Hotel, and I can attest to the comforting glow of their spiked hot chocolate. But you’ll get excellent views from Rhoda’s Deck or just about anywhere in the ski valley… unless you deliberately hide yourself behind a tree.


Ohkay Sweethearts Dance

The Ohkay Hotel and Casino is holding the Ohkay Sweethearts’ Dance at their conference center to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The dance is on February 11, 2012, from 8 pm to midnight, and tickets are $10 each, or $15 for a couple. Music is by the New Mexico band Cuarenta y Cinco.

Dinner packages start at $30 for two with buffet and tickets to the Sweethearts’ Dance, and hotel packages are also available starting from $99 for the overnight stay, two tickets to the dance, and the buffet for two.

Ohkay Hotel and Casino is located in Espanola, between Santa Fe and Taos.


Mariachi Real de Chihuahua: Free in Las Cruces Jan 24

Mariachi Real de Chihuahua performs in the next in the series of free concerts at the Rio Grande Theatre, Las Cruces.

The one-hour Mariachi Real de Chihuahua concert is on Tuesday January 24, 2012, at 6:30 pm. Admission is free and the doors open at 6 pm.

This is part of the Every Other Tuesday free concert series featuring different artists and performers each time. Entertainment includes a wide range of music, drama, and musical theatre – every other Tuesday!

Rio Grande Theatre is located at 211 N Downtown Mall, Las Cruces.


Sante Fe Harvest Festival Restaurant Discount Pass & Events

Santa Fe Harvest Festival runs now through November 23, 2011, and if you like food and cooking and you plan to spend time in the City Different over the next few weeks, you could score some savings and join in the events.

Santa Fe Harvest Festival is basically a Santa Fe restaurant promotion with a bunch of events and classes too. To take part you have to purchase a Santa Fe Harvest Festival pass at $35. That gives the pass holder discounts at about 40 Santa Fe restaurants, including 25% off entrees at The Pink Adobe, the Rio Chama restaurant, La Casa Sena, and the Red Sage Restaurant (in the Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort & Spa at Buffalo Thunder), and 20% off food at Blue Corn Cafe, Galisteo Bistro, Ristra, and Plaza Cafe Southside.  Most discounts are ONLY for the pass holder, some are for two diners. See all the pass discounts at Santa Fe restaurants

The pass also provides free admission to *most* of the Santa Fe Harvest Festival culinary events and the cooking classes with chefs at their restaurants. Some cooking classes are specially for kids and families, which is kinda cool, although the events and classes admission are only for the pass holder, so you’d need one for each person attending. Pass holders also get 25% off Santa Fe School of Cooking events to November 23, plus they get discounts on Santa Fe hotels .

Now, I reckon you’d have to eat out a lot by November 23 to recoup the $35 and make some savings, or attend several of the events to make it worth your while.  But for foodies and cooks in the Santa Fe area, or if you’re visiting Santa Fe or live near enough to take advantage of the benefits, it’s a pretty good deal.

You can also buy a premium pass at $160, which gives you everything the $35 pass does, plus admission to a Grand Gourmet Food and Wine Expo, and the Best of the Fest Gala Dinner.

The Santa Fe Harvest Festival pass is available for purchase online at the link.


Try Hockey for Free Day: Taos & El Paso

Try Hockey for Free Day is a wonderful idea from USA Hockey, with the aim of introducing kids aged 4 – 9 years to youth hockey, through a bunch of free events on Saturday, November 5, 2011.  Unfortunately, the only Try Hockey for Free Day event in New Mexico at time of writing is in Taos, although readers south of Las Cruces might also be interested in the El Paso Try Hockey for Free event. You need to register in advance at these links for:

Maybe more locations will come on board by the weekend – check at the Hockey for Free Day website and plug in your zip code on the map.


Las Cruces Free Mariachis y Más Fiesta

The 18th Annual Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference breaks out the band from November 9 – 13, 2011, with musicians coming from throughout the US and Mexico. Although the mariachi Spectacular Concert and the Student Showcase Concert require tickets, the free Mariachis y Más Fiesta on Sunday November 13 is open to all, from 12 noon to 5 pm, at the historic Old Mesilla Plaza. The Fiesta includes music, dance, arts, New Mexican food vendors, activities for kids, and a swinging good time, by the sound of it.

Before the Fiesta, the Mariachi Mass on November 13 at 9:30 am is a non-denominational celebration with sacred music and dance, and it’s also open to all at NMSU’s Pan American Center. Bishop Ricardo Ramirez presides.

This Sunday November 6, there’s another chance to hear mariachi at the grande finale of Mesilla Mariachi Sundays, from 2 – 5 pm at the Old Mesilla Plaza. The free event includes performances by Ballet Danza Teatro de la Frontera, and mariachi groups including Mariachi Real de Chihuahua. They’ll also finish with a jam session for anyone who wants to join in.

If you’re visiting Las Cruces, here’s a map to Old Mesilla Plaza.


Sugarite Canyon Halloween Trail: Free Family Event

The Sugarite Canyon Halloween Trail event takes place on the evening of Saturday October 22, 2011, at Sugarite Canyon State Park, Raton.

The free trail walk is for families with kids aged 4 to 10 years old, and it runs from 6 – 8 pm. the adventure unfolds through encounters with characters such as Black Bear and Mountain Lion. Kids receive refreshments, small activities to take home, and the educational event aims to help them learn how to stay safe around wildlife. In previous years the trail has been lined with pumpkins, although there’s no guarantee it’ll be the same this year.

While the event is free, advance registration is necessary on (575)445-5607. They also encourage a donation of $5 per family to Friends of Sugarite.

Sugarite Canyon is a New Mexico State Park.