With an area rich in culture, food and traditions, it is not surprising that Las Cruces events, fiestas and festivals are such an important part of the area. Some provide remarkable offerings, like the World’s Largest Enchilada, while others provide historic celebrations. Whatever they have to offer, you can be sure to find a favorite fiesta. To help, the following are a few of the biggest and best fiestas and festivals in Southern New Mexico throughout the year.
Hatch Chile Festival
Hatch Chile Festival – Chile, chile everywhere. Welcome to a festival that highlights an absolute favorite food for so many of us. Known as the “Chile Capital of the World,” Hatch cultivates 30,000 acres of chile each harvest, and celebrates each Labor Day Weekend with the Hatch Chile Festival, this year titled “Chile Capital of the Universe.” The festival is clearly popular, bringing in more than 30,000 chile-lovers rain or shine. If the dedication of festival coordinators and participants is not enough to get people there, being featured on television’s Food Network channel, the BBC and CBS Sundy Morning definitely is. The festival made it big-time, nearly doubling its attendance with its new national recognition. Head on over this Labor Day Weekend for chile roasting, chile contests, chile parades and of course, chile eating.
When: Labor Day Weekend
Where: Hatch Municipal Airport
Cost: $10.00 for a Car Load
Info: 575.267.5483 or www.hatchchilefest.com
Diez Y Seis De Septiembre Fiesta In Las Cruces
Diez Y Seis FiestaDiez y Seis de Septiembre, or the 16th of September, in 1810 was a brand new day for Mexico, marking the launch of Mexico’s struggle for independence from Spain. Miguel Hidalgo de Costilla led the first large revolutionary force against the Spaniards, leading men, women and children around Mexico to celebrate the holiday, which is similar to July 4 in the U.S. Knowing how to do it right, Old Mesilla brings out the festivities each year to celebrate Mexican Independence Day at the Mesilla Plaza. With folklorico dances, mariachi music and authentic Mexican cuisine, the festival brings in tourists from around the world.
When: Weekend closest to September 16
Where: Mesilla Plaza
Info: 575.524.3262 or www.oldmesilla.org
Las Cruces Harvest Wine Festival
Harvest Wine Festival – Want a little wine with your festival? Try the annual New Mexico Wine Harvest Festival. The festival offers all the things we love about celebrating in the Southwest – arts and crafts, children’s activities, fry bread (and other foods we only eat at festivals) and live entertainment. Chile is in abundance, recipes are requested and it’s okay to sit back and relax. This festival adds something else – wine tasting from area wineries, including places like Luna Rossa, Arena Blanca and La Viña Wineries. Don’t feel like sitting on the side? Join in on daily grape stomping.
When: Labor Day Weekend
Where: Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds
Cost: $15 for 21 years and older – under 21 (with guardian) FREE
Info: 575.522.1232 or www.wineharvestfestival.com
The Whole Enchilada Fiesta
The Whole Enchilada Fiesta – Since 1980, Las Cruces has been home to a very big enchilada, in fact, it’s so big that it received recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records. For recognition that big, it makes complete sense to have a three-day fiesta celebration! The fiesta is centered on the making of the enchilada, which measures over 30 feet in diameter and is filled 75 gallons of red chile sauce, 175 pounds of grated cheese and 50 pounds of chopped onions. Without a doubt, the super-sized enchilada is popular, but it’s not all that draws more than 100,000 visitors each year. The fiesta includes arts and crafts, a parade, entertainment, beer tent and cultural from around the state. Some call the Whole Enchilada Fiesta the biggest block party in the state.
When: Last week of September
Where: Meercheidt Recreation Center
Cost: $4 for 7 years and older – $5 for Beer Garden admission
Info: 575.526.1938 or www.enchiladafiesta.com
Mesilla Valley Balloon Rally
Third Weekend of January
New Mexico is the hot air ballooning capital of the world and many balloon pilots consider Las Cruces New Mexico one of the most desirable places to fly.
Southern New Mexico State Fair
First Weekend in October
Held at the Southern New Mexico State Fair Grounds, 12 miles west of Las Cruces, this major regional fair offers livestock and agriculture exhibits, baking contests, a rodeo, entertainment and dancing, great southwestern food, a carnival, games and rides.
International Mariachi Conference
Second Weekend in November
The Annual Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference celebrates 150 years of cultural traditions. Scheduled for 4 days, at the Pan American Center the conference focuses on educational workshops in Mariachi Music and Folkloric Dance. Saturday Spectacular Concert featuring top name performers.
Cinco de Mayo
First Weekend in May
The fiesta marks the victory of the Mexican army over the French in 1862. Today Cinco de Mayo is a day of celebration and takes place on the Old Mesilla Plaza over two days. The fiesta features dancers, Mariachis, crafts, games, food vendors and other entertainment.
Third Weekend in October
This NM Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum annual event celebrates the American Cowboy and his counterpart the Mexican Vaquero with music performances, exhibits, roping and livestock demonstrations, blacksmithing, and chuckwagon cooking.
The Renaissance Craft Faire
First Weekend in November
Each year the Queen and her court call forth throughout the realm for all to come to Young Park to celebrate, play and feast. This is the finest and largest Renaissance Faire in the Southwest. The event features over 100 quality crafts booths, main stage entertainment and minstrels in the park, games, contests, and a large selection of food vendors.
Southern NM Wine Festival
Memorial Day Weekend
A crowd of over 12,000 makes this event an annual start to summer. Taste wines from around the state and learn about wine and how to pair it with food. Live music keeps everyone’s toes tapping as they enjoy the wine, shop for unique arts and crafts and a variety of agricultural products, or just enjoy the fun in the sun.
Border Book Festival
Last Weekend in April
Featuring many activities for audiences of all ages including: Libros Y Más / Books And More, a Trade Show featuring national, regional and local presses, writers, and vendors, a series of readings, workshops and panels, a school outreach program, as well as family storytelling events throughout the festival weekend.
Dia de los Muertos
Celebrate the ritual Mexican Day of the Dead holiday with lots of music and food. Join the candlelight procession as the dead are honored and remembered. Homemade altars are on display and a giant piñata is broken open.
More Las Cruces Events Held Throughout The Year