Tony Struck, co-director of the Taos Youth and Family Center, remembers visiting the Taos Fiestas with his family for the first time when he was a young boy.
He remembers playing with pop guns and invisible ink with his older brother. Sharing festival food with his neighbors and family, all generations. He remembers the steady cadence of the mariachi band and the chop of the flamenco dancer’s feet.
Little has changed in the decades since and this year, Struck’s young daughter, Amaya, joins him as a first-time participant in the Fiestas.
“I’m sitting with the Fiestas Council,” Amaya Struck said excitedly, describing where she will be in the Fiestas Children’s Parade.
Struck says that while the Fiestas are rooted in Spanish tradition, the event welcomes and incorporates all of the cultures that converge in the state.
“For me, it’s more of a family kind of deal,” Tony Struck said, “bringing the community together and really be out there for the music in the plaza, the different booths, the vendors, the food. It’s just great to be out and about with everyone.”
This year, Struck will hold the position of Children’s Parade Grand Marshal. He will lead his daughter and other young people, who will all dress in bright and colorful Spanish clothes for the multiday festival.
It’s one of many fiestas that takes place throughout New Mexico this time of year, but for people like Struck, the Taos Fiestas is special – an annual reminder of why he still calls Taos County home.
“It’s something that was passed on to me,” he said. “We’ve done it my entire life. It’s definitely marked on our calendars as something that’s fun and good for the kids to be at. It’s something the community looks forward to every year.”