It's official: We're in the holiday season: A blanket of snow dots the foothills around us, trees are being decorated, gifts are being tucked beneath them, biscochitos are being baked, …
It's official: We're in the holiday season: A blanket of snow dots the foothills around us, trees are being decorated, gifts are being tucked beneath them, biscochitos are being baked, lights are being strung and farolitos are being lit all around the town.
It is also the season for some of Taos' most-loved special events. For starters, put the Millicent Rogers Museum's annual Holiday Fiesta, now in its 21st year, on your to-do list if it's not already there.
The Holiday Fiesta will take place Saturday (Dec. 1) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and as always will offer a wide array of family-friendly entertainment and activities. Music, dance, face painting and holiday arts and crafts are among the many choices included in the day's agenda.
The museum is located at 1504 Millicent Rogers Road in El Prado. Admission for all is free.
The entertainment begins promptly at 11 a.m., when renowned Taos guitarist Billy Archuleta will serenade the crowd with his mariachi music. At noon, the Taos Suzuki Violin School will take the stage to impress you with an orchestration that belies their young ages.
Los Niños Bailadores are sure to be an infectiously energetic addition to the day's fun and will perform beginning at 1 p.m. The local youth group is known as much for its authentic and colorful costumes as for its preservation of traditional Hispanic dances. And, rounding out the day's performances, Taos Youth Ballet is scheduled for 2 p.m. when they'll show you why the school has attracted seriously minded students of dance since 2005.
Dr. Caroline Jean Fernald, executive director of the museum, noted that activities are interspersed throughout the galleries. "It's maze-like, so discover the museum while you uncover holiday surprises," she said. "We encourage visitors to take in the current exhibits on their way from room to room. We exist to preserve the multicultural heritage of Northern New Mexico, and the fiesta is a great way to learn and have fun at the same time."
Upon entering the museum, you'll find the Wish Tree, where children of all ages can make an ornament to hang upon it and hope their wishes comes true. "We're also promoting 'school pride' and asking students to place a star sticker in the name of their school," Fernald said.
Bill Ebie, the former executive director of Millicent Rogers, will be on hand for face painting. "Something he's really good at," laughed Fernald. Hillary Stewart and her daughter will help you make a flower fairy.
Moving through the museum, you'll find a retablo painting station. "A big thank you to Olguin Sawmill and Ace Hardware, who provided us with precut, sanded and gessoed boards. They're all ready for you to create your own masterpiece," she said. And Chabad of Taos, the Center for Jewish Living, is planning craft activities to celebrate the beginning of Chanukah.
Of course, no holiday fiesta would be complete without a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Come early to get your photograph taken with everyone's favorite couple. "Santa and Mrs. Claus will be with us during the entire fiesta. You'll get an instant photo, but Santa's always fine with you snapping your own pictures or making a video," Fernald said.
Every gallery in the museum will be open, so even if there isn't a child in your life for you to bring, you are encouraged to stop by and join in on the fun. "Complimentary admission for everyone is a gift from the museum," she continued.
The permanent collection and special exhibits that are available for viewing include "On a National Scale: Mary B. Rogers and the New American Indian Art," "Water That Sustains," "A Feast for the Eyes: Río Grande Blankets from the Collection," "Horse Cultures of the Southwest," and "To Honor Millicent."
The museum's gift shop will also be open and offers unique Southwestern gift ideas, such as Pueblo Indian nativity sets, handmade ornaments, Christmas earrings, holiday cards and 2019 calendars. The store also carries a wide selection of vintage and contemporary Southwest jewelry, Pueblo pottery, Navajo textiles and an assortment of items similar to works on view in the museum's galleries.
Above all, revel in a day dedicated to both the best of the season and the best of our community.
"The fiesta is an enormous undertaking, organized by our museum coordinator, Katie Ritter, and dependent upon the support of our staff, volunteers and sponsors," Fernald said. "Its success is also credited to everyone who has been attending this event for two decades and helping it to grow. In recent years we've had as many as 600 visitors for this. It's gratifying to experience such mutual support."
The Millicent Rogers Museum is generally open 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays from November to March, and is open every day from April to October. Visit millicentrogers.org or call (575) 758-2462 for more information about Holiday Fiesta, the museum, or other events, holiday closures and exhibits.
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