Fiesta a Valley tradition

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By Don Pace

The Fiesta de Santiago in Villanueva seems more like a family gathering as residents open their doors to welcome old friends and visitors to the annual celebration honoring St. James.

Saturday’s fiestas began with a morning horse ride from El Pueblo to Villanueva, winding through the scenic valley with a statue of St. James leading the way. Mariachis follow the men and women on horseback as they make their way to Our Lady of Guadalupe church for a mass that opens the festivities.

The fiesta offers a relaxed atmosphere as well as a variety of traditional northern New Mexico foods, including chicarrn burritos, homemade breads and pies, sopaipillas, chile and roasted corn.

The Villanueva Fiesta is Our Lady of Guadalupe’s major fundraising event for the year and a chance for families to gather and enjoy games and entertainment. Volunteers run the fiestas and the church holds a raffle, with prizes that have been donated by local businesses and community members.