The smell of roasted corn and the vivid music of a mariachi band fill the hot July air. Friends and families are talking and laughing throughout the park. It seems you have found your way to the plaza, where the annual Fourth of July Fiestas are in full swing. Sound interesting?
This year is the 120th year of the fiestas and the theme is “Vida, Musica, Familia Y Paz,” meaning “Life, music, family and peace.” The long- awaited celebration will begin with a fiesta Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows church at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 3. The festivities will continue with the crowning of the new Reina de Las Vegas, chosen at the Reina de Las Vegas Pageant at 7 p.m. on July 2 at Ilfeld Auditorium.
From July 4 to 6, there will be live music and entertainment in the park. Several bands, dance groups and Mariachi groups are scheduled to play. This is a wonderful time to come out and enjoy some music and entertainment unique to Northern New Mexico. As always, the entertainment will be in the gazebo and the adjacent stage. Bleachers are set up in the park for seating. You can learn more about specific times for entertainers by picking up a copy of the fiesta guide.
As is traditional, there will be plenty of food around. If we can depend on the past to help us predict what sorts of foods will be for sale, there should be roasted corn, burgers, navajo tacos, potato shavings, turkey legs, sweets, and possibly even a return of last year’s Father Brasher’s wheelbarrow of watermelon!
Also taking place on the Fourth is the annual Pablo Read Memorial Run, in honor of Pablo Read, a Robertson High School and Highlands University cross-country runner and a member of Highlands’ 1987 NAIA national runner-up team. The Memorial Run includes a 5k walk and run, a 10k run and a children’s one-mile run. This is a good opportunity to burn some of the calories taken in during the festivities.
And let’s not forget the parade! The parade is scheduled to begin line-up at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 5. If you can’t be there in person, the parade will be broadcast over the radio. Past parade entries have included bands, cars, all varieties of floats, politicians, horses and various teams, walkers, etc.
There will also be plenty of things for children to enjoy. They can participate in the one-mile run or fish at the Annual Fiesta Fishing Derby, taking place from 6:30 to 10 a.m. on July 4. Children are sure to enjoy the parade, as well as the live music, and there will be plenty of vendors selling food for them to snack on. If nothing else, they can attack other children with silly string, which is easily found amongst the vendors’ merchandise.
No event in Las Vegas is as highly anticipated or as enthusiastically celebrated as the Fiestas. The Las Vegas Fiesta Council has been preparing all year long for the event, and the community has been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to enjoy all the hard work they’ve done. Anticipation has grown as preparations have become more obvious (i.e. the building of the stage adjacent to the gazebo.)
But besides all of the events — or perhaps because of them — this is a great time just to get together with family and friends, perhaps even invite out-of-town guests to come stay with you. This is a time when Las Vegas truly comes together as a community and celebrates our nation’s independence.
So don’t hesitate to find your way to the plaza, have some delicious food and enjoy the unique cultural experience that is Las Fiestas de Las Vegas!