The Must-See October Events in Santa Fe

October Is In The Air

Shhh! Here’s a little secret: one of the best times to visit Santa Fe is in October. Yes, it’s cooler than summer and a little less busy, but being in the City Different in the fall will let you take part in some of the city’s most vibrant festivals. Trust me; you’ll know what I am talking about. So here are the must-see events and activities in Santa Fe New Mexico during the month of October!

October arrives in full golden glory as aspen trees display their glowing fall colors, usually through the middle of the month. Courtesy of CNN)
October arrives in full golden glory as aspen trees display their glowing fall colors, usually through the middle of the month.

Lights! Camera! Film Festival Action!

Attend a film festival in Santa Fe? Why not? Santa Fe has always had ties and a love affair with all things film. Make sure to pencil in The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival on your must-do list. The festival began in 2009 as a fringe festival but, by 2011 was the biggest event of its kind in New Mexico—screening over 100 films over five days. More recently the 2012 festival honored Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals, Skins), Rudolfo Anaya (Bless Me, Ultima), and Judy Blume (Tiger Eyes) and included two sold out screenings at the Lensic Performing Arts Center and a red carpet event. The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival has been named one of Moviemaker Magazine’s 25 Coolest General Film Festivals on the planet and one of “50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2014”. Need I say more?

Movie goers begin to line up for the evening film at the historic Lensic Theater. (Courtesy of the Santa Fe Film Festival)
Movie goers begin to line up for the evening film at the historic Lensic Theater. (Courtesy of the Santa Fe Film Festival)

A Harvest Bounty

The smell of roasting chile and autumn in the October air sets the perfect scene to celebrate the harvest season, One ideal way to celebrate is by attending the Harvest Festival—one of the most popular celebrations at Rancho de las Golondrinas. You’ll help bring in the harvest by watching villagers crush grapes for wine by foot. If you have never strung a chile ristra, this would be a wonderful time to learn. Also try your hand at making tortillas and baking bread. The harvest event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 3–4, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

harvest
Harvesting traditions are passed down from one generation to the next at the Harvest Festival. (Courtesy of Rancho de las Golondrinas)

Up, Up And Away

For more than four decades, during the first week in October, guests from all over the world come to Northern New Mexico to celebrate ballooning. Santa Fe is a short drive or train ride away from Balloon Fiesta Park. Consider catching the morning glow and mass ascension—marvel as 500+ balloons launch at the same time—in the morning and return to Santa Fe to extend your day with good food and some relaxation. The event takes place October 3 –11. Don’t forget to bring your camera as this is one of the most photographed events in the world!

Tickets are available by calling (855) 725-1824 or online. General admission tickets may also be purchased at the gate on the days of the event.

The mass ascension begins on a cool and crisp October morning. (Courtesy of photographer Marlon H. Long)
The mass ascension begins on a cool and crisp October morning. (Courtesy of photographer Marlon H. Long)

En Plein Air

In just seven years, the Canyon Road Paint & Sculpt Out has evolved into one of the nation’s largest annual artist demonstrations. You will see hundreds of artists and thousands of art enthusiasts come together for the daylong outdoor artist demonstration. Artists bring live models, paint, clay, carving knives, blow torches, easels and materials from their studios and begin working on the iconic art road.

. Interacting with artists is encouraged as they demonstrate their artistic processes. (Courtesy of
Interacting with artists is encouraged as they demonstrate their artistic processes. (Courtesy of Visit Canyon Road)

Three Studio Tours

Personally, I love October because it gives me the chance to visit artist studio tours and enjoy the fall foliage along the way. Make Santa Fe your home base and make the pleasant drives to the surrounding communities to like Galisteo, El Rito and Abiquiú.

The Galisteo Studio Tour, for instance, will guide you through the many studios where you’ll see photography, paintings, pottery and ceramic art, retablos, jewelry, bronze sculpture, weavings, and hand-crafted local arts as well as tasty local fare. The ancient cottonwoods that line the Galisteo River give portions of the tour a special ambiance rarely found in New Mexico. The El Rito Studio Tour and the Abiquiu Studio Tour are also definitely worth exploring. El Rito—an early Spanish settlement, located about an hour’s drive northwest of Santa Fe—features everything from blacksmithing, fiber arts and pottery. While in Abiquiú you can see the studios of more than 70 artists and also explore the gorgeous place where Georgia O’Keeffe once lived and worked. The tours run from October 10th through the 12th.

For more information on popular Northern New Mexico tours, please visit our website.

Bring your camera to catch the cottonwoods basking in a golden glow along the Galisteo Creek. (Courtesy of Inn on the Alameda)
Bring your camera to catch the cottonwoods basking in a golden glow along the Galisteo Creek. (Courtesy of Inn on the Alameda)

Fall Into Santa Fe In October

Why not add an October Santa Fe visit into your schedule? Between the harvest, film, hot air balloons, and artists studios, you’ll find October is a beautiful time to visit the City Different.

Start planning your fall adventure in Santa Fe!

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