The first crocus has popped a yellow blossom through the earth and fruit tree buds are swelling delicious potential. Santa Fe is warming up as days grow longer and the sun moves higher in the sky. The sun and big blue skies promise delightful spring adventures. The season is the ideal time to visit, offering a host of events to tempt the inquisitive traveler. Here are just a few…
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As days grow longer and the sun shines brilliantly in our clear, blue skies, the promise of a memorable spring adventure in Santa Fe awaits you and your family. The season is a great time to visit The City Different. What are you waiting for? Here are five Santa Fe events and adventures to tempt the enterprising traveler and family in March!
Santa Fe is so blessed with seasonally special sights and sounds that I never feel shortchanged at any time of year. But I admit that being on the cusp of spring has me in a fever of eager anticipation. As days grow longer, blossoming trees will begin to decorate the city and festive events will bloom all over town. Now is the moment to give in to the beauty and bounty of a colorful southwest spring, so I offer my primavera primer.
One Old Culture Honors Another
No country pays a more handsome homage to spring than Japan. Fragrant flowers, gusty winds sending kites aloft, a rich and ancient culture … Santa Fe has them too, though our early blossoms come from gorgeous old apricot trees. Delicious jam ensues later, so look for it at our Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. And Santa Fe also has a Japanese tradition, when we celebrate “equinoxically” on March 22 at the Japanese Cultural Festival.
The delicacy and depth of Japanese artistry is rooted in deliberate design and meaning, and I salute the 10th annual return of this spring event, known as a Matsuri. This year’s theme, good luck, is symbolized by “sho,” “chiku,” and bai,” which translate as pine (symbol of tenacity, here it’s our piñon tree), bamboo (beloved for flexibility, a vital attribute for the original New Mexico settlers) and plum (its early flowers evoking the optimism of spring). I plan to capture in full the flavor of this eloquent triad.
After repeatedly visiting the killer kite exhibit (which I’m happy to report has been extended through July 27) at the Museum of International Folk Art, a kite-making demo strikes my fancy as fantastic fun. I also intend to learn to turn my homey tea party into an elegant tea ceremony. And getting into the beating heart of the whole shebang will be a rhythmic riot aided by the Smokin’ Bachi Taiko drums.
Sounds for Serenading Spring
If you’re like me, your life has its own soundtrack, so you’ll also be stoked that the City Different is inviting everyone to Tune into Santa Fe this year. As a die-hard fan of summer’s rich musical offerings, I’m grateful I don’t have to wait until then to get my music fix. The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus season covers March with gold-medal violin work, and they’re serving up a big dose of symphonic music in April and May. My calendar is marked in pastels for Easter, obligating my attendance at Santa Fe Pro Musica’s Baroque Holy Week concerts, where the timeless setting of the Loretto Chapel and evocative musical excellence sweeps me back seamlessly back through the ages.
Spring brings Aspen Santa Fe Ballet back to the Lensic, and much as I delight in classic ballet repertoire, I cherish the chances that ASFB takes with more avant-garde programs. With a world premiere in the wings and a pair of striking works by contemporary choreographers, I’m relieved to know that if I miss the March performances at the Lensic, a one-night April encore guarantees my dance date.
No Passport Needed to Paint a Pretty Picture of Spring
While New Mexico Magazine features funny monthly tales in which New Mexico is confused with Old Mexico, the only passport required to visit Santa Fe is a Passport to the Arts. Thoughtfully timed with Mother’s Day weekend (by the way, Mom, it’s been way too long since you visited!), there’s much to love — and share — when we wander in and out of the Canyon Road galleries and watch artists ply talents in the open air. Beginning Friday night with openings and receptions, the weekend is rife with demonstrations, food, and music clustered behind adobe walls and in sculpture gardens of historic buildings.
I’m awed by the Artist QuickDraw on Saturday morning, a tour-de-force event when participants combine any and all media with individual talent and techniques to create original works of art under the constraints of time and an avid public audience. When time’s up, palette knives and brushes, carving tools and crayons are retired, as the artists prepare their finished pieces and hustle them over to the Live Art Auction. As for me, I relax while they work, but I’m prepared to bid right quick on a favorite piece!
May I Invite You to May … and June Too?
By Memorial Day, Santa Fe will be gussied up in spring finery, trees leafed out and stalks of blue flax bobbing. And El Rancho de las Golondrinas will be spinning the old mill’s water wheel as the New Mexico Fiber Arts Festival returns. I feel sheepish to confess I play favorites, but El Rancho really is one of my special places, especially when it’s time to shear sheep, dye their wool, and spin it into fine colorful yarns. My sister holds the family-knitting crown, and I’m the crochet queen, so I’ll wind up with some naturally hand-dyed yarn for both of us.
Memorial Day also showcases fine fiber handicrafts at the Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival. With 200-plus artists, there’s always an ample display of museum-quality wares to admire, and it’s a perfect appetizer for everything discovered later in summer at SWAIA Indian Market. Since I’ll be fiber-minded, maybe I’ll finally find that long-sought-after Navajo rug for my bedroom. And if not, I’ll still be coming home with a treasure or two.
Spring doesn’t truly end until mid-June, so kids and all, I’ll scoot back out to El Rancho for the Spring Festival and Children’s Fair as soon as school ends. Watching “settlers” baking outdoors in an horno (the traditional NM beehive-shaped oven) and herding livestock makes this re-enactment of New Mexico village life a history lesson disguised as a fun day in the sun for little ones. And with cute baby animals bleating and clucking, there’s an “awwwww” factor that’s hard to beat.
Be Impetuous and Spring into Action
On the scale of awe factors, spring in Santa Fe is a hard-to-beat-the-pleasure time. Balmy weather, flowers blooming, people smiling, and blue skies make each day a precious chance to collect kindred souls and share with them the places I return to again and again. I’ve planted some seeds for spring adventures here in Santa Fe, so don’t wait for summer — have a spring fling of your own!
Make the Most of Your Post–Hibernation this Spring in Santa Fe
Abandon your cozy seat by the fire and finish up your gourmet hot chocolate, because spring has arrived in the City Different! It’s time to go out, get active, and explore more of what makes Santa Fe so magical. Let the city’s creative spirit awaken yours from hibernation and explore the rich traditions of Santa Fe’s many cultures. Here are some ways to make the most out of a springtime trip to this wondrous and surprising city.
At a modest size of 37.4 square miles, and internationally recognized as a premier art market, Santa Fe packs in more creativity per square foot than anywhere else in the country. Get inspired by more than 250 art galleries, museums, and centers, and five art schools.
You’ll need those creative juices flowing as Santa Fe celebrates DIY Month in March, a creative tourism journey that gives you the chance to spend all or part of a trip taking workshops from experienced artists and artisans. It’s okay if you’re not an O’Keeffe. Classes cater to all artistic explorers, from beginners to aficionados. Fulfill a dream, refine a skill, or fall into something completely different. Want to tap into your inner artist? Take an expressive painting workshop with artist Cathy Carey. In this five-day class, limited to a small enrollment, you’ll learn techniques to loosen up your drawing and painting, capturing the feeling and fluid movement of Matisse and Van Gogh, and build a new connection to your work.
The Land and Light photography workshop teaches you the skills you’ll need to capture the majesty of Santa Fe with a lens. Walk this enchanted land with photographer Craig Varjabedian, photographing unique environments in an atmosphere of adventure and discovery. It’s a great way to explore the diverse culture, architecture, and landscape of northern New Mexico while upping your shutterbug game.
Personally, I can’t wait for the Glass Ristra workshop, a luxurious creative workshop brought to you by Bridges to Santa Fe. Held in a gorgeous home gallery, you assemble your own red, green, or Christmas glass ristra, while dining on red and green chile appetizers served on artisan-rendered glass platters.
That’s just a small sampling of the exciting do-it-yourself offerings. Transforming photographs with beeswax, traditional tinwork, Japanese papermaking, spinning wool, and many more possibilities await.
Bead Fest Santa Fe
Align the do-it-yourself spirit with do-it-for-yourself results at Bead Fest Santa Fe. Perfectly suited for both jewelry making novices and experts, Bead Fest is four days of discovering the latest techniques, tools, and tips. Take one of the 95 different workshops offered by jewelry artists from around the country, or shop at more than 150 booths and tables with everything you need to craft your own amazing creations. I’ll be going to behold the beautiful work on display, and, just maybe, end up with an amazing piece of my own design.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
After all that making and creating, make sure you’re getting a balanced cultural intake. Along with the visual arts, Santa Fe is also a vibrant city of the performing arts. At the end of March, you can catch the dual-city Aspen Santa Fe Ballet as they return home for a program featuring Jiri Kylián’s poignant Return to a Strange Land, Alejandro Cerrudo’s striking new ballet Last, and Trey McIntyre’s seductive Like a Samba. Not sure if ballet is for you? Give this group a chance. Just don’t be surprised if you spend the entire performance at the edge of your seat. I asked ASFB’s director of marketing Jennica Lundin about the upcoming shows. “It’s not traditional ballet but way more contemporary,” said Jessica. She also told me that two of the three pieces would be performed on pointe, where the dancers perform entirely on their tiptoes. “Performing on pointe shows that our dancers’ technique is rooted in classical style.”
Santa Fe Japanese Cultural Festival
Go from nimble dancers to nimble swordsmen at the sixth Santa Fe Japanese Cultural Festival. Nothing feeds creativity like knowledge and experience, and I can’t think of a more exciting mental meal than a large serving of Samurai culture. Witness master swordsmen demonstrating their skills, Taiko drumming from Grammy winner Koji Nakamura, and a Grand Samurai Performance from Japan’s Nobuyuki Sato. You can also feast on Japanese food (yum), enjoy workshops (this city is workshop crazy), a silent auction, and – you guessed it – arts and crafts. It wouldn’t be a Santa Fe event if it didn’t involve creating something.
Santa Fe in Bloom
All of this culture can wear a person out. Make sure you leave yourself some time to enjoy and relax in Santa Fe’s natural beauty. Spring is a time when the outdoor world of Santa Fe turns into a collage of blooming plants. Why not try out some of those newly acquired photography skills on the blooming Aspens, tulips, poppies, and more. If you want a peek at some gorgeous gardens, the Santa Fe Garden Club is offering Pequeno Tours, private tours of some of Santa Fe’s finest homes and gardens. The Pequeno Tours start in mid-April and with spring temperatures in the 50s and 60s and plenty of sunshine, being outside in the fresh air of Santa Fe — named cleanest in the country by the American Lung Association — just feels great.
Start your Creative Season
Spring in Santa Fe is truly an inspiring time. Whether you want to jumpstart your own artistic renaissance or just recharge, there’s more than enough to wake your sense of adventure from its winter slumber. With all the opportunities to create and explore, there’s no time like spring to experience all the creative energy, diverse culture, and natural beauty that Santa Fe has to offer.