New Mexico Dining May 09, 2016
9 Festivals In New Mexico That Food Lovers Should NOT Miss
When it comes to food, annual festivals and fairs used to mean deep-fried, well, everything. Not anymore. This crop of upcoming festivals in New Mexico features a great mix of local, artisan, and down home cooking. Whether you’re a foodie seeking innovation or a food lover who wants traditional, stick-to-your-ribs dishes, these events are sure to satisfy. Add these dates to your calendar now.
1. Southern New Mexico Wine Festival, Las Cruces
Relax over the holiday weekend with a glass of vino from one of New Mexico's many excellent wineries. This festival provides opportunities to learn about wine and enjoy tastings. Anyone under 21 (everyone should bring ID) can attend for free, but they must be accompanied by a legal guardian. The festival is held at the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds.
Dates: May 28-30, 2016
2. Edible Art Tour, Santa Fe
Those who attend the Edible Art Tour get to explore some of Santa Fe's best galleries, each of which is paired with a local restaurant. Browse the artwork while you sample bite-sized servings. This event supports ARTsmart, a non-profit devoted to teaching kids art and literacy.
Dates: June 10-11, 2016
3. High Rolls Cherry Festival and High Rolls Apple Festival, High Rolls
These two festivals take place in the town of High Rolls and we've put them together because they're fairly small-scale. Each free event focuses on a particular fruit, and drinks derived from them. Other attractions include arts and crafts and kids' activities. The festivals raise money for various charities.
Cherry Festival Dates: June 18-19, 2016
Apple Festival Dates: October 15-16, 2016
4. Pork and Brew BBQ State Championship, Rio Rancho
BBQ and beer form a perfect union at this festival that takes place at the Santa Ana Star Center over the 4th of July weekend. The winner of the BBQ contest qualifies to enter further competitions such as The American Royal in Kansas City, so you're guaranteed some killer BBQ. Other activities include dancing, live music, watermelon-eating contests for kids and pie-eating contests for adults.
Dates: July 2-4, 2016
5. Hot Chili Days Cool Mountain Nights, Red River
Sure, this festival has plenty of live music, but it's also about cookoffs: the New Mexico State Green Chile Championship, the Lone Star BBQ Society cookoff, and the CASI "Red River Red" cookoff. These events are held in Brandenburg Park. Bring your appetite!
Dates: August 17-20, 2016
6. Hatch Valley Chile Festival, Hatch
Hatch has become synonymous with chiles and this festival celebrates the annual crop. Each year, more than 30,000 people flock to Hatch Municipal Airport. Activities include a chile eating contest, ristra demonstrations, a parade, and the crowning of the chile festival queen.
Dates: September 3-4, 2016
7. Pie Town Festival, Pie Town
When a town is named for a particular food, you know that its food festival will be delicious. The Pie Town Festival is held on the second Saturday in September and features a fun run, horny toad races, and pie-eating contests.
Date: September 10, 2016 (The photo features an old poster for the event.)
8. Annual Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta, Santa Fe
During this festival, 90 national wineries are paired with 75 of Santa Fe's premier restaurants for an
experience sure to thrill most foodies. Last year, local wineries such as Gruet and Black Mesa Winery participated, along with wineries like Concha y Toro, the largest producer of Latin American wines. The event includes wine seminars, cooking demos, a Grand Tasting, and more.
Dates: September 21-25, 2016
9. The Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium, Ruidoso Downs
Held at the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino, this three-day cowboy festival earns a spot on this list for its chuckwagons. The event includes a World Championship Chuckwagon Cookoff. Each contestant has to make beef, beans, potatoes, gravy, and dessert.
The symposium draws in 20,000 people each year.
Dates: October 7-9, 2016
Have you been to any of these festivals? Which ones appeal to you?