Santa Fe Winter Fiesta

By Dawn Dorsey

Think you’ve seen and done it all in Santa Fe? Don’t be so sure. After Christmas pageantry is over but before warm-weather markets begin, the “City Different” invites visitors to join residents in celebrating another season with its own special charm. The second annual WinterFiesta, January 29-February 28, salutes the city’s art, music, skiing, cuisine, and multicultural heritage, allowing visitors to take advantage of lower off-season hotel rates, quieter streets, and plazas blanketed with snow and graced by bright sunshine. “Santa Fe is the same great place to visit in January as in July,” says Lynda Foshie of the Santa Fe Gallery Association. “We have plenty of blue-sky days and clear nights filled with the smell of cedar, piñon, and pine.”

Snowy Day by the Cathedral-Santa Fe by Lisa Bemis is the winning entry in the WinterFiesta poster competition sponsored by Southwest Art. Bemis is represented by Laurel Seth Gallery, Santa Fe.,painting, Southwest Art
Snowy Day by the Cathedral-Santa Fe by Lisa Bemis is the winning entry in the WinterFiesta poster competition sponsored by Southwest Art. Bemis is represented by Laurel Seth Gallery, Santa Fe.

The 31 days of culture and fun that comprise WinterFiesta also include major events connected with the Santa Fe Cuarto Centenario celebration, which commemorates the 400th anniversary of the European colonization of New Mexico. This year-long series of symposiums, lectures, and special events brings together top scholars and international Hispanic leaders.

During WinterFiesta, most major hotels plan seminars, lectures, entertainment, and special dining events centered on themes including Native Americans in the Southwest, the Wild West, Hispanic culture, culinary arts, and skiing. For instance, the Hotel Santa Fe spotlights Native American culture with storytelling, breadmaking demonstrations, traditional dancing, flute music, and Native American foods, while La Fonda Hotel focuses on Hispanic traditional arts, culture, and foods. These activities are free and open to the public.

A community photo exhibit, Santa Fe: The People/The Place, attempts to capture the essence of one of the most photogenic cities in the world. Anyone may participate by photographing the city during the week of January 1-7 and then submitting three color or black-and-white photographs by January 15 to The New Mexican newspaper or Running Ridge Gallery. Winners will be featured in an exhibition at the DeVargas Center from January 31-February 8 and in The New Mexican on January 30. For information call 505.983.5615.

Both weekends feature “grazing” events at some 10 participating restaurants in the central/downtown area. Diners purchase ticket books entitling them to special dishes at each restaurant.

Picture of a Big Heart by Melinda K. Hall, Patricia Carlisle Fine Art, Santa Fe.,painting, Southwest Art
Picture of a Big Heart by Melinda K. Hall, Patricia Carlisle Fine Art, Santa Fe.

After all that good food, you may want some exercise. The Santa Fe Ski Area gets into the act with special events, including a celebrity ski race and a series of workshops. Of special note is a women-only seminar conducted by Olympic gold medalist Debbie Armstrong. For information call 505.982.4429.

Music lovers are not forgotten: The Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Ensemble performs several times during WinterFiesta at various venues. The Santa Fe Concert Association’s Distinguished Artists Series presents percussionist Evelyn Glennie on Sunday, February 1.

Following is a schedule of other planned activities. For information about any event, call the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800.777.2489.

Thursday, January 29

To kick off the festivities, Cline LewAllen Gallery, 129 W. Palace Ave., hosts a fund-raising reception for the United Way of Santa Fe County. Enjoy food and entertainment  from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is limited, so call early for reservations.

At 8 p.m., join singer-songwriters David Wilcox, John Hiatt, and Kim Carnes for an Evening at the Lensic, also benefiting United Way. The lavishly restored Lensic theater is the perfect setting for an intimate performance. Tickets are $20. For information about either event, call the United Way at 505.982.2002.

Friday, January 30

Be our guest as the winning entry is unveiled in the WinterFiesta poster competition sponsored by Southwest Art—Snowy Day by the Cathedral-Santa Fe by Lisa Bemis. The reception, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Inn at Loretto, 211 Old Santa Fe Trail, is free and open to the public.

If you have a taste for art, visit Santa Fe Gallery Association galleries downtown and along Canyon Road as they host the Edible Art Gallery Walk. From 5 to 7 p.m., about 30 galleries offer visual treats as well as artful, tasty morsels. Shuttle service is available.

At 7 p.m., festivities move to the Plaza for the official opening of WinterFiesta. Join residents in watching a “balloon glow” and an ice sculpture contest, all in an atmosphere cozy with the glow of farolitos. Later, the Auction Party With the Stars at the Sweeney Center features live and silent auctions and comedy performances, all benefiting the United Way.

Sunday, February 1

Welcome the impending change of seasons at Winter Light: A Candlemas Celebration, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Guadalupe Fine Arts, 403 Canyon Rd. The gallery’s sculpture garden will be lit with farolitos and bonfires. Owner Lena Bartula says the event marks the time when the earth starts to think about spring. Inside the gallery you’ll find sculpture by Judy Sutton Kracke and paintings by David Nakabayashi and Heather Gorham—all Texas artists.

Bring your taste for the spicy to the Great Pro-Am Green Chile Stew Cook-off at La Fonda Hotel. Using the famous New Mexican green chile as a common ingredient, contestants vie for your—and the judges’—approval.

Friday, February 6

From 4 to 7 p.m., Santa Fe Gallery Association members present the Heart of Santa Fe Gallery Tour, with exhibitions featuring valentine, heart, or love themes. Among the 30 galleries participating are Karan Ruhlen Gallery, Robins Hyder Gallery, Leslie Muth Gallery, Patricia Carlisle Fine Art, Running Ridge Gallery, and Cline Fine Art Gallery. Shuttle service is available.

Saturday, February 7

Munson Gallery hosts author Don Hagerty and 25 artists featured in his new book Leading the West [1997 Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, AZ] from 1 to 4 p.m. A portion of proceeds from sales of the book and artworks benefits the Hospice Center of Santa Fe.

For a gala finale, head for La Fonda Hotel, 100 E. San Francisco, for the Parade of the Masks at the Gold and Silver Ball. This event benefits ARTSmart, the outreach arm of the Santa Fe Gallery Association, which provides assistance for school art programs. For tickets call La Fonda Hotel at 505.982.5511.