The Christmas season officially kicks off with the lighting of the Town of Taos Christmas Tree during the 31st annual Yuletide Plaza and Tree Lighting ceremonies Friday (Dec. 1) from 4-6 p.m. on Taos Plaza, according to Community Events Coordinator Judy Esquibel.
The family-friendly event will include an invocation and holiday greetings by Taos Pueblo Gov. Ruben A. Romero and Taos Pueblo War Chief Curtis Sandoval, plus a welcoming statement by Town Manager Rick Bellis. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fire truck “ handing out treat-filled stockings to children, once again donated by the Taos Optimist Club Elves,” Esquibel states.
Mayor Dan Barrone, the Town Council and community members are all invited. “This year we honor our living tree as Mayor Barrone and family bring in a beautiful tree to be placed on the Plaza from our local forest,” Esquibel continues.
Music and merriment will be provided by the Mariachi Jaguar Encantado. Mystic Dance, and Ballet Taos will present a teaser performance of “A New Mexico Nutcracker” (an eight-show engagement that starts Dec. 16 at the Taos Community Auditorium). Plus, the annual Electric Light Parade with participants from all over Taos around the Plaza.
“Join the Fiestas de Santiago y Santa Ana de Taos Royal Court as they welcome in the Christmas season, as the Town of Taos Management Team lights the Plaza farolitos,” Esquibel’s announcement states. A New Mexico tradition, farolitos are small paper bags weighted with sand containing a lighted candle.
Mayor Barrone will welcome in the season with a special holiday greeting and the countdown to the lighting of the Taos Plaza holiday lights.
Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will also be served.
Opportunities to take your picture with Santa Claus will be available. Proceeds will benefit the Town of Taos Employee Recognition Team. Cost is $3 for one photo or $5 for two. Size is two-and-a half- by-four inches.
Christmas wreaths will be available for sale for $35 each, small trees for $65, and large trees for $135. All items come with pre-strung lights. Proceeds benefit DreamTree Project.
The culinary education students from Taos High School’s Edu@Work Café will be providing the food concession. The menu includes: posóle with pork and red chile for $7, and vegetarian green chile corn chowder for $5. Hot entrees will be served with whole wheat flour tortillas, gluten free chile and chowder. Full-size pumpkin rolls will be available for $16 or half-size for $8. Cups of coffee will be sold for $1.50.
Parking and vehicular traffic will be closed as festivities are prepares on Taos Plaza from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. However, Taos Plaza Merchants will be open to foot traffic.
Free event parking will be available at our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Loretto Parking Lot, Town Hall and Taos Public Library.
After 5 p.m. all metered parking lots will be free.
For handicapped parking and anyone requiring ADA access to the event, there will be extra parking at Guadalupe Parking Lot and the area next to the McCarthy Parking Lot directly behind the Historic Taos County Courthouse.
The event is sponsored by the town of Taos Facilities and Events Department and Taos Optimist Club. For more information contact Judy Esquibel at (575) 751-2037 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
But, wait, there’s more
During the events on Taos Plaza, surrounding galleries and businesses will be presenting First Friday celebrations. Pop up galleries, street performers, food carts, music, a pub crawl and more can be found at venues from The Taos Inn to the Alley Cantina, along Bent Street and throughout the John Dunn House Shops. Come out, explore what’s new and do some after-hours shopping. For more information, call (575) 770-7790.
Then, Saturday (Dec. 2) from 5-7 p.m., watch for the first of two Paseo Pop-ups. In a collaboration with Strong at Heart and supported by the LOR Foundation, the first Paseo Pop-up will appear between Super Save Discount Food and PointS Tire Store at 519 Paseo del Pueblo Sur. Then, Sunday (Dec. 3), the installations will be part of Talpa Community Center’s Christmas Fair from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Talpa Community Center, State Road 518, Ranchos de Taos. Both events are free and open to the public. Call (575) 770-6392.
Both evenings will include outdoor participatory art installations. “The Illuminator,” a projection piece created by the New York-based Illuminator Collective for the Paseo, which asks the community to imagine Taos in the future by responding to carefully crafted, locally inspired questions. First, participants are invited into a private booth and revealed a personalized question in English, Spanish or Tiwa, according to their preference. Then responses are ‘illuminated’ as large scale digital graffiti with a digitally-manipulated soundtrack. The events are supported by Strong at Heart and the LOR Foundation.
Strong at Heart is a project of the Town of Taos focused on working with Taoseños to create a vision for a thriving downtown for everyone, according to a press release. The goal of the project is to create a Taos Downtown Strategy, which communicates our shared values, guiding principles and vision for the downtown, and includes an action-plan to get things done. See more at downtowntaos.com. The Paseo Project transforms community with art and art with community. They host a free, annual outdoor fall art event as well as other community events and collaborations throughout the year that bring projection, installation and performance art to the streets of Taos. For more, visit paseoproject.org.