Festivals and Events
Taos’s biggest annual festivity, for which many local businesses close, is the Feast of San Geronimo, the patron saint thoughtfully assigned to Taos Pueblo by the Spanish when they built their first mission there in 1619.
The holiday starts the evening of September 29 with vespers in the pueblo church and continues the next day with foot races and a pole-climbing contest.
La Hacienda de los Martinez usually reenacts a 19th-century Taos trade fair, with mountain men, music, and artisans’ demonstrations.
The town also turns out for the Fiestas de Taos (www.fiestasdetaos.com), a mid-July celebration of Santiago de Compostela and Santa Ana that lasts three days, with a parade, food and crafts booths on the plaza, and the crowning of the Fiestas Queen.
Also in July is the Taos Pueblo Powwow (www.taospueblo.com), a major get-together of Pueblo Indians and tribal members from around the country. Try to be there for the Grand Entry, the massive opening procession. The event takes place not at the pueblo but at powwow grounds off U.S. 64.
Since 1977, grape fanatics have been living it up at the 10-day Taos Winter Wine Festival (www.skitaos.org) at the end of January; seminars and special dinners are held at the ski valley resort center and many restaurants around town.
Taos galleries put out their finest at the Taos Arts Festival (www.taosfallarts.com), two-week-long exhibitions in spring (Apr.–May) and fall (Sept.–Oct.), of the works of more than 150 Taos County artists. Since 1983, the October Taos Wool Festival (www.taoswoolfestival.org) has drawn textile artists as well as breeders—admire the traditional Churro sheep or an Angora goat and then pick up a scarf made from its wool.
And if it’s counterculture you’re after, the Taos Solar Music Festival (www.solarmusicfest.com) takes place at the end of June at an off-the-grid stage near the Earthship development west of the Rio Grande Gorge. The event draws a wild mix of dedicated campers and sun worshippers, as well as diverse performers that have included Steve Earle, Harry Belafonte, and Los Lobos.
The glow of luminarias and torchlight on snow produces a magical effect—perhaps that’s why Taos has so many winter events.
On the first weekend in December, the tree-lighting ceremony on the plaza draws the whole town, and the rest of the season sees numerous celebrations, such as the reenactments of the Virgin’s search for shelter, called Las Posadas, which take place at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church west of the plaza on the third weekend in December.
At the pueblo, vespers is said at San Geronimo church on Christmas Eve, typically followed by a children’s dance.
On Christmas Day, the pueblo hosts either a deer dance or the Spanish Los Matachines dance.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition