Fiestas de Santa Fe 2012 | - August 29, 2012

"The Santa Fe Fiesta dates to 1712, making it the oldest continuous community celebration in the U.S"

It's that time of year again when Santa Feans are collecting their gloom and preparing to burn it during the 88th Annual Burning of Zozobra Thursday, September 6 on Fort Marcy Field.

Zozobra offers us a chance to let go of all the bad things that have accumulated since last September – money woes, marital problems, illness, loss of a job and more. As we gather to watch the 40-foot-tall groaning marionette twist and flail as flames lick up his gown, we collectively burn away all the gloom, transmuting it into a giant party to celebrate, well, life really. And what a party it is!

Zozobra kicks of the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe, a rich blend of Spanish Colonial history, music, dance, food, pageantry, religion and art.

The Santa Fe Fiesta dates to 1712, making it the oldest continuous community celebration in the U.S. It has its roots in New Mexico history, when Don Diego de Vargas prayed to La Conquistadora, a wood carved Marian statue, originally brought to Santa Fe in 1625 by the missionary, Fray Alonso de Benavides. He asked her to intervene to ensure victory for his troops planning to reoccupy Santa Fe from the Pueblo Indians, who took over the city during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

By the end of December 1693, De Vargas had triumphantly taken back the City of the Holy Faith, crediting the Madonna's intercession with his victory. City officials drafted a proclamation for an annual celebration commemorating the peaceful 1692 resettlement. In 1712 the then-governor of the province Jose Chacon Medina Salazar y Villaseor, ordered the first Fiesta de Santa Fe.

Today, Fiesta takes place on the Plaza, offering a weekend filled with entertainment, Spanish dancing, Mariachi music, food, art and craft booths, parades, ceremonies with a costumed Don Diego De Vargas and a court of the Queen and Princesses of the Fiesta, The Fiesta Melodrama, and a Carnival at the Rodeo Fairgrounds.

For more information and a complete schedule, click here.


17th-Century New Mexico

The Historical Fiesta Lecture takes place September 5 at 6 p.m. at the New Mexico History Museum. State Historian Rick Hendricks examines the complex political landscape of late 17th-century New Mexico, when, during the final phase of the Spanish conquest of New Mexico, Gov. Diego de Vargas parlayed diplomatic relations with the Pueblo factions in pursuit of his goal of a governable province.

Burn Him! Burn Him!

Cheer with the crowd as Zozobra burns after dark on Thursday, September 6 at Fort Marcy Park. Doors open at 3 p.m.  for concerts, picnics and fun leading up to the moment when Zozobra is set aflame.

Entrada de Don Diego de Vargas

Learn about the true meaning of Fiesta at this re-enactment of General Don Diego de Vargas and his Cuadrilla along with American Indian allies who peacefully resettled Santa Fe in September 1692. The Entrada begins at 2 p.m. Friday, September 7 on the Plaza.

Desfiles de los Ninos/Pet Parade

Children and their pets—dogs, cats, snakes, llamas, goats and more—take to the streets in the annual pet parade, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, September 8 on the Plaza.

La Merienda de la Fiesta

This fashion show features vintage clothing a large collection of traditional and antique dresses owned and preserved by La Sociedad Folklorica. Members of the society, along with their daughters and granddaughters, model the unique fashions. Held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 8 at the James A. Little Theater.

Gran Baile de la Fiesta

A cherished tradition for more than a century, this Grand Ball is held to honor the Fiesta Royalty, with historical and colorful attire. The ball begins at 7:30 p.m. on September 8 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.

Defiles de la Gente/Historical Parade

The Historical/Hysterical Parade features marching bands, Mariachis, sport teams, queens, floats and politicians of every ilk. It steps off at 12:30 p.m. downtown on Sunday, September 9.

Fiesta Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Francis Cathedral, followed by a Candlelight Procession from the church through the historic downtown streets and up the hill to Cross of the Martyrs. Hundreds of people with lighted candles offer a breathtaking ending to the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe!