New Mexico Celebrates Its Centennial All Year Long | - December 20, 2011

"A gala black-tie birthday part, a commissioned opera, a longhorn cattle drive, a summer block party , a Pony Express ride and more!"

New Mexico celebrates its centennial in 2012 with a series of fun, family-oriented events scheduled throughout the year that honor the state's rich history. From a gala, black-tie birthday party to a commissioned opera for all ages, a longhorn cattle drive, a summer block party, a Pony Express ride and more, New Mexico's 100th birthday celebrations will be unforgettable!

Grand Centennial Ball

New Mexico's yearlong party kicks off on January 6 with the Grand Centennial Ball, an enchanting evening featuring cocktails, a three-course wine dinner, entertainment and more. Hosted by actor and comedian Steven Michael Quezada, with music provided by Hillary Smith and Soul's Kitchen, this once-in-a-lifetime black tie ball celebrates New Mexico's 100th birthday as a state. The ball takes place from 6 to 10:30 p.m., at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Tickets are $250 and all proceeds help establish the Centennial Children's Legacy Fund.

Commemorative U.S. Postage Stamp Festivities

January 6 marks the “First Day of Issue” for a new Commemorative U.S.Postage stamp honoring New Mexico’s Centennial.  The stamp will be available in the lobby of the New Mexico History Museum from 10 a.m. to noon. The issuance ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. in the museum auditorium. The forever stamp features "Sanctuary," an image by New Mexico artist Doug West, with a view of the Rio Puerco looking northeast at sunset.

New Mexico State Birthday Party

Join the festivities in the Capitol Rotunda in Santa Fe for New Mexico's birthday party, hosted by Keep New Mexico Beautiful. New Mexico officially became the 47th state in the Union on January 6, 1912, when President William H. Taft signed the statehood legislation. The party includes cake, refreshments and music by Mariachi Conquistador. Jan. 6, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.

Shoes for Santo Nino

This opera commissioned by the University of New Mexico and co-produced with the Santa Fe Opera is based on a children's book written by Peggy Pond Church, author of the acclaimed The House at Otowi Bridge. The opera's performances take place Jan. 6 at 1 p.m. and Jan. 7 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at The Lensic Performing Arts Center. Click here for more information.

47 Stars Centennial Exhibit

The Flag Act of 1818 forbid adding a new star to the U.S. flag until the Fourth of July immediately following a state's admission to the Union, an act that banned the creation of a new flag for New Mexico until after Arizona became the 48th state. But patriotic New Mexicans defied the law, creating a flag with 47 stars. This flag is on exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum January 6 through November 25, along with the pen used by President Taft to sign New Mexico into statehood. Also, one of the museum's windows will be filled with bunting and a cutout of a statehood parade car, where visitors can pose for photographs. Click here for more information.

100 Years of State and Federal Policy and Its Impact on Pueblo Nations

This special exhibition at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque explores the impact of 100 years of state and federal policy on Pueblo communities. Jan. 6-Jan. 6, 2013. Click here for more information.

Centennial Fridays: The Wild Frontier

Join three of America's most evocative storytellers as they explore some of the traits that made New Mexico a world-famous region in the 19th century, both romanticized and stigmatized for its colorful and often violent frontier life. The Wild Frontier: Our Territory on the Threshold of Statehood features three panelists who appear in PBS’s Billy the Kid, an American Experience documentary that will air in early January: author Hampton Sides, whose acclaimed books include Blood and Thunder; musician and historian Mark Lee Gardner who performs ballads  on the banjo about figures depicted in his book To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West; and University of New Mexico professor Paul Hutton, who has appeared in or narrated more than 150 television documentaries on CBS, NBC, PBS, Discovery, A&E, and other media channels. John F. Andrews, a member of the New Mexico Humanities Council and host of the popular Speaking of Shakespeare series in New York City, will preside over this first of twelve monthly Centennial Fridays. The event takes place January 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the St. Francis Auditorium in the New Mexico Museum of Art.

New Mexico Hispanic Artists 1912-2012

The Museum of International Folk Art presents this exhibit devoted to artists who worked with traditional folk art techniques, inspiring modern folk expressions. On view are woodcarvings, paintings, tin and metalwork, embroidery and more by early 20th century artists as well as work by contemporary artists. The art is exhibited in the drawers and cabinets of Lloyd's Treasure Chest, where viewers can get closer to the work than they could in a traditional museum gallery. March 13-Feb. 12, 2013. Click here for more information.

New Mexico First Centennial Town Hall

This conference addresses ways for New Mexico to solve challenges in the areas of education, health care, economic development and environment/natural resources. The conference includes public input to help craft concrete solutions to address the state's toughest challenges. March 22-23, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Albuquerque Marriott. Click here for more information.

Centennial Longhorn Cattle Drive

This old-fashioned cattle drive relocates100 longhorn cattle from Antelope Ridge, near Jal, to the Eddy County Sheriff’s Posse Arena, in Carlsbad, where they will be auctioned off during the Round-Up Festival. The event includes re-enactments, a junior rodeo, chuckwagon dinners, campfire entertainment by Michael Martin Murphy and more. May 9-12. Click here for more information.

New Mexico Centennial Pony Express Ride

The New Mexico Centennial Pony Express Ride departs from the Western Heritage Museum Complex in Hobbs at 7:30 a.m. May 26 on a 14-day ride to Santa Fe, which ends on June 8. The event features dozens of riders carrying mail from southeastern New Mexico on a 365-mile journey. Click here for more information.

Centennial Summerfest

Albuquerque throws a giant block party downtown to celebrate New Mexico's Centennial. The event pays tribute to New Mexico's fascinating history and includes dancing, music, food, car shows, art and crafts, children's activities and a territorial village. June 16, noon-10 p.m., on Civil Plaza and Central Avenue. Click here for more information.

Rough Rider Motorcycle Rally

A tradition started by Teddy Roosevelt more than 100 years ago continues in Las Vegas, where motorcycle enthusiasts will pay tribute to Roosevelt's Rough Riders. Members of the first Volunteer Cavalry Regiment from the Western Territories were chosen for their frontier character – bravery, self-reliance and ability to adapt. Participants in the rally will ride Iron Horses. July 29-31, Las Vegas, N.M. Click here for more information.

International Symposium on Electronic Art

The 18th International Symposium on Electronic Art: Machine Wilderness explores the global discourse on art, technology and nature with art exhibitions, public events, performances and educational activities. Creative minds from around the world will engage the local community along the state's Cultural Corridor in Santa and Taos. The ISEA symposium takes place every year in locations around the world. Sept. 19-24 516 Arts, Albuquerque. Click here for more information.

New Mexico Centennial Balloon at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

A commemorative hot air balloon designed and built for New Mexico's Statehood Centennial by Scott Appelman of Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloons will participate in the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. October 6-14. Click here for more information.