National Train Day: May 10

May 7, 2014 by  
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It’s Albuquerque’s  2014 National Train Day event on Saturday May 10 at the Downtown Alvarado Transportation Center.  So what does National Train Day involve? Free strap-hanging? Wishing the gentleman sitting next to us would stop snoring on our shoulder? No indeedy! It looks like a lot of fun with free activities and entertainment.

Albuquerque National Train Day takes place on May 10 from 1 pm to 5 pm and includes:

  • Tours of New Mexico Rail Runner Express, Amtrak, and BNSF rail cars
  • Displays of model trains
  • Mini train rides
  • Explora does its stuff with kids’ activities
  • A rock climbing wall, face painting with Jingles the Clown, solar telescope and other activities
  • Meet the new Rail Runner mascot
  • Hourly raffles with prizes – no purchase necessary
  • Local food vendors (of course!)

Albuquerque National Train Day takes place:

When: Saturday May 10, 2014

Time: 1 – 5 pm

Where: Downtown Alvarado Transportation Center

Price: Free!

If you’re new in town or just not terribly observant, Alvarado Transportation Center is located on the corner of 1st Street SW and Central Avenue.



Albuquerque Founders Day Fiesta

April 9, 2014 by  
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Albuquerque Founders Day FiestaAlbuquerque Founders Day Fiesta 2014 celebrates the city turning the grand old age of 308, and the Fiestas de Albuquerque party includes music, entertainment, kids’ activities, demonstrations, and more…

Founders Day Fiestas de Albuquerque  is on Saturday April 12, 2014, from 12 noon to 5 pm. Here’s a reminder that all the day’s fun is focused around Old Town, with various activities to celebrate the city’s history and culture.  The festivities feature Albuquerque’s heritage from the Native American Era, the Spanish Era, the Mexican Era, the Territorial Era, and the Albuquerque Now Era.

Founders Day Fiestas de Albuquerque free activities on April 12 include:

  • Children’s activities including a rock wall for climbing, face painting, and panning for gold.
  • A paper art workshop by the Consulado de Mexico en Albuquerque for all ages,
  • Entertainment including National Institute of Flamenco, Buffalo Bill, Cowboys & Indian hillbilly band, musician Gonzalo, Valley High School Ballet Folklorico Del Sol,  Maraichi Sonidos del Monte and Folklorico Fiesta Mexicana
  • 3:30 pm Founders Day Procession
  • 3-Time Boxing World Champion Danny Romero and MMA Superstar Keith Jardine will make an appearance as part of the New Mexico Sports Ambassador Program.

See the full Fiestas de Albuquerque schedule.

Happy birthday Albuquerque! You look better with every new candle on the cake!



Free Meet A Wolf

December 12, 2013 by  
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Meet a friendly wolf (or two!) and celebrate the “Howl-i-days” on Sunday December 15, 2013.

This free wolf encounter event is one to note on your calendar for Sunday if you’re as fascinated as I am by these beautiful and mysterious beasts. Meet the real thing for yourself in a Wolf Meet and Greet presentation on December 15 at 12:30 pm at the Open Space Visitor Center.

Stephanie Kaylan of the Wanagi Wolf Fund will take at least two of her friendly wolves or wolf-dogs along. Hokshila the timber wolf will be there, and Bindi the wolf too. I know from experience that Stephanie is a very lively and interesting speaker on the subject of wolves and their relationship with humans. In fact, you can read my profile of her in a series I wrote of Albuquerque Insider Profiles  for their Re:Discover Albuquerque project.

The family-friendly event is free, although donations to the non-profit Wanagi Wolf Fund are welcome as this is a holiday fundraiser.  There will also be a photo-op with a wolf for a donation. You can shop for wolf calendars, stocking stuffers and wolf-fur filled ornaments, and check out the raffle.

It’s usually wise to arrive early to be sure of a seat at the beginning of the presentation, as late arrivals are not always  guaranteed admission.

Interesting note: Wanagi is Lakota for “The one who guards and protects the spirits of those who have passed onward.”

  • When: Sunday December 15, 2013
  • Time: 12:30 pm
  • Where: Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: Admission is FREE but donations to the Wanagi Wolf Fund and Rescue are very welcome.

Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center is located at 6500 Coors Boulevard NW. (East of Coors at the end of Bosque Meadows Road, between Montano Boulevard and Paseo del Norte.)



Bugg Lights Christmas Display

December 12, 2013 by  
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The Bugg Lights Christmas Display twinkles on selected evenings until December 24, 2013.

Albuquerque’s traditional show of the Bugg Lights Christmas Display is free to visit through the holiday season, although it’s not open every evening – see the schedule below.  The intricate display featuring animals and popular characters was originally created by the Bugg family (talk about one-upmanship on your holiday lights!) but has found a home for the last several years at Menaul School.

You can also see Santa Claus and enjoy festive entertainment with a different line-up of performers each evening including Sunset Mesa Choir, Dukes of Albuquerque, First United Methodist Church Choir, Folklorico del Valle, and more.

Although the Bugg Lights Christmas Display is free and open to all, you gotta bet your big black Santa boots that they do accept donations.

The Bugg Lights Christmas Display 2013 is on show on the evenings of:

  • Friday December 13 and Saturday December 14, at 6 pm to 9 pm
  • From Friday December 20 every night through Monday December 23, at 6 pm – 9 pm
  • Christmas Eve, Tuesday December 24, at 6 pm – 10 pm

The Bugg Lights Christmas Display is located at Menaul School, 301 Menaul Boulevard NE, just east of the Broadway intersection. Access the campus from the Menaul entrance.



Free Casa San Ysidro Holiday Celebration

December 4, 2013 by  
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Celebrate Noche de Luces at the historic Casa San Ysidro. It’s free for all the family on December 7, 2013.

Casa San Ysidro in Corrales is part of the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, and tours (only offered on specified dates/times) generally cost $4 for adults. In any case it’s closed during December and January. UNLESS….you get in the holiday spirit and join them for the free Casa San Ysidro Noche de Luces event this Saturday, December 7 from 5 – 8 pm.

Casa San Ysidro celebrates the holiday season by welcoming one and all to enjoy its decorations of farolitos and holiday greens. The free event includes a craft activity, a display of traditional New Mexican artifacts, and music by Breaking Blue in the grand sala.  They will also be serving hot cider and cookies. Tra-la-la! Wrap up warmly as much of the activity is outdoors.

Casa San Ysidro Noche de Luces celebration takes place:

  • When:  Saturday December 7, 2013
  • Time: 5 pm – 8 pm
  • Price: Free admission for all

Casa San Ysidro is located at 973 Old Church Road in Corrales.



U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in Albuquerque: Nov 15

November 11, 2013 by  
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The 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is on its way from Washington State to Washington D.C. and that means we get to see it in Albuquerque! This year’s tree is an Engelmann Spruce standing 88 feet tall – that’s a whopping 15 feet taller than last year’s tree!  The tree is being transported on a  massive great truck, tied down with 4,000 feet of parachute cord. You can bet your life I’ll find myself driving behind that baby.

The tree will be on display in Albuquerque on Friday November 15 from 4 pm to 6 pm at the New Mexico National Guard Armory Building, 600 Wyoming Boulevard NE. According to an Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau press release the free event includes hot chocolate, cookies, live music, and crafts for kids.  I believe there will be some kind of viewing platform to see some of the ornaments that were created by Washington State school children.  During the event you can also donate a new, unwrapped toy for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots collection.

(Note: The official U.S. Capitol Christmas tree site   says the tree will be in Albuquerque from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm, so turn up early if you want and take your chances.)

The tree is on its way to the U.S. Capitol, where it will be decorated and ceremonially lit. Each year, a different National Forest provides the tree and this year it’s the Colville National Forest in Washington State.

The last time New Mexico supplied the Christmas tree was in 2005 from the Santa Fe National Forest, so it probably won’t be our turn again any time soon. This is your chance to see the People’s Tree before it heads to the U.S. Capitol lawn, to be lit by House Speaker John Boehner and admired by people all over the world.

If this inspires you to think about your own Christmas tree, don’t forget about the Home Depot Christmas light trade-in deal I mentioned in a previous post, running until November 17.



Rio Grande Cup Regatta

October 24, 2013 by  
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Despite the posh-sounding name, the Rio Grande Cup is an event for radio-controlled model sailboats, which I think is actually more fun! And it’s free to cheer the boats on…

The 6th annual Rio Grande Cup Regatta 2013 sets sail this weekend on October 26 and 27 at Tingley Beach, captained by the Duke City Model Yacht Club. I reckon kids (of all ages) would love to go for a walk around the model boat pond to see the fleet of boats race, and I know there’s a lot of skill in racing these model boats, so I expect the competition will be fierce. Landlubbers can go and watch for free, and let’s just hope there are no pirates…

The Rio Grande Cup races start at 11 am on both October 26 and 27.  They will race until 4:30 pm on Saturday with a lunch break for the skippers to stock up on vittles. On Sunday, the racing is from 11 am until about 1 pm, followed by a trophy presentation at 1:30 pm.

The Duke City Model Yacht Club will also be doing practices at Tingley Beach on Friday afternoon, October 25, so if you’re in the ‘hood, you could drop by and watch those too.

Tingley Beach is part of the ABQ BioPark at 1800 Tingley Drive SW.



Fiesta of Cultures: October 19

October 16, 2013 by  
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Coronado State Monument’s free event this Saturday for all the family…

The Fiesta of Cultures at Coronado State Monument celebrates New Mexican traditions on Saturday October 19, 2013, starting at 10 am.

Admission is free and you can expect to see arts and crafts people and demonstrations too, including drum carving and forging a horseshoe. The event is very much geared towards families with activities to keep the kids occupied. They usually have live musical entertainment too, although I haven’t had any word on that this year. Of course, it’s also a nice opportunity to tour the murals in the Painted Kiva and enjoy the John Gaw Meem architecture at the Visitors’ Center. Food vendors? Yep, so you can snack while enjoying the view.

Coronado State Monument Fiesta of Cultures  gets festive:

  • When: Saturday October 19, 2013
  • Time: From 10 am to 3 pm
  • Where: Coronado State Monument, Bernalillo
  • Price: Admission is free!

Coronado State Monument is just off I-25, at exit 242, in Bernalillo.



Local Food Festival and Field Day: October 13

October 9, 2013 by  
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The Local Food Festival and Field Day at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House is a celebration of Albuquerque history, culture and farming.  It’s true to its name, with family fun including free food tastings from Albuquerque chefs, gardening and food preservation workshops, kids activities, tours, live music, and even a homemade pie contest!

The 2013 Local Food Festival and Field Day is held this Sunday October 13  from 11 am to 4 pm at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House and Demonstration Farm.  In previous years, the organizer told me around 3,000 people went, so it should be lively down on the farm!

Admission is free to all, and celebrations at the sixth annual Local Food Festival and Field Day include:

  • Free food tastings and Albuquerque chef demonstrations
  • Free tours of the historic Historic Hubbell House and farm, and walk the nature trail.
  • Free homesteading workshops and talks on food preservation, gardening and urban farming, and beekeeping, plus a seed giveaway.
  • Kids’ activities include a climbing wall, face painting, petting zoo, story time, kids’ sack races, and seed spitting contests.
  • Workshops for kids include leather crafting!
  • A Youth Showcase Parade.
  • Free film screenings.
  • A South Valley cycling tour
  • Live music including Mala Mana and Cactus Tractor.

If you want to enter the home cook pie contest sponsored by Edible magazine, sign up fast! Admission is free and there are prizes to be won. The emphasis is on local pies featuring at least one ingredient grown or produced in New Mexico, such as fruit, pecans, or pumpkin. There are categories for adult cooks and for kids too. You have to register online for the Edible Pie Contest by 5 pm on October 10, then take your pie to the Local Food Festival on Sunday.

The Local Food Festival and Field Day is held at Gutierrez-Hubbell House, 6029 Isleta Blvd SW, Albuquerque, 3 miles south of Rio Bravo.



Sipapu Free Music on the Rocks Concert

August 20, 2013 by  
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The Music on the Rocks festival twangs up its guitar strings on Saturday August 24, 2013. It’s free for all and family-friendly.

Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort hosts the free Music on the Rocks festival, featuring live music from a host of performers including headline acts Ryan McGarvey and the Sean Healen Band.  Lots of dancing!  And it’s cooooool in them there mountains, in every sense of the word. They also reckon they’ll have some kind of art happening in the meadow, although I went to Music on the Rocks in 2012 and I don’t remember the art so much. Then again, I might not have been looking in the right direction. I’m usually not.

Even though it was rainy last year, the music was fab and we all had a good time dancing. I had mud up to my knees and I loved every minute of it! Mr Cheap and I filled up on some pretty good food too. It was casual fare, but very tasty and reasonably priced. 

Music on the Rocks 2013 runs on Saturday August 24 from 10 am  – 10  pm, and the headline acts at the free concerts are Ryan McGarvey and the Sean Healen Band. Other performers at the event are Main Street Garage Band, Pawn Drive, Jeromino Keith, Eric George, Prudy Dimas, Steady Rollers, and Jenne McIntosh.

Sipapu is about a 2.5 hour drive from Albuquerque via Santa Fe, 20 miles southeast of Taos. Get directions to Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort.

If you want to stay over, Sipapu *may* still have some lodging available. Lodging is a mere few steps away from the festival stage, so it’s very convenient to run back to if you get overwhelmed by too much partying.

You might also be able to take advantage of the Sipapu lodging deal  to stay two nights and get the third night free with the promo code: ULTIMATE FREE FAMILY VACATION. That 3rd night free deal is available on hotel rooms, cabins, suites, and lodge rooms until October 17, 2013, with some blackout dates. Call 800-587-2240 for lodging info.



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