Return of the Sandhill Cranes Festival

November 14, 2013 by  
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The annual Return of the Sandhill Cranes celebration is back on November 16 and 17, 2013, offering plenty of free fun, including Tai Chi. (You do it with the cranes, although who knows if the cranes will join in?)

Albuquerque’s Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration this weekend at the Open Space Visitor Center gets us all in a flap on Saturday and Sunday November 16 – 17. It’s a great opportunity to join with others to see the sandhill cranes traveling south for the winter. Whenever I see the large flocks of cranes migrating along the Rio Grande Valley I’m awed by their beauty and grace.  I often want to fly away with them but I haven’t got the hang of that bit yet.

The free family event is not just about birdwatching through the viewing scopes, however. The line up includes:

  • A guided Bosque bird walk (8:30 am on Saturday) plus a couple of fly-in and fly-out walks
  • Tai Chi with the cranes at 9 am on both days
  • Silk painting demonstration at 11 am on Saturday
  • A tin punch workshop at 11:30 am on Saturday
  • Two performances of the musical Love in the Bosque by Phil Bock, about a romance between cranes who pass through Albuquerque along the Rio Grande. (Cute! The performances are on Saturday at 1:30 and 3 pm.)
  • See Wildlife Rescue birds from 10 am – 2 pm on Sunday (I always love that!)
  • The Albuquerque Origami Society – they usually get everyone making origami cranes
  • Films including Waking Up Crane and Stories of Wolves
  • Children’s games and crafts, and solar scopes for everyone!

See the full Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration 2013 schedule as some events only happen once. And check the times for anything you especially want to do, as all events are subject to change.

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.)

–Tania


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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.

–Tania

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Winter Bird and Bat Festival: January 12

January 7, 2013 by  
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The free Winter Bird and Bat Festival on Saturday gives you a chance to see live bats, and of course, plenty of birds.

Some people are scared of bats (the old “will it get caught in my hair?” fear) but I have a lot of hair, I’ve spent a lot of time around bats, and I’m the biggest wuss you can imagine when it comes to critters. I can honestly report that bats have such a finely honed navigational sense, I’ve never been zapped by one.  So I’d say no, bats don’t get caught in your hair. Unless you, like, use one for a pillow. On the other hand, I’ve also spent a lot of time around people who are quite batty, and they are much more likely to get in my hair 😉

Check the bats out for yourself at the Winter Bird and Bat Festival on Saturday January 12, 2013, at the
Rio Grande Nature Center. The free event runs from 10 am – 4 pm,  just pay the park admission fee of $3 per vehicle.

The free festival activities include:

  • Children’s crafts
  • See live raptors plus bird identification with the Audubon Society
  • Guided bird walks and nature walks
  • A talk on Birds of the Rio Grande Bosque at 11 am
  • A Live Bats’ Captive Care Workshop by a bat expert at 12:30 pm
  • A Bird Photography talk on “Photographing Sandhill Cranes” at 2 pm

See the full Winter Bird and Bat Festival schedule for 2013 in the PDF at the link.

The Rio Grande Nature Center is located at 2901 Candelaria Rd NW.

–Tania

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Sipapu Free Music on the Rocks Concert

July 27, 2012 by  
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The Music on the Rocks festival twangs up its guitar strings on Saturday August 4, 2012. It’s free for all and family-friendly.

Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort hosts the free Music on the Rocks festival, featuring live music, dancing, artists booths, a beer garden and wine tastings. (And it’s cooooool in them there mountains, in every sense of the word.)

Music on the Rocks 2012 runs on Saturday August 4 from 1 – 9 pm, and here’s the free concert line-up at time of writing:

1 pm – Jenne McIntosh who’s opened for artists including Yanni and Olivia Newton John (interesting mix!)

2:15 pm – Cali Shaw Band from Albuquerque. Cali Shaw is the co-founder of southwest funk contingent Felonious Groove Foundation.

3:30 pm – Monkey Feeders voted Best Band in Taos in 2012, and covering popular songs by artists from Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder to The Cure, Pink Floyd, and Cindy Lauper.

5:15 pm – Main Street Garage Band, a six-person pop band from Boulder.

7 pm – Taos band Last to Know funks it up as the headline act. They are officially described as “discofunkgrass” which proves to me that I am far too old. I thought that was an illegal substance.

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 (they still had a few rooms and campsites last I heard, but no doubt they’re filling fast). 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 the discofunkgrass.

You might also be able to take advantage of Sipapu lodging deals  including stay two nights and get the third night free with the promo code: ULTIMATE FREE FAMILY VACATION.

Call 800-587-2240 for lodging info.

–Tania

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Recycled Art Fair: April 21

April 18, 2012 by  
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The City of Albuquerque’s fourth annual Recycled Art Fair talks trash on April 21, 2012, with plenty of free family fun and workshops.

The Albuquerque Recycled Art Fair at the Open Space Visitor Center is on Saturday April 21 from 9 am to 5 pm, and admission is free.

First off you can see recycled art – a.k.a. upcycled art – made from discarded materials, both in the juried art show and for sale at the booths. I guess at least you know that every piece of art is unique!

The event also includes demos and free workshops on how to make your own recycled art, including a tin punch workshop, paper-making, and free writing workshop, sustainable gardening info, kids’ activities, live music and (of course) food vendors. Highlights include:

  • Kids’ creativity center and face painters
  • Workshops in composting, worm composting, water harvesting, seeds, and waterwise gardening
  • Styrofoam print workshop at 10am
  • Free reload Your Writing workshop with Lisa Piatetsky for beginning to advanced writers at 11 am
  • Chautauqua on conservationist Rachel Carson by Ann Beyke at 2 pm

The Recycled Art Fair schedule might change (or be recycled) so see the latest event details at the link.

  • When: Saturday April 21, 2012
  • Time: 9 am – 5 pm
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: Free

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.)

–Tania

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Winter Bird and Bat Festival: January 14

January 11, 2012 by  
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The free Winter Bird and Bat Festival on Saturday gives you a chance to see live bats, and of course, plenty of birds.

Some people are scared of bats (the old “will it get caught in my hair?” fear) but I have a lot of hair, I’ve spent a lot of time around bats, and I’m the biggest wuss you can imagine when it comes to critters. I can honestly report that bats have such a finely honed navigational sense, I’ve never been zapped by one.  On the other hand, I’ve also spent a lot of time around people who are quite batty, and they are much more likely to get in my hair 😉

Check the bats out for yourself at the Winter Bird and Bat Festival on Saturday January 14, 2012, at the
Rio Grande Nature Center. The free event runs from 10 am – 4 pm,  just pay the park admission fee of $3 per vehicle.

The free festival activities include:

  • Children’s crafts
  • Meet rescued wild birds
  • Bird identification
  • Guided bird walks at 9 am and 9:30 am and a nature walk at 10 am
  • A talk and slide show on Rosy-Finches of the Sandias at 11 am
  • Live bats from 12 noon to 1 pm
  • A Bird Photography talk and slideshow at 1 pm
  • Presentation on Bats of the Bosque by a UNM Bat Biologist at 2:30 pm

See the full Winter Bird and Bat Festival schedule in the PDF at the link.

The Rio Grande Nature Center is located at 2901 Candelaria Rd NW. 

–Tania

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Twinkle Light Parade and Holiday Art Festival

November 29, 2011 by  
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The Albuquerque Twinkle Light Parade takes place Saturday December 3, 2011, all nicely coordinated with the Downtown Holiday Art Festival on Civic Plaza that starts in the afternoon.

The Downtown Holiday Art Festival is yet another holiday shopping opportunity to buy from local artisans, plus Santa, and other activities for kids (last year it was jumps and face painting).  Shoppers can also enjoy free entertainment during the afternoon, before the sparkly and spangly Parade struts its stuff. I love that parade and had the greatest time last year, although my feet froze. (No blood flow south of my brains. Not much blood flow in my brains, come to mention it.)

In 2011, the Twinkle Light Parade goes backwards… by which I don’t mean that the floats and lowriders reverse along the route, but that they’re starting on Tingley Drive and ending up at Civic Plaza, which makes a lot of sense.  So here’s what to expect:

The Holiday Art Festival on December 3 runs from 3 pm – 9 pm at Harry E. Kinney Civic Plaza, and here’s the line-up of live entertainment:

  • 3 pm – West Mesa High School Chorus
  • 3:45 – Victorian Carolers
  • 4:30 – Valley High School Chorus
  • 5:15 – Harmonicats
  • 6 pm – Sandia High School Chorus
  • 6:45 – Catherine McGill
  • 8 pm – Albuquerque Concert Band

The Twinkle Light Parade starts glitzing at 5:15 pm at Tingley Drive/Central Avenue, proceeding east along Central, and turning on Third Street to end at Civic Plaza at around 8:30.

Obviously there will be disruptions to traffic access in the area, and it could be a bit of a bun fight getting there and finding area parking if you leave it too late. Expect to pay $6 at the City parking lots.

And if you have a donation of a new or gently used child’s coat to offer, the Department of Family and Community Services will be pleased to accept it at the Holiday Art Festival information booth from 3 – 9 pm, for Albuquerque families in need.

Don’t forget about the free Casa San Ysidro Noche de Luces event in Corrales. It’s also on Saturday evening between 5-8 pm and overlaps with the Twinkle Light Parade, so you’ll probably have to pick one holiday celebration or another, unless you have a handy sleigh to fly between the two.

–Tania

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Return of the Sandhill Cranes Festival

November 7, 2011 by  
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The annual Return of the Sandhill Cranes celebration is back on November 12 and 13, 2011, offering plenty of free fun, including Tai Chi. (You do it with the cranes, although who knows if the cranes will join in?)

Albuquerque’s Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration this weekend at the Open Space Visitor Center is a great opportunity to join with others to see the thousands of sandhill cranes traveling south for the winter. Whenever I see the large flocks of cranes migrating along the Rio Grande Valley, I’m awed by their beauty and grace.  I often want to fly away with them too, but I haven’t got the hang of that bit.

The free family event is not just about bird spotting through the viewing scopes, however. The line up includes:

  • Tai Chi with the cranes
  • Make origami cranes with the Albuquerque Origami Society
  • Storytelling and talks
  • Live music
  • Guided nature walk
  • Kids’ activities
  • Performances of the musical Love in the Bosque by Phil Bock, about a romance between cranes who pass through Albuquerque along the Rio Grande. (Cute!)
  • Silk Paint Demonstrations with Judith Roderick (we’re told registrations are required to guarantee your place for that)
  • Art opening of Birds of New Mexico, by Paul Rodenhauser

See the full Return of the Sandhill Crane Celebration schedule as some events only happen once over the weekend. (And all events are subject to change.)

  • When: Saturday November 12 and Sunday November 13, 2011
  • Time: 9 am – 5 pm each day
  • Where: Open Space Visitor Center
  • Price: Free

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.)

–Tania

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Free Festival: We Art The People

September 8, 2011 by  
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We Art the People? Yes we art.

The We Art the People free festival of folk art goes arty this Sunday September 11, 2011, from 10 am – 4 pm.  Organized by the OffCenter Community Arts Project, it’s a day of family fun at Robinson Park, including a giant puppet parade, live entertainment, and (of course) lots of art to browse and buy with more than 100 folk arts and crafts vendors, and the chance to make art yourself.

We Art the People festival highlights include:

  • Giant puppet parade at 11 am
  • Community art for adults and kids to make their own creations
  • White elephant sale
  • Baked goods sale
  • Live music and entertainment on two stages, with tribal belly dancing, Hawaiian dancing, and Aztec dancers, and music from bands including Cajun rhythm and blues from Joe Daddy and Hoodoo Jeff’s Swamp Fried Duo. That’s a name to conjure with…. talking of which, there are also magic acts, fortune tellers, and face painting.

The full We Art the People schedule gives music performance times, and the free festival runs from 10 am – 4 pm on Sunday September 11.

Robinson Park is located in Downtown Albuquerque at 801 Central NW, at 8th Street and Central Avenue.

–Tania

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Sipapu Free Music on the Rocks Concert

July 27, 2011 by  
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The Music on the Rocks festival twangs up its guitar strings on Saturday July 30, 2011. It’s free for all and family-friendly.

Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort hosts the free Music on the Rocks festival, featuring live music, dancing, artists booths, and free wine tastings by La Chiripada Winery of Dixon.

Music on the Rocks 2011 runs on Saturday July 30 from 10 am till 7:30 pm, and here’s the free concert line-up at time of writing:

  • 10 am – Taos singer/songwriter Carl Struck.
  • 11 am – The Steady Rollers
  • 12 noon – Albuquerque’s own Prudy Dimas and Leah Black
  • 1 pm – Gravestoned
  • 2 pm – Jenne McIntosh who’s opened for artists including Yanni and Olivia Newton John (interesting mix!)
  • 3 pm – Rocking country dance tunes from Chris Morel and Charlie Whaler
  • 4:30 pmMain Street Garage Band, a six-person pop band from Boulder
  • 6 pm – Taos band Last to Know funks it up as the headline act

Free wine tastings from La Chiripada Winery & Vineyard start at noon.

Sipapu is about a 2.5 hour drive from Albuquerque via Santa Fe, 20 miles southeast of Taos.

If you want to stay over, they *may* still have some of their Sipapu lodging deals  available (they still had a few rooms last we heard, but no doubt they’re filling fast.) Offers include stay one night and get the second night free in the motel through August 31, and stay two nights and get the third night free in various lodging options, to August 7.  As far as I can see, there are no blackout dates ove the music festival weekend. Call them on 800-587-2240 for lodging info.

–Tania

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I WISH YOU A GOOD LIFE.