View From the Plaza

September in Santa Fe Means Food, Fiesta and Exotic Cars

Eat and exercise in equal measure, and you have the formula for a relaxing, healthful, and indulgent getaway. Wine & Chile Fiesta will keep you busy on the dining end, and we offer a menu of outings to wear out your walking shoes.      

Gourmet restaurants showcase New Mexico’s top crops, chile and wine, at the luncheons, tastings, wine seminars, and cooking demos of Wine & Chile Fiesta(Sept 24-28), culminating in the Grand Tasting (Sept 27) at the Santa Fe Opera.

This coming weekend, the uniquely Santa Fe event known as Fiesta (Sept 5-7) commemorates the reoccupation of the city by the Spanish in 1692, with a focus on the region’s Catholic faith. Events include a procession of the sacred image of La Conquistadora, Pontifical Mass, and candlelight procession after evening Mass (Sept 7). All weekend the Plaza will have craft and food booths and free entertainment. Other highlights include the Pet Parade, featuring thousands of children in costume (Sept 6), and the Gran Baile (Sept 6). For those with special interest in New Mexico’s religious art, the New Mexico History Museum is hosting a free two-day seminar (Sept 27-28) exploring images of the Virgin Mary in the Americas, with art historians and scholars, as part of the ongoing exhibit Painting the Divine: Mary in the New World.

Rare and exotic cars gather in town for the annual Santa Fe Concorso (Sept 26-28), featuring the cars of Maserati and OSCA and legends of the Brickyard. Highlights include the VIP Friday Night gathering with luminaries from the automotive world amid vintage aircraft, a signature mountain car tour, and the chance to ogle more than 100 unique high-end rides.

Runners have been training for the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon (Sept 14), a fast race that drops 1,000 feet into the Rio Grande Valley. For messier fun, join the first annual Super Spoke Cyclocross Race (Sept 20), with a kids’ event, costumed races, food trucks, bike vendors, and beer gardens. 

Costumed villagers joust, swashbuckle, juggle with fire, and drink out of large goblets at the Santa Fe Renaissance Faire (Sept 20-21) at El Rancho de las Golondrinas. It’s a renaissance fair “with a Spanish flair” at the outdoor living history museum. Come see villagers crush wine by foot, string chile ristras, and bake tortillas at the annual Harvest Festival (Oct 4-5).

It’s no exaggeration to say that you’ll eventually run into almost everyone in town at the Santa Fe Farmers Market (Sat and Tues), especially when it’s at its ripest, with New Mexico chiles, squash, and heritage beans among the mountains of fresh produce, not to mention artisan-made jams, salsas, condiments, and crafts. Help crown the champion chomp at the market (Sept 12) after weighing in online at the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown website. 


Fall art studio tours offer a good incentive to visit picturesque nearby communities, including the High Road Art Tour (Sept 20-21, 27-28) in the old villages south of Taos; the Pecos Studio Tour (Sept 27-28) just north of Santa Fe; El Rito Studio Tour (Oct 4-5) between Abiquiu and Ojo Caliente; and the Abiquiu Studio Tour (Oct 11-13) in red-rock country.

Here in town, the fourth annual AHA Festival of Progressive Arts (Sept 14) will showcase cutting-edge art, performance, and music on two stages, with food trucks, beer, and other eclectic offerings at the Railyard. Don’t forget to visit the Railyard for Last Friday Artwalk (Sept 26, Oct 31), when admission is free at SITE Santa Fe.

Painters of all levels are invited to join the 3rd annual Las Vegas Plein-air Paint Out (Oct 9-12) hosted by the Las Vegas Arts Council in this historic town an hour north of Santa Fe. This year a multi-day plein-air workshop will be offered for students with some painting experience. 


The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra opens its season with a guest conductor and two distinguished soloists in a Showcase of the Stars (Sept 14). Santa Fe Pro Musica opens its 33rd season with pianist Melissa Marse playing Beethoven (Sept 20 & 21), followed on Sunday by a dinner with the artist; the St. Lawrence String Quartet (Oct 5) will dine with fans following an afternoon concert. And Performance Santa Fe presents the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet (Oct 12). 

Serenata of Santa Fe plays rare chamber music pieces in an informal atmosphere, this month featuring music from places of conflict (Sept 20). Call the box office at 505-988-1234 for more information. A free concert of 17th and 18th-century chamber music by the Albuquerque Baroque Players (Oct 5) is part of the exhibit Painting the Divine at the New Mexico History Museum, which is free to state residents on Sundays.

Contemporary national acts coming to town include Violent Femmes (Sept 11) at the convention center; Lyle Lovett at The Downs, featuring a friendly Texas vs New Mexico chile cookoff (Sept 13); the Cajun band Steve Riley & Mamou Playboys (Sept 13); the young songwriting duo Foxygen (Sept 25), and the L.A. sextet Fitz and the Tantrums (Sept 29). Santa Fe’s own Grammy nominee Jerry Lopez plays a benefit concert (Sept 12) to raise funds for Latinos pursuing a degree in behavioral health. 

Screen & stage

Revisit one of America’s first families in a free preview screening of the 14-hour documentary The Roosevelts at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, followed by a panel discussion with the film producer (Sept 10). The National Theatre Live in HD presents Medea in a new version of Euripedes’ tragedy (Sept 11), also at the Lensic, followed by the American classic A Streetcar Named Desire, with Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois (Sept 16). For theater close to home, the one-man show Cabaret & The Spirit of Montmartre by Charles Tichenor (Sept 12-14) runs at the historic Santa Fe Playhouse, preceded by Santa Fe Fiesta Melodrama 2014 (through Sept 7), a send-up of the city’s villains and ingénues. 

The impossible contortions of the National Acrobats of China have been known stateside since the company’s 1972 visit as part of Nixon’s détente with the PRC. Their 2014 tour includes brand new material (Oct 1). 

You know Santa Fe is New Mexico’s City Different when tickets regularly sell out to scholarly talks such as the series put on by the Lannan Foundation. Coming to the Lensic Performing Arts Center are journalist Alfredo Corchado (Midnight in Mexico) with Melissa del Bosque (Sept 17), and (from another local institution), Leading by Being, a conversation with Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung, and Aaron Stern (Oct 11).

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