by Sherry Goodyear
SPRINGER — October 7, 2017 dawned clear and warm – a beautiful day for a fall festival. People from all over northern New Mexico came to set up booths and attend this highly anticipated event – the first of its kind to be held in Springer.
Roughly 200 to 300 people attended the fiesta which was held on Third Street between Maxwell and Cimarron Avenues and was sponsored by the Springer lodgers tax and the chamber of commerce.
The festival had live music provided by three bands – Purple Sage, Jonathan Castillo, and Sid Masters and the Swing Riders playing throughout the day.
In addition, there were arts and craft vendors, food vendors, a beer garden, a chili-cookoff, a pumpkin patch, an old-time photo booth, and a car show, just to name a few of the attractions. Several vendors ran out food supplies including the funnel cake booth which ran out of batter around 3:30 pm. The Colfax Ale Cellar who operated the beer garden ran out of beverages and had to make a special trip to Raton to replenish their stock for the gathering.
One of the most successful attractions of the fiesta was the pumpkin patch. Frank and Jeanie Burton donated forty pumpkins to the cause, and children of all ages were allowed to enter the contest for free. Five winners in different age categories included: ages 5-7, Jay Lee Apodaca; ages 8-10, Brenna Duran; ages 11-13, Diego Ramirez; ages 14-16, Jessie Benjamin; and over 16, Robert Faust accompanied by his three year old daughter. Winners in all categories received a five dollar gift certificate to the Dairy Delight and A BEST PUMPKIN Award Ribbon donated by Henrietta Kuhlman. The Pumpkin Patch Judge was The Great Pumpkin (Mr. Rey Lujan Gaytan) who also managed the free activity made possible by event sponsors.
The car show, co-sponsored by the Road Runner Car club and the chamber, enticed thirteen people from all over northern New Mexico who came to show off their beautiful, one-of-a-kind cars and trucks. The big winners of the car show were Manuel and Juanita Lucero with their 1969 Chevy Camaro SS for which they won the Iron Man Muscle Class, Best of Show, and Chamber’s Choice awards. Kathy and Albert Romero won People’s Choice and the Cowboy Cadillac awards for their 1964 Ford F100.
The chile cook-off competition included four entrants, and the 1st place winner was Mesa Pharmacy with 2nd place going to Albert Romero who cooked chile as he sat next to his vintage vehicle during the car show. Fiesta-goers were able to taste all the types of chile and cast their vote for their favorite which is how the winner was chosen. The winner was awarded $100.00 cash and a traveling trophy made from an up-cycled vintage fire-extinguisher donated by the Springer Fire Dept.
The old time photo booth with vintage costumes provided by Elma Olivas and other festival committee members provided an opportunity for people to put on vintage clothing and ham it up for the camera. Several families commented that this was the first family photo they had taken in years. In addition, Phil Long Ford of Raton donated three free oil changes to the festival, and the lucky winners of those were: Anthony Romero, Ray McFall, and Margaret Vigil.
Springer High School students put up booths and sold an array of delicious treats such as hotdogs and candied apples. Besides the schools and their delightful foods, there were turkey legs and barbecue beef for sale along with drinks of all kinds. The chamber also sold roughly half of their annual chile ristras they sell every year for a fund-raising event.
Landon Newton, head of the fall festival committee, was clearly elated by how well-received the festival was and has already started planning for next year. Timm Trujillo, another committee member, whose job it was to organize and recruit vendors, says he is grateful to all the people and businesses who made the event possible.
The chamber owes a special thanks to Fox Guinn of Angel Fire who lent them his stage for the band which included delivering, setting up, taking down and hauling the stage back to Angel Fire.