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Alumbra de Questa!

Outdoor Christmas Market

December 10 & 11, 2016 10am - 6pm Crafts, from the traditional to the exquisitely modern, favorite drinks and treats, music, farolito walk, Santa, and more! For more information and full event calendar for December, go to or call Dina at 575-586-0694





Katahrine Egli

ACEQ in Arroyo Seco


A path well lit The tradition of farolitos and luminarias


In the spirit of the season Festival of Trees is back


Beasts of burden, beasts of Christmas The humble donkey


Santa Paws Christmas for the critters


Gatherings aglow More favorite events at a glance


Mountains aglow Torchlight parades and fireworks


The Luminaria Ski Tour By the light of many candles


Holiday Fiesta For the child within the child


The spirit of place Holidays at Taos Pueblo


Holiday terms En Español


‘Tis the season for sweets The crispy, cinnamon biscochito


Staying out of the kitchen Let Taos chefs do the cooking over the holidays


‘Tis the season for stew Slow-simmered savory posole


Ride on the Christmas Train

On the cover: “A Visitor from Afar,” painting by Taos artist Richard Alan Nichols


Robin Martin, owner • Chris Baker, publisher • Damon Scott, editor Chris Wood, advertising manager • Scott Gerdes, special sections editor Michelle M. Gutierrez, lead editorial designer • Karin Eberhardt, production manager Katharine Egli, photographer




Stages aglow More favorite events at a glance


The lesson, the longevity of Los Pastores A gift to the community


Cultural traditions aglow More favorite events at a glance


Holiday calendar

The traditional Christmastime play Los Pastores.

Katahrine Egli


Posole, tamales and crispy biscochitos. Luminarias, torchlights and flickering farolitos. Christmastime carolers gather to sing — these are a few of our favorite things.

When days shorten and nights grow cold, simply remember the lights around Taos Plaza and this season will be gold. Holiday festivities in Taos typically commence at Thanksgiving, but December is the true Yule month. In the Northern Hemisphere, Winter Solstice — the shortest day of the year — falls on Dec. 21 at exactly 3:44 a.m. MST. Historical credit for celebrating a 12-day “midwinter” holiday called Yule, that later became known as Winter Solstice, is given to pagan Scandinavian and Germanic people of northern Europe. Many modern Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, the Yule log and others, are direct descendants of Yule customs. Centuries before

Christ, people brought green vegetation into their homes as a symbol of the return of life at the start of winter’s decline. In Taos, those customs are prominent as are those that are more uniquely Northern New Mexican, such as torchlight parades and fireworks at area ski resorts, historic folk drama performances, Lighting Ledoux, Bent Street Bonfires, and at Taos Pueblo, matachines or deer dance and the magical Christmas Eve procession. Add snowfall, crackling piñon fires, menorahs and donkeys and you’ve ventured into a colorful, traditional and entertaining place to spend the holidays. ¡Feliz Navidad y felices fiestas!

— Scott Gerdes, special sections editor

From all of us at Kit Carson Electric, Kit Carson Energy and Kit Carson Telecom

Feliz Navidad



By Scott Gerdes


The tradition of farolitos and luminarias There is a long-standing joke that goes, “You know you are a New Mexican when your Christmas decorations include red chiles, a half-ton of sand and 200 paper bags.” It rings the truth and, well, we like our holiday season dressed up that way. Really, what’s not to like? Snowy

File photo/Tina Larkin Lighting farolitos in the Plaza.



walkways, driveways, edges of rooftops and churchyard walls lined with the soft, enchanting glow of farolitos — small paper bags filled with sand for stability, and in the center of each a small votive candle. The lighting of the candles is a social event, and the result encapsulates the beauty and

peace of the season. In the Hispano and Pueblo cultures of the Southwest, the farolito’s bigger cousin is the luminaria — a bonfire built from a pile of pitch wood roughly square, anywhere from 3 to 4 feet high. Pitch wood, also called ocote, is a highly resinous pine

wood. It burns brightly and gives off welcomed heat on brisk evenings during Christmas events.

since it is the Spanish word for a candle (candela), but not the term used aquí en el Norte.

“Farolito” literally translates as a small lantern. People from other parts of the Southwest might contend that these guiding lights should be referred to as candelarias, which isn’t far-fetched

So why light these candles and large piles of wood? Certainly, beauty and warmth are reasons, but tradition is at the heart of it. TRADITION continues on Page 8


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TRADITION continues from Page 6

It has to do with the symbolic commemoration of special events. Lighting farolitos and luminarias on the evenings approaching Christmas recall the tradition of the conditions of Christ’s birth. To the faithful,

Lighting farolitos and luminarias on the evenings approaching Christmas recall the tradition of the conditions of Christ’s birth. burning farolitos and luminarias are a symbolic gesture of lighting

the way for el Santo Niño (Holy Christ child). The light is to

help guide him through the darkness of a cold winter’s night toward a safe haven. These lights also commemorate the journey Joseph and Mary made all those centuries ago searching for shelter. Christmas after Christmas,

farolitos and luminarias represent community and celebratory gatherings. They represent a protected path to a warm, if humble, space in which to embrace and emulate hope, joy and the promise of peace and goodwill.

File photo/Rick Romancito Every Christmas Eve, luminarias (bonfires) are built and lit at Taos Pueblo for the Procession of the Virgin.






Festival of Trees is back One of Taos County’s biggest charity events, the Festival of Trees and Wreaths, took a hiatus in 2015 after 14 straight years of benefitting the widest range of causes, from homeless animals to victims of violence and local museums.

On Dec. 2, the event, renamed Festival of Trees, returns. A special preview reception will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. prior to the public gala occurring from 6 to 10 p.m. All events will be held at El Monte Sagrado Resort.

Sponsors and their teams decorate a tree or a wreath, which will be bid on during a silent auction. Proceeds from this year’s event, resurrected by DreamTree Project, will benefit organizations serving children and youth in Taos.

Tickets for the preview reception are $45, which includes complimentary parking at El Monte Sagrado, a special holiday cocktail created by nationally renowned mixologist Michael Trujillo, or wine or beer and hors d’oeuvres. The featured vino is

Dream Tree Winery owned by the Dave Matthews Band leader, Dave Matthews. Local musician Jimmy Stadler will provide a private serenade of holiday music. The silent auction begins during the SPIRIT continues on Page 12

Festival of Trees returns Dec. 2 at El Monte Sagrado.



File photo/Tina Larkin



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preview reception, giving guests a chance to bid early on their favorite trees and wreaths, with up to 60 to choose from. Some special trees may be set aside for a live auction before the doors are opened to the gala event. The preview reception ticket includes admittance into the gala event, which is $20 if not attending the preview reception. Band music, appetizers and a drink ticket are included in the $20 gala-only admission price. From 6 to 10 p.m., guests can meander amongst the creative and beautifully adorned trees and wreaths and place silent bids. There will also be a raffle ($5 per ticket or $20 for five tickets) with prizes and photos with Saint Nick. Due to limited parking, a complimentary shuttle van will transport guests to and from the public parking area just down the road at the corner of Quesnel and Kit Carson Road. Net proceeds will be equally dispersed between eight local organizations benefitting Taos’ children and youth: DreamTree Project, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Youth Heartline, Bridges for Education, Twirl, Café Scientifique, Taos Winter Sports Team and Big Brothers Big Sisters. The event was created by The Taos News in 2000 to bring the community together in the spirit of the season. — Staff report

File photo/Tina Larkin Guests will have up to 60 specially decorated trees from which to bid on. Net proceeds from Festival of Trees will be distributed to eight local organizations. 12


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By Ruth Bourgeois


The humble donkey One of our favorite animals linked to Christmas is the humble little donkey. It has been said that the donkey is the animal most closely connected than any other to the Christian faith and that donkeys, longtime beasts of burden, are referenced more in the Bible than any other animals. There is no actual proof that Mary rode a donkey to the little town of Bethlehem, or that a donkey was stabled nearby where the baby Jesus lay in a manger, but these legends are a part of the mysticism and attraction that we have with these gentle, adorable



animals. Donkeys hold a special place in our hearts. They are gentle, smart and lovable, popular as pets and companions to horses, providing a calming influence with their gentle dispositions. They can be fiercely protective and often serve as guardians of herds of sheep, goats or other livestock, chasing away predators like coyotes. In many parts of the world, donkeys are still used as beasts of burden, as pack animals, pulling carts, carrying heavy loads and DONKEY continues on Page 16

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for riding. Donkeys and burros are the same animals. Donkey typically refers to the domesticated animal and burro refers to the wild, untamed ones. Burro is the Spanish word for donkey, and a burrito is a small donkey. Donkeys come in three sizes — miniatures that range in height from 28 to 36 inches at the shoulder, medium (standard) that are 37 to 54 inches tall, and large (mammoth), over 54 inches. There are many breeds of donkeys within these size ranges, with varying characteristics.

A Christmas song “Little Donkey” Little donkey, little donkey on the dusty road Got to keep on plodding onwards with your precious load Been a long time, little donkey, through the winter’s night Don’t give up now, little donkey Bethlehem’s in sight. One of the most common misconceptions about donkeys is that people think they are stubborn, dumb or lazy because

people compare them to horses. Donkeys are a different species of equines. They think more. They can figure out solutions to problems and make decisions. If they are confused, they simply stop what they are doing and try to figure out what to do. They are very capable of learning if they trust their handler, and they make great therapy animals. Bindy, a miniature donkey, our little burrito, is the mascot of Equine Spirit Sanctuary (ESS). He is a gentle soul. He loves kids and will stand like a statue for people in wheelchairs to brush and pet him. Bindy’s claim to fame is

that he was the recipient of the Milagro Animal Award from Animal Protection of New Mexico, a big honor given to him in recognition of his outstanding courage and compassion. Bindy has been a resident of ESS since its inception in 2005. He is a wonderful teacher and companion. Just ask anyone who has met Bindy or seen him at work. Bindy sets a fine example of the qualities that have made donkeys valued since the birth of Jesus, like the little donkey that was said to carry Mary safely to Bethlehem and the donkey who watched over the baby Jesus, to the donkey that carried Jesus many years later into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Legend has it that the donkey that carried Jesus on Palm Sunday followed him to Calvary. The donkey wanted to help him carry the cross, but he was pushed away. The donkey grieved when Jesus was placed upon the cross. When the cross was raised and the donkey turned to leave, the shadow from the cross fell upon his back and shoulders where it remains there today, a testimony of the love and loyalty of this little donkey. Bindy is gray in color and, like all of his species, has the distinctive dark cross marking on his shoulders and back. As we celebrate Christmas and enjoy the many

traditions and inspiration of the season, we are blessed with feelings of good will. We wish that the sentiments of the holiday — hope, compassion, gratitude, generosity and good will towards all — will continue after the holiday has passed. Perhaps we should take a lesson from the enduring, humble little donkeys. They have much to teach us, if we are open to their wisdom. Christmas can last all year long, in our hearts and souls. Bindy believes that and he and his little donkey buddy, Marley, welcome all to ESS to experience the magic that a simple little donkey can offer.

Kris Gallegos The humble donkey — such as Bindy and Marley from Equine Spirit Sanctuary — has a lasting connection to Christianity.



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By Scott Gerdes


Christmas for the critters They come trotting alongside their humans feeling something is in the air — something possibly of the treat variety, a dog play date or even better, of the Jolly St. Nick persuasion. They come in elf hats and red coats. They come with jingle bells dangling from their collars. They come to pose with Santa and get a chance to tell him about the bones and chew toys they want this Christmas. And for some lucky cats and dogs, it’s the day they’ll meet their forever families.

This is Santa Paws — a holiday event to include our animal friends, including those from Stray Hearts Animal Shelter. This event was started by Art and Susan Bachrach shortly after they opened Moby Dickens Bookshop in 1984. It is held every year from noon to 4 p.m. to coincide with Bonfires on Bent Street. This year, that day is Saturday, Dec. 10. A photographer will be on hand to take pictures of humans with their pets, and the donation paid for the photo (to be

determined) goes to Stray Hearts. Complimentary hot beverages and cookies are served, and there are bonfires for people to circle around while they visit with new and old friends. Stray Hearts will bring some dogs that are available for adoption — and some cats if it’s not freezing outside — and the public is welcome to take the dogs for a walk to get to know them (with a Stray Hearts volunteer, so there’s nothing to be nervous about).

This year has been especially transformative for Stray Hearts. The foster-to-adopt program was revamped; No animal leaves the shelter now without being spayed or neutered, thus eliminating a deposit from the foster person(s). The final paperwork is now delayed until the foster family has assessed whether the animal is a good fit. Spaying and neutering is a constant goal, but another major objective of the shelter, as explained by Acting Executive

Director Diane Padoven, is the reduction of animals at Stray Hearts. There’s been a marked drop in the number of dogs at the shelter since August, even with daily intakes. That is in large part due to the transferring of animals to Colorado, and other states, on a weekly basis instead of periodically. Animals are often adopted within days when taken to communities with higher populations. Stray Hearts also has a trainer on hand, Jane Gerard, who helps assess

the animals and works with the dogs. Training for staff and volunteers has also been increased. There’s always more work to do and more animals to help. Padoven said Stray Hearts always needs financial support from the community and they “are working as hard as we can to reduce costs.” If you don’t have a pet companion or can’t bring them along, you can still donate. Here’s to a very canine and kitty Christmas.

File photo/Tina Larkin Friends and their dogs pose with Paul “Santa Paws” Becker in the John Dunn House Shops during a past Bonfires on Bent Street annual block party and Stray Hearts fundraiser. 18


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Gatherings Aglow More favorite events at a glance

30TH ANNUAL YULETIDE CAROLING AND TREE LIGHTING Get into the holiday spirit when the one-of-a-kind 2016 Taos “Yuletide” season officially kicks off with the 30th annual lighting of the towering Town Christmas tree, the Electric Light Parade and local entertainment at Historic Taos Plaza on Dec. 2 from 4-6 p.m. With live music on tap, join Taos Mayor Dan Barrone at this community event along with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, who will be back to hand out Christmas stockings stuffed with goodies. Keep an eye out for the Grinch, as he’s an annual sleigh stowaway. The free event culminates in the countdown and the mayor’s lighting of the white fir tree that was a gift from Taos Pueblo to the citizens of Taos. Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cookies while strolling the Plaza shops who

will remain open. Vehicles are not allowed on the Plaza during this event. Special parking arrangements will be provided for people requiring ADA access. More parking is available at nearby Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. (575) 758-3873, LIGHTING LEDOUX If Norman Rockwell were still alive, he would undoubtedly be inspired to paint a Taos “Americana” holiday scene and that scene would be the Lighting of Ledoux. This popular, charming, unpretentious local block party takes place Dec. 3 starting at 5 p.m. on historic Ledoux Street. The narrow thoroughfare glows with the magical light from farolitos and luminarias. The streets’ galleries, shops and museums are open, offering holiday food and drink. People gather around the fires

Katharine Egli From left to right, the lighting of the town Christmas tree on Taos Plaza is set for Dec.2; Taos’ block party of the seasn, Lighting Ledoux, is Dec. 3; and the Bonfires on Bent Street celebration will be held Dec. 10.



and share their stories in the cool starlit night. Santa Claus will make a special visit to the Harwood Museum offering goodies for the kids at 5:30 p.m. While visitors are welcome and encouraged to attend, Lighting Ledoux is known for signaling to Taoseños that the holiday season in Taos has begun. Just as Lighting Ledoux lets us know that the holidays are here, being at the historic Ledoux District reminds you that you’re in Taos. The Ledoux Street area — a crooked, narrow road tucked away just west of Taos Plaza — was originally built in a fortress style. It is lined with authentic adobe structures, most of which date back to the territorial era. Beautifully painted doors, window panes and entrance gates please the eye. This is old Taos, as pure as winter’s snow. (877) 587-9007,

BONFIRES ON BENT STREET The annual Bonfires on Bent Street celebration — this is the 28th year — is always held close to the winter solstice. From Neolithic times, gathering and feasts have been a traditional part of solstice celebrations, a way of sharing and giving thanks for all that we are given. On Saturday, Dec. 10, the Bent Street merchants will once again joyously join with the John Dunn Shops to host this all-day holiday celebration that has become a tradition in Taos. Bent Street will be closed to traffic for familyfriendly strolling and all the shops will be open and decorated for Christmas. Throughout the day, warm yourself by cheery bonfires and visit with friends while you enjoy refreshments, music, shopping and holiday cheer. Also this year, Bent Street merchant Mudd N Flood Mountain Shop will host a

“Smorgasbord of S’mores” on Upper and Lower Bent Street. People can choose their favorite s’more flavor from Nutella, raspberry or chocolate. Mudd N Flood is returning their annual Wheel of Fortune, where customers spin for great gifts. The main reception will be from 4–7 p.m. Farolitos (candle-lit paper bags) will glow and there will be an offering of free food and beverages. This celebration and feast is offered by the 40 Bent Street and John Dunn galleries, restaurants and shops to thank everyone for their friendship and support all year, to make new friends, and to celebrate the light within and without. (877) 587-9007,

GATHERINGS continues on Page 22


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GATHERINGS continues from Page 20

ALUMBRA DE QUESTA The 2nd annual Christmas Craft Market in Questa on Dec 10-11 features a wonderful variety of regional arts and crafts from paintings to pottery, and festive food such as tamales, biscochitos and Mexican hot chocolate. In the European tradition, the weekend event will stay open until just after dark to enjoy the unique vision of thousands

of fairy lights and hundreds of farolitos lining the center of town. Questa merchants will be open with shops decorated for the season while hosting more fun activities. Contact Dina Coleman at (575) 586-0694 or email ONGOING STORYTELLING BY THE FIREPLACE Palacio de Marquesa and Heritage Inspirations present their

Katharine Egli The Claus family spreads Christmas cheer during a past Alumbra de Questa Christmas Crafts Market.



Taos Winter Tours Series with their inaugural Local Flavor of Taos Storytelling by the Fireplace Series. Taos comes alive through the rich storytelling with these colorful characters and their lively voices, and hosts Heritage Inspirations owner Angelisa Espinoza and Palacio de Marquesa General Manager Asia Golden have invited dynamic, sensational and entertaining locals to offer an experience to become a part of

the magic of Taos. Enjoy an intimate setting by the fireplace at the romantic, historic hacienda Palacio de Marquesa including a wine and cheese reception with a local classical guitar performer, a delicious regional dinner in the intimate living room prepared by your hosts and a storytelling experience. This series will run Friday nights during November and December, with the exception of November

25. The cost of attendance is $165 per person; ask about special pricing for children 12 years old and under. 4:30 p.m. — Wine reception with live music 5:30 p.m. — Storytelling with a Q&A 6:30 p.m. — Dinner Call Heritage Inspirations at (575) 779-5516 to reserve your spot around the fireplace.

Make 500 C hristmas Wishes Come True!

7th Annual Toy Drive JOIn uS FOR OuR

This year we are proud to partner with Taos Lions Club and KTAOS Solar Community Radio! Bring $5 or more to Friday Motors between now and Dec. 16 and enter to win one of these great prizes in the daily drawings:

• $250 gift certificate from Friday Motors • $200 Kit Carson Electric gift certificate • $200 Kit Carson Propane gift certificate • $100 pre-paid utility of your choice from Century 21 Success • $100 pre-paid gas card from Joella Montoya’s Farmers’ Insurance • $100 pre-paid card of your choice from the Double D Ranch • $100 gift certificate to High Altitude Athletics • $100 gift certificate to Cid’s Food Market • Taos Twist’s six 5-piece place settings ($324 value) • Gift certificate from Dr. Kellie Harris • Pre-paid debit card from Peoples Bank • $100 KTAO Solar Bucks ...and more!

Bring in $5 and get one ticket toward the drawings. Donate $20, which will sponsor a whole box for a child, and get 5 tickets!

Since 2010, Over 7,000 Christmas presents donated and given to our children in Taos County.

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Torchlight parades and fireworks It is quite the spectacle — a stunning site of celebratory streams of red, orange or blue flames slithering down a slope like a snake weaving around rocks. This is a torchlight parade and anyone who has been at a ski resort on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve has probably witnessed or heard about it. Combining the thrill of snow sports with the festivity of the season, these parades herald in the tides of grand skiing and good cheer.

Typically, 60 Taos Ski Valley (TSV) staff — mostly ski patrol and ski instructors — take 20-minute safety flares in hand and glide down the difficult Snakedance run against the dark sky backdrop. It began as a New Year’s Eve celebration. It’s popularity at TSV led to a parade honoring the birthday of TSV founder Ernie Blake on March 8. TSV’s New Year’s Eve commences with a laser light show at 5:45 p.m.,

followed by the parade. A fireworks show follows the run. There will not be a Christmas Eve torchlight parade this season at TSV. The birth of the torchlight parade is credited to former TSV volunteer Clifford Chase nearly 40 years ago. In 2013, Blake’s daughter, Adriana Blake, told The Taos News about Chase’s idea, “I don’t think anyone would dispute that the original torchlight parade was his inspiration. Ernie Blake liked the idea, but

Clifford made it happen. He ran it until he couldn’t ski anymore.” Red River Ski Area adds a parade on Christmas Eve along with a New Year’s Eve parade beginning at 7 p.m., as does Angel Fire Resort (6-7 p.m. on both eves), so no matter which resort in the Moreno Valley you find yourself in during the holidays, there’s a magical show waiting in the wings. Red River takes the event a step further by hosting

torchlight parades most Saturdays at 7 p.m., during the ski season and during spring break. For more than 30 years, expert skiers wind down the black diamond run, “The Face,” which can be seen from anywhere in the old mining town, but best viewed from the Lift House Bar and Grill at the base. Anyone who can confidently ski The Face can join in. Angel Fire Resort ‘s parade helped kick off the inaugural season for night

skiing and snowboarding at the Moreno Valley resort in 2009. Angel Fire’s Christmas Eve event is about 2 hours long and includes a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus and fireworks. The Angel Fire torchlight parade on New Year’s Eve also concludes with a fireworks display. During times of revelry, the mountains must be part of the party. — Staff report

Courtesy Angel Fire Resort The New Year is celebrated with flair at Angel Fire.



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By Scott Gerdes


By the light of many candles Cadenced skating on freshly waxed cross-country skis, zipping along a lighted trail in the Northern New Mexico mountains, when a beautiful, yet haunting, noise stops you in your tracks. The singing from a pack of coyotes engulfs the chilly high desert night air. Steam forms a spire off your body as you bend an ear, spellbound at the chance meeting with nature. When the chorus ends, you continue on with the light of flickering

Luminaria Ski Tour Dec. 25 • 6:30 p.m. Tour Prices: $15, $10 Child (12 and under) $5 Rental Skis or Snowshoes Online reservation form at Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area, 29 Sangre de Cristo Dr., Red River (575) 754-6112 luminarias (technically farolitos in Northern New

Mexico) guiding your way. Coyotes are shy and are not a guaranteed encounter, but many have discovered cross-country skiing at night is a thing of splendor, very different from a daylight ski on the same trails. On Christmas night at Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski area, skiers can glide through woods or trek on snowshoes under the soft glow of the moon accented with paper bags filled with sand holding a single votive candle, spying their shadows playing

ahead of them. Those who have cross-country skied at night say it’s like skiing in a dream. Just outside Red River, at Enchanted Forest you can partake in such an experience. New this Christmas, the trail — the distance of the one-way loop depends on trail conditions, but is typically a couple of kilometers — will meander its way to a new warming yurt at Sven Wiik and Little John trails. “I know Geoff Goins (the cross-country ski area

co-owner) would love to have it go out to the warming yurt (about 1 kilometer) but that’s a lot of candles,” said co-owner Ellen Miller. “People ski or snowshoe, then come inside to warm up and enjoy free drinks, posole, green child stew, fudge, cookies and other goodies.” (A yurt is a circular tent of structural fabrics on a collapsible framework, modernized from nomadic use in Mongolia, Siberia and Turkey.) Miller’s parents, John

and Judy Miller, founded Enchanted Forest in 1985. The tour begins at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 25. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available. Tour price for adults is $15, $10 for children 12 and under. An online reservation form can be found at Enchanted Forest is located just 3 miles east of Red River, New Mexico, on State Highway 38 in the Carson National Forest — a short 45-minute drive from Taos.

Courtesy Enchanted Forest Cross-country skiing by the light of the season.



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For the child within the child In the sprit of the Millicent Rogers Museum namesake, on Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., children are invited to use their imaginations within an environment that celebrates

their culture. This will be the19th Holiday Fiesta Community Day. The free, popular event is dedicated to the kids and features

File photo Taos Youth Ballet will perform during the 19th annual Holiday Fiesta at Millicent Rogers Museum on Dec. 3. 28


performances by the youth of our community, face painting, flower fairy ornament making, a wish tree so everyone can request their Christmas wish, God’s Eye ornaments, card

creating, retablo painting, a Chanukah Room, and Santa and Mrs Claus. The museum hopes to still have free pictures taken with Santa this year, but are also encouraging selfies

with him. Parents should bring their own camera or phone. Performers include the Taos Suzuki Violin School, Mariachi Jaguar Encantado, Los NiĂąos Bailadores and the Taos

Youth Ballet. The town of Taos Fiesta Royalty court will also come to visit. The museum used to host three Community FIESTA continues on Page 32

From Our Family to yours

Century 21 wishes all of Taos Happy Holidays

Each officE indEpEndEntly ownEd & opEratEd







FIESTA continues on Page 28

Days a year, including on Halloween and a spring Folk Life Festival. The Halloween and Holiday Fiestas were too close to each other and were a struggle for staff and volunteers to put on. The Folk Life Festival was held in May and that is a very busy month in Taos. All three free Community Days had some aspect of

artist demos and crafts for the kids. “Holiday Fiesta is the one we have continued to host because it was always the most popular,” said Carmela Quinto, Millicent Rogers Museum curator of collections and museum coordinator. “Because of the time of year, Holiday Fiesta is all indoors, so we can still have it if the weather is bad. There

19th Annual Holiday Fiesta Dec. 3 • 11 a.m.-3 p.m. A free community arts- and crafts-making event featuring live performances by local music and dance groups at Millicent Rogers Museum, 1504 Millicent Rogers Rd. (575) 758-2462, wasn’t enough room for the demonstrators and the arts and crafts. The adults liked the demos, but we want to focus on our kids. We want them to be able to come

the materials are donated by the volunteers who are working on the project. Board members help sponsor the event.

in and work with their hands.”

While painting and gluing, smiling and giggling, the children may or may not notice the art on the museum’s walls and that’s okay.

About 35 museum volunteers bring the event to life every year. Most of

“We want them to feel like this is a place where they can come and be a

part of what makes this museum special,” Quinto said. “Once in a while, we see a child notice something in a case that they recognize. Maybe it reminds them of something or someone in their lives. It validates who they are, their culture and that they are important, and they are part of the community that makes up Taos.” — Staff report

File photo Mariachi Jaguar Encantado will perform during the 19th annual Holiday Fiesta at Millicent Rogers Museum on Dec. 3.



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By Scott Gerdes

THE SPIRIT OF PLACE Holidays at Taos Pueblo In times of uncertainty and feelings of division, the holidays can orchestrate a song of unity and hope. Maybe nowhere is that more evident than at Taos Pueblo on Christmas Eve. Unchanged and unmatched in wonder and drama, Taos Pueblo holds the Procession of the Virgin Mary celebration where friends, relatives and visitors gather in the Pueblo plaza around towering luminarias in anticipation of the annual Christmas Eve tradition. The celebration begins around dusk after the 4 p.m. vespers and Communion at San Geronimo Chapel. The scent of burning ocote wood permeates the dark winter air like incense. Startling gunshots are heard, as Pueblo men fire hunting rifles toward the stars as part of the tradition of welcoming La Nocha Buena (the good night) and La Navidad (Christmas — the birth of Christ).

‘IT’S AN EXPRESSION OF HOPE THAT CONNECTS OUR COLLECTIVE PAST AND THE PRESENT...’ ­ – RICK ROMANCITO Once the riflemen signal the birth of Christ, they part the crowd to allow passage for the procession featuring a statue of the Virgin Mary hoisted high upon a dais. Accompanying the procession are Pueblo drummers, dancers and female singers — singing in English and Tiwa — as Mary is returned to the church. Tempo Editor Rick Romancito of The Taos News best articulates the purpose and magic of the procession: “It’s an

expression of hope that connects our collective past and the present, a visual cue that all is still vital and well in the world, and a spiritual jolt to the senses that makes real the sacred, pagan, native and secular bond between us all.” Then on Christmas Day, visitors are invited to watch the year’s chosen symbolic animal dance or los matachinas dancedrama around 1 p.m. The meaning behind the animal dance is consecrated among the Pueblo people, and it’s considered

impolite to inquire about it. Photography is strictly prohibited. It is hoped that witnesses take away a positive, inspired feeling and a lasting memory in one’s mind and heart as opposed to images. These celebrations are sacred to the Red Willow people of Taos Pueblo. Any chance of these celebrations being imitated or profited from, are guarded against. For more celebration, the Turtle Dance is held on Jan. 1, typically at dawn. The dance marks the beginning of a new year. As

the date approaches, call Taos Pueblo at (575) 7581028 for exact time. All of these events are offered free to visitors. All that is asked is that there be no cameras, cell phones or any recording device. Be sure to come early, and make your way around this historic place and the many unique shops held within featuring Nativemade handcrafted works from jewelry to pottery to kachina dolls. All items are tax-free. Winter hours at the Pueblo are generally 8 a.m.

to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. This time of year is one of the most memorable, inspirational and humbling times to experience the rich culture and atmosphere that is this ancient, sacred land of Taos Pueblo — the true caretaker and spiritual center of Taos Valley. For more information and visitor rules of etiquette, call (575) 758-1028 or go online to

Clockwise from top: Smoke from the bonfires cast colorful shadows on the annual Christmas Eve Procession of the Virgin at Taos Pueblo; Pueblo participants hold up the torches that will light the way; a participant carries a torch back to the fire where the annual Procession of the Virgin began during a past Christmas Eve. Photos by Tina Larkin. Permission was granted to shoot these photos during a previous matachines dance. Otherwise, all photography and recording is strictly prohibited. 34


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File photo/Tina Larkin

A Christmas tradition in many cultures — the picking out of the perfect un árbol de Navidad (Christmas tree) and guirnalda (garland).

HOLIDAY TERMS, EN ESPAÑOL The culture of Northern New Mexico has been strongly influenced by the region’s Native and Hispanic heritages. As such, even the vocabulary of the holidays can take on an almost foreign feeling for the average visitor.

leader in the play “Los Pastores.” • Belén: Bethlehem • Biscochitos: Homemade, anise-flavored cookies that are a staple in many New Mexican households during the holidays.

Many of the terms in this guide, for instance, have their origins in our Spanish culture. With that in mind, here is a glossary of seasonal terms you’ll want to learn in order to further enjoy the holiday season in Taos. • Bartolo: The shepard


• Chile verde, chile colorado: Green chile, red chile. • Chocolate casero: Homemade hot chocolate. • Dando los Días: New Year’s Eve singing that honors neighbors and friends.


• Día de Accíon de Gracias: Thanksgiving Day. • Emanuel: Emmanuel, the newborn savior, i.e. Jesus. • Empanaditas: Sweet turnovers made with mince meat, piñon, raisins and spices. • Farolitos: Little candles in paper bags that line roads and buildings (in the southern part of the state, a farolito is a bonfire). • Feliz Navidad: Merry Christmas. • Los Comanches: The

Comanches, but also a variety of Hispanicized Plains and nomadic Native American singing, dancing and drumming that takes place on New Year’s Day in Ranchos de Taos. • Los Matachines: The literal translation is “masked dancers,” but it is also the name of a dance-drama performed at Christmas by Pueblo Indians, and sometimes by Hispanic villagers. • Los Pastores: “Shepherds,” but in the holiday context it is a

Spanish-language play about the shepherds going to Bethlehem to honor the Christ child. • Luminarias: Vigil fires of aromatic piñon wood (just as farolitos are bonfires in the southern part of New Mexico, luminarias are candles in paper bags there as well; it’s simply reversed). • Gila: The shepherd cook in the play “Los Pastores.” • Hermitaño: “Los Pastores” spiritual leader, the hermit. • Las Posadas: From the

Spanish word posada, meaning shelter — a Spanish-language pageant about the search for shelter by Joseph and Mary, as Jesus was about to be born. • Misa de Gallo: Midnight Mass. • Noche Buena: Christmas Eve. • Ocote: Pitch wood, used in luminarias. • Prospero Año Nuevo: Prosperous New Year. • Vino de Capulín: Chokecherry wine, a local staple.

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Some of the cast of the Taos Onstage holiday production of “A Christmas Story.”

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‘TIS THE SEASON FOR SWEETS The crispy, cinnamon biscochito By Scott Gerdes Food and holidays go together like ... well ... food and holidays. This is that time of year when the gym pass accumulates a little dust and indulgence takes charge. And why not? We’ve earned the splurge. Besides, who can pass up a crispy, lard-based cookie flavored with brandy, anise and cinnamon? Derived from the Spanish bizcocho, biscochitos (or biscochos as they are called in the southern part of the state) are the state cookie of New Mexico, after all. The common history of the biscochito begins in Spain, where they are


apply known as mantecados — manteca means lard. Conquistadors brought the treat with them in the 16th century. There is another account of the cookie’s origin that says they were first baked in 1862 after the Battle of Puebla in Mexico. The skirmish resulted in the overthrow of Emperor Maximilian, which is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. No matter where they originated, this holiday staple has been pleasing New Mexicans’ taste buds for about 400 years. Biscochitos are often served during special celebrations,


such as wedding receptions, baptisms and religious holidays (especially during the Christmas season). Because biscochitos were the original Mexican wedding cookie, they were cut into diamond shapes, as diamonds signified purity for weddings. The fleurde-lis is another traditional shape for these cookies — as a representation of their European heritage — but many other shapes are used as well. Tradition says if you open a package of biscochitos and one is broken, that is the one to be eaten first. These treats are commonly paired with

hot chocolate, coffee or milk. These spicy, sweet cookies are so popular here that Taos Herb Company has been hosting the Best Biscochitos contest for seven years running. Judges are asked to rate the cookie entries based on texture, flavor (of course) and appearance. Cookie masters from the professional realm to home bakers who create from passed down recipes enter the contest every year. Taos Herb started the contest because as owner Rob Hawley stated, “We were thinking about how

else we could honor local traditions. This is because much of our herbal wisdom is based in the knowledge that comes to us from the Spanish elders.” In 2010, Taos Herb’s Elva Archuleta told The Taos News, “Biscochitos are a Christmas thing and a lot of people around here make them.” Last year’s winning batch came from the kitchen of Sandy Montoya-Martinez. Bakers can submit their biscochitos through Dec. 7. Judging takes place on Dec. 8 at Taos Herb Company at 1:30 p.m. Judges will

again be the elders from the Taos County Senior Program. Prizes are as follows: First place, $100 shopping spree at Taos Herb Company; and second place and third place will receive a plaque to honor the achievement. Taos Herb is located at 710 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, a few doors down from Albertsons. For more information, call (575) 758-1991. Merry munching!

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Staying out of the kitchen Let Taos chefs do the cooking over the holidays For some people, the thought of planning and cooking a holiday meal is daunting. Not to mention the after-mess in the kitchen. No worries — there are many options for holiday dining in Taos from casual to upscale. Besides, chances are if you are visiting from elsewhere the last thing you want to do on vacation is cook.

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For a small town, the number and variety of fine-dining options are impressive. There are also many bar and grill-styled eateries. There is literally something to satisfy anyone’s holiday taste buds.

819 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos; (575) 758-4142;

Holiday hours for restaurants vary, so it’s wise to call ahead to ensure the establishment will be open and to make reservations if need be. This is not a complete listing. For more, go online to taoschamber. com.


480 State Road 150, Arroyo Seco; (575) 776-0900;

The Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant

100 Kachina Road, Taos Ski Valley; (575) 776-8020;

The Burger Stand at Taos Ale House 401 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos; (575) 758-5522;


113 Camino de la Placita, Taos; (575) 751-0805; on Facebook

De la Tierra, El Monte Sagrado

317 Kit Carson Road, Taos; (575) 737-9855; dining

Doc Martin’s Restaurant, The Taos Inn

125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos; (575) 758-1977;

112 Doña Luz Street, Taos; (575) 613-0311;

El Meze

1017 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, El Prado; (575) 751-3337;

El Taoseño Restaurant and Lounge

Elements at the Country Club

Angel Fire Resort; (575) 377-3055;

The Gorge Bar and Grill

103 East Plaza, Taos; (575) 7588866;


812B Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos; (575) 758-1226;

Hotel St. Bernard

112 Sutton Place, Taos Ski Valley; (575) 776-2251;

Lambert’s of Taos

123 Bent Street, Taos; (575) 758-1009;

The Love Apple

803 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos; (575) 751-0050;

Martyrs Steakhouse

146 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos; (575) 751-3020;


Mile Marker 1, State Road 150, El Prado; (575) 776-8787;

Michael’s Kitchen

304 C Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos; (575) 758-4178;

Mondo Italiano

622 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos; (575) 758-1329;

Old Martina’s Hall

4140 State Road 68, Ranchos de Taos; (575) 758-3003;

Orlando’s New Mexico Café

1114 Don Juan Valdez Lane, Taos; (575) 751-1450;


103 E Plaza, Taos; (575) 758-1994;


23 State Road 150, El Prado; (575) 776-1050;

Ranchos Plaza Grill

8 Ranchos Plaza Road, Ranchos de Taos; (575) 758-5788

Tina Larkin Gutiz’s Taoseño Bowl — a protein-packed bowl of goodness to warm you up and keep you on your game. 40


Sabroso Restaurant and Bar

470 State Road 150, Arroyo Seco; (575) 776-3333;

Sagebrush Inn & Suites

1508 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos; (575) 758-2254;

Stray Dog Cantina

105 Sutton Place, Taos Ski Valley; (575) 776-2894;

Sugar Nymphs Bistro

15046 State Highway 75, Peñasco; (575) 587-0311;

Taos Mesa Brewing

20 ABC Mesa Road, El Prado; (575) 758-1900;

Taos Pizza Outback

712 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos; (575) 758-3112;

Texas Reds Steakhouse 400 E. Main Street, Red River; (575) 754-2922;

The Terrace at Taos Country Club

54 Golf Course Road, Ranchos de Taos; (575) 758-7300;

Trading Post Café Italian Restaurant

4179 State Road 68, Ranchos de Taos; (575) 759-5089;


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1 Family 3 Generations 95 Reasons to Say Thanks For 95 years Randall Lumber’s been honored to build Taos. We’ve employed families for decades. Supplied builders through thick and thin. Watched kids become grandparents. Through it all, we’ve been thankful to do this in the special place we call home.

This Christmas we say thanks Taos. 2016


In Northern New Mexico, it is customary to offer guests a bowl filled with posole as they are welcomed into a home for a gathering.

File photo

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR STEW Slow-simmered savory posole By Scott Gerdes The arrival of cold weather signals the old Spanish tradition to hold a matanza (a family and community-gathering event, with friends and neighbors helping in the labor-intensive job of processing a large pig, sheep or goat). Pork is a necessary ingredient in preparing a popular local dish seen on many New Mexican tables during the winter holidays — posole (po-sole-eh). Posole is a type of corn, similar to hominy. Its name comes from the Aztec-Nahuatl word potzolli. It was another word and dish new to Spanish newcomers to Mexico,



who adapted it. Posole can be meatless, but around these parts, is typically prepared with cubed fresh pork or pork chops, posole corn, a dash of salt and pepper, a little garlic, some oregano and cumin, or maybe some onion. The best posole is cooked slowly on a wood stove over several hours, adding more broth or water now and then. No matter how it is cooked, posole needs to be simmered until the big corn kernels are soft and the stew gets to a thick consistency.

POSOLE IS A TYPE OF CORN, SIMILAR TO HOMINY. ITS NAME COMES FROM THE AZTEC-NAHUATL WORD POTZOLLI. A Taos holiday wouldn’t be quite the same without posole. At every gathering, no matter if large or

small, it is customary to offer guests a bowl filled with posole as they are welcomed. People have their own special versions of this hearty stew, but the basic ingredients never change. Sometimes dried red chile pods are added for that local flavor. Others sprinkle a little chile caribe on top, which is basically course ground pods after the seeds and stem have been removed and mixed with water or broth, with added salt and pepper to taste. Like posole, this dark red, fiery blend is best cooked slow until the mixture softens.

While a traditional Christmas dish, posole is also important for welcoming the new year. As midnight approaches on New Year’s Eve, it is customary to serve and share bowls of posole. Not from around here? Clumsy in the kitchen? No worries. Many local restaurants offer posole as either a side dish or entree, especially during the winter. Whoever the cook is, understand that he or she is probably using a time-honored family recipe. The following is a classic posole recipe: POSOLE continues on Page 44



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         

       





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POSOLE continued from Page 42

POSOLE (Hominy stew) (Recipes from “Cocinas de New Mexico,” published by PNM to benefit the Good Neighbor Fund) Yield 8-12 servings Cooking time: 6-7 hours* Temperature: High, medium, low Freezes well Ingredients • 1 pound prepared posole corn, medium onion, chopped, thoroughly rinsed** • 2 cloves minced garlic • 10 cups water • 1/4 teaspoon oregano • 1 pound pork or beef



roast*** • 1 teaspoon ground comino (cumin) • 5 cups water, approximately • 3-6 dried red chile pods, rinsed and crumbled**** 2 tablespoons salt Directions 1. Place posole and 10 cups water in large stewing pot. Bring mixture to a boil at high heat. 2. Reduce heat to low and simmer posole for 5 hours. 3. About 1 hour before the completion of the simmering time, brown the pork in a large, heavy skillet on medium heat.

4. Add the pork to the stewing pot with 5 cups of water and continue to cook on low heat until tender. 5. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for an additional 1-2 hours. Adjust seasonings to suit taste. * Posole may be cooked in a pressure cooker for 45 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. ** Posole corn is marketed dry or prepared. *** Varied amounts may be used. **** If desired, omit chile pods and serve with red chile sauce or green chile sauce.

PREPARATION OF DRIED RED CHILE PODS Temperature: 250 degrees Roasting time: Approximately 10 minutes Ingredients • 8-10 dried red chile pods, stems removed Directions 1. Rinse and dry chile pods. Remove seeds if desired. 2. Place chile pods on cookie sheet in a 250 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. Turn chile pods several times to avoid scorching (the chile pods will turn a deeper red). 3. Toasted chile pods may be used for preparing red

chile powder or chile sauce (see below). CHILE CARIBE (Chile concentrate) Yield: 2 cups Temperature: High Freezes well Ingredients • 1-2 cups water • 8-10 roasted red chile pods Directions 1. Place water and chile pods in large saucepan. Heat to boiling on high heat. 2. Pour mixture into a blender and process to a smooth consistency.simmered savory posole.

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A food or toy donation buys a ticket, helps the needy There’s nothing quite like wide eyes and a smile on a child’s face. Christmas time is one of those seasons that give little ones that glow, and look of wonder and promise of all things fun. From getting to whisper in Santa’s ear what they’d like him to place under the tree to making their own ornaments or even better, getting a ride on a steam locomotive.

On Dec. 17 and 18, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Christmas Train will depart from Chama, New Mexico, (2-hour drive from Taos on U.S. Highway 64 west) on a ride through a “living museum” where things haven’t changed much since 1930. The train ride offers spectacular scenery atop the same tracks once used by silver barons,

cowboys and the settlers of the real Old West. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad takes you into the past to re-live an era when steam-powered locomotives and the trains they hauled were an essential part of everyday life. The first train departs the depot at 10 a.m. and last train departs at 4 p.m. on both days. Other trains depart at 11:30 a.m. and

2:30 p.m. Even better, in exchange for a donation of a nonperishable food item and/ or a small toy for each rider, a family will be able to take a free round-trip train ride from Chama to the Lobato trestle and back. Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Elves will be on the train serving hot chocolate and snacks. The Christmas Train

is again joining Albuquerque’s KOB Channel 4 along with the Echo Inc. Food Bank in Farmington, New Mexico, in fighting against hunger by offering the free Christmas Train ride into the San Juan Mountains for everyone, young and old. In addition, the United States Marines Toys for Tots for kids at Christmas is a partner in the event.

All food and toys will be distributed in Northern New Mexico. The Christmas Train departs from Antonito, Colorado, on Dec. 10 and 11. Go online to reserve your spot on the train at Check online for more information or call (888) 286-2737. — Staff report

Courtesy Cumbres & Toltec

The Christmas Train takes passengers into the San Juan Mountains, for fun and for a good cause.



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Stages aglow More favorite events at a glance

TAOS COMMUNITY CHORUS MESSIAH SING-ALONG DEC. 11 The community is invited to join the chorus in the annual performance of “Handel’s Messiah” led by guest conductor Erick Brunner, 3 p.m. at St. James Church, 208 Camino de Santiago.

children; not that there’s anything wrong with that, but that’s not what Taos Onstage performs. Director Charlotte Keefe of Taos Onstage knows she found a new play in Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays.” She describes the 5th annual holiday radio play as “a mystery farce that happens on Christmas Eve.”

With a mission statement of “Creating community through song,” the Taos Community Chorus (TCC) has a long standing tradition in Taos, beginning in 1978. The joy of singing together, making beautiful music, and bringing quality choral music concerts to the community, is what brings the singers together. Participants should bring their own scores, or borrow one at the door. Admission is free with a $10 suggested donation.

The play won the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Play from the Mystery Writers of America. It is December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears. The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this glittering holiday whodunit.

The event begins at 3 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 208 Camino de Santiago. Go online to TaosCommunityChorus or, or call (575) 758-2790. TAOS ONSTAGE “THE GAME’S AFOOT OR HOLMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS.” DEC. 13 AND 14 It can be a challenge to find a new Christmas play — one that hasn’t been seen over and over, isn’t religious based or for

Held at Taos Mesa Brewing, 20 ABC Mesa Road, El Prado, the performance can either be enjoyed in dinner-theater style or by watching the show only. The dinner theater begins at 6 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $30, $15 for the show only. Dinner reservations are required by calling (575) 224-4587 or email The curtain rises at 7 p.m.

25TH ANNUAL ROBERT MIRABAL HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE DEC. 16 Join Grammy award-winning Taos Pueblo musician/author/flute maker and singersongwriter Robert Mirabal for a special holiday performance, 7 p.m. at the Taos Community Auditorium. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased by calling (575) 7582052, or go online to TAOS CHAMBER MUSIC GROUP “SCHUBERT FOR THE SEASON” DEC. 17 AND 18 Now a Taos favorite, virtuoso pianist Gleb Ivanov will return for an all-Schubert program. Music that sets the tone for the holiday season includes Schubert’s commanding Wanderer Fantasy for solo piano, the Introduction and Variations on Trockne Blumen from Die schöne Müllerin for flute and piano, and the monumental Piano Trio No.1 in Bb Major. Joining Ivanov on piano are LP How on violin, Sally Guenther on cello and on flute, TCMG director Nancy Laupheimer. Performances on both nights start at 5:30 p.m. in the Arthur Bell Auditorium at The Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St. Franz Peter Schubert (1797–1828) was an Austrian composer. Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers of the

From left: Taos Onstage cast members, from left to right, Lynn Labato, Sebastien Moulton, Blair Jackson, Neil Perlow, Lesley Ivey and Lisa Orwig prepare for this year’s holiday radio play, “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays,” photo by Charlotte Keefe; and Taos Pueblo Grammywinning singer-songwriter Robert Mirabal, file photo.



late Classical and early Romantic eras and is one of the most frequently performed composers of the early 19th century. For 24 years, the Taos Chamber Music Group (TCMG) has reflected the Land of Enchantment by presenting the imaginative and inspirational performances for which it has become known. Programs often reflect the beauty of our surroundings as well as the unique cultural diversity of the Taos area, earning TCMG a reputation as one of Northern New Mexico’s most innovative and successful music series. Call (575) 758-0150 for further concert information. Tickets are $25 for adults; $12 for children under 16 and students. They may be charged online at TCMG’s website or by visiting or calling The Harwood Museum, 238 Ledoux St., (575) 758-9826. Advance tickets can be purchased by calling The Harwood Museum or online at Museum members must purchase tickets through The Harwood admissions to receive their discount. For more information, call TCMG at (575) 758-0150 or the Harwood Museum at (575) 758-9826.


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A gift to the community

When you take away the wrapping paper, the bows, ribbons, glitter and gift lists of Christmas, you’re left with a truer meaning of the season: Good will. Los Pastores — the timehonored Hispanic folk drama about the shepherds traveling to Bethlehem to honor the Christ Child — is a reminder that good will always wins over evil. This traditional play depicts Lucifer as the persistent

IT IS VERY COMMONPLACE FOR ACTORS TO REPEAT THEIR ROLES YEAR AFTER YEAR. interrupter and unsuccessful wicked influence who tries to impede the shepherds’ journey. It is considered to be one of the most musical of all the morality plays from the 16th century. This tale of poetic

lines is intertwined with abundant music performed in Spanish, actually 16th-century Spanish with pantomime so everyone can understand. Arcenio Cordova and his family (his wife, Kathy, and daughter, Tessa) know this play well. They have been at the heart of its presentation for the last 36 years through their El Prado-based company, Sangre de Cristo Liturgies.

Over the years, Los Pastores has become a community- and familybased event. Cordova’s mother, Josephine, influenced his desire to put on the first musical play here in 1980 and in part, her spirit is why he continues. As an educator, Josephine put on the play at the El Prado and Arroyo Seco elementary schools decades ago with the students and their parents playing the parts. The

File photo Cammie Archuleta leads a song in a past performance of the pastoral play Los Pastores, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. The Spanish folk drama is performed annually by the Sangre de Cristo Liturgies.



generation connection to the play touches Cordova’s wife as well. Kathy’s grandfather, Frank Montoya, played the role of The Hermit 100 years ago. The current role of The Hermit is now being played by an unrelated man also named Frank Montoya. “Funny how things happen like that,” Arcenio Cordova said. PASTORES continues on Page 52




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PASTORES continued from Page 50

It is very commonplace for the actors to repeat their roles year after year. Very few roles open up, although Cordova never turns walk-in actors away; the stage can always take one more shepherd. Juanita Dominguez has been coming down from her home in San Luis, Colorado, every year since 1988 to take part in the play. She started as a

“shepherdess” and moved up to playing Lucifer. “She owns that role,” Cordova said of her masterful reprisal every season. Cordova taught theater at Northern New Mexico Community College. Some of his students got wind about Los Pastores and joined the cast years ago. And some keep coming back. “We’ve picked up people from other areas like

Española, San Juan and Albuquerque,” Cordova beamed. “They love it and come here to rehearse.” One infant was cast as baby Jesus and is now “8 or 9 years old,” Cordova said, “he’s still with us. It’s unbelievable that they keep coming back. I think it’s a bonding thing and a family tradition handed down to the next generation and to siblings.” The only role Cordova

Katharine Egli A past cast of Los Pastores sings their final song at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.



is having a hard time replacing is his longstanding character Bartolo. “I’ve been trying to give up my role. He’s a lazy shepherd, but no one wants my role,” he bemoaned with a laugh. “A lot of young people find a good role and they want to stay there.” Los Pastores opens Dec. 10 in Albuquerque at St. Ignacio, 2 p.m., to help celebrate the church’s 100-

year anniversary. The play takes the stage in Taos on Dec. 17 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church at 7 p.m. Then on Dec. 28, the folk drama plays in San Luis at Sangre de Cristo Parish at 6 p.m. and there may be a couple more dates out of town. As always, admission is free because as Cordova said, “This is our gift to the community.”

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Cultural traditions aglow More favorite events at a glance PEACE CHANUKAH This holiday celebration rich in culture is also known as The Festival of Lights. Now in its 15th year and growing, the Taos Jewish Center will host the Peace Chanukah on Dec. 28 from 5:30-7 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 208 Camino de Santiago. Taos’ special Chanukah celebration was born from the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks. This highly attended event is heralded as “not just a Jewish thing,” as those who participate will see and feel the galvanizing power of hope and prayer for peace in an all-inclusive atmosphere. It begins with Rabbi Paul Citrin telling the Chanukah story, followed by a lighting of the candles and blessings. This year’s speakers — about eight — will bring messages of peace and include Father Mike Olsen from St. James, Zen Buddhist Sean Murphy, Rev. Chuck Doughty from Unitarian Congregation of Taos, Muslim Heyman Khweis and interfaith minister Rev. Jill Cline. Other speakers from Taos Pueblo, and the Catholic and Hindu faiths are anticipated. This inspirational Peace Chanukah (the “c” is silent) also features four group songs including “Peace Prayer.” Songs will be led by a “choir” of Julie Green, Elizabeth Calvert, Cindy Grossman. Sidney Bender, Anna Mae Patterson Kathleen Burg and Jean Kenin. Everyone is invited and encouraged to bring menorahs (candles provided) to be lit during the event. There is no charge for admittance however, those who can are asked to bring a nonperishable food item to put toward a collection for the Shared Table, the St. James Food Pantry and the Taos Coalition to End Homelessness. Attendees are also asked to bring a Chanukah menorah (candelabra) if they have one. The event is sponsored by B’nai Shalom Havurah, the Taos Jewish Center and St. James Episcopal Church. For more information, contact the Taos Jewish Center at (575) 758-8615 or go online to CHANUKAH PARTY On Dec. 30, a multi-generational Chanukah Party will be held at the Taos Jewish Center, 1335 Gusdorf Rd., Suite R at 5:30 p.m. The event includes Shabbat and candle lighting, and a pot luck dinner (no pork or shellfish). Attendees can enjoy latkes, jelly donuts, singing, games and dreidels. Please bring a donation of nonperishable food items for area food banks. All are welcome. For more information, contact the Taos Jewish Center at (575) 758-8615 or go online to taosjewishcenter. org. LAS POSADAS This traditional re-enactment of the journey of Joseph and Mary in their search

for lodging as the impending birth of Jesus nears is still performed by some parishioners of San Francisco de Asís Church in Ranchos de Taos and others from area villages. Traditionally, an upstanding young man and woman are given the honor of portraying Joseph and Mary. In full costume, they are accompanied by others holding candles, who sing traditional Spanish verses while going walking from house to house asking for posada (a place to stay). Joseph and Mary are refused lodging for nine consecutive nights before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, they are invited into the last home they visit, with the peregrinos (pilgrims) following along. This beautiful pageant usually begins at dusk and follows a planned route. The public is welcome to watch at any point on the route. Look for candle night and flashlight beams, and listen for the music. For information where Las Posadas routes will take place, call the San Francisco de Asís Parish Office at (575) 758-2754. MATACHINES OR DEER DANCE Christmas Day is observed at Taos Pueblo with either the Deer Dance or the dance-drama Los Matachines. The latter

ceremonial dance is born from crosscultural references among American Indian and Hispanic New Mexican heritage. The consensus among most historians is that the name “Matachines” comes from the Arabic Moorish culture, which had much influence on the Spanish language. It means “masked dancer” or “masked person.” When first introduced to the Americas and to tribal peoples in the Southwest and Mexico, this pageant served as a kind of morality lesson. It is a splendidly colorful display of pageantry — the dancers are festooned with multicolored ribbons and carry a three-pronged wand called a palma. At the end, the 12 dancers culminate in intricate motions weaving 12 long, vibrant strands of yarn belts or ribbons. Whether this ceremony is invoking the deer spirit or celebrating the season is unknown. This dance is for the Pueblo people and not intended as holiday entertainment, per se. Cameras, cell phones or any recording device are not allowed during these events. For more information and visitor rules of etiquette, call (575) 758-1028 or go online to — Staff report

File photo/Tina Larkin Christmas Day at Taos Pueblo is observed with either the Deer Dance or the pictured dance-drama Los Matachines. 54


CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS DAY MASS AROUND THE ENCHANTED CIRCLE Taos: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 205 Don Fernando St., Dec. 24 Masses at 5:30 p.m. and midnight; Dec. 25 Masses at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., (575) 758-9208. San Geronimo Chapel at Taos Pueblo, Dec. 24, 4 p.m., traditional vespers followed by Communion service. Ranchos de Taos: San Francisco de Asís Church, 60 St. Francis Plaza, (575) 758-2754, due to the last Las Posadas, Dec. 24 Mass begins at 11:30 p.m. Angel Fire: Holy Angels Catholic Mission, 34 Westridge Rd., Dec. 24, 5:30 p.m., (575) 376-2553. Arroyo Seco: Holy Trinity Parish, 498 State Road 150, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m., (575) 7762273. Eagle Nest: St. Mel’s Catholic Church, 200 Willow Dr., Dec. 24 at 4 p.m., (575) 3771937. Peñasco: San Antonio de Padua Church, 15071 State Road 75, Dec. 24 at 9 p.m., (575) 587-0399. For more Taos area church listings, see the Spiritual Directory in the C section of The Taos News.

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and dance groups at Millicent Rogers Museum. (575) 758-2462,

Dec. 1

Dec. 3, 10, 17

Angel Fire Tree Lighting 5:30-7 p.m.

Join Angel Fire for the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree, caroling, a visit from Santa and hot chocolate at Frontier Park. (575) 377-6353,

Dec. 2

30th Annual Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting 4-6 p.m.

The 2016 Taos Holiday Season officially kicks off with the annual lighting of the Town Christmas tree and the Electric Light Parade at Historic Taos Plaza. Join Santa Claus, the Grinch, Taos Mayor Dan Barrone and the community. (877) 587-9007,

Holiday Crafts and Activities for Kids 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Twirl will host holiday crafting and gift-making activities in the upstairs playroom. Twirl is located just off Taos Plaza at 225 Camino de la Placita. (575) 751-1402,

Dec. 3

5 p.m. Lighting Ledoux

Lighting Ledoux kicks off Taos’ Christmas festivities on historic Ledoux Street. Galleries, shops and museums are open, offering holiday food and drink. Live singing by the Taos Community Chorus. (877) 587-9007,

Dec. 3

Dec. 3

A free community arts and crafts event geared for children featuring live performances by local music

Annual follow up to Lighting Ledoux, a towering pine in the center of the historic inn’s lobby is

19th Annual Holiday Fiesta 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

File photo Bonfires on Bent Street 56


Historic Taos Inn Tree Lighting About 6 p.m.

lit for the season. Live music and revelry. The Taos Inn is located at 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. (575) 758-2233,

Dec. 8

Kids Ornament & Craft Making 2:30-5:30 p.m. Free Christmas ornament and craft-making event at Taos Youth & Family Center. Materials provided. (575) 758-4160,

Dec. 8

TCCC Yuletide 6-8 p.m.

Taos Community Chorus will perform live during the Taos County Chamber of Commerce Yuletide event at KTAOS Solar Center. (575) 751-8800,

Dec. 10

Met Live in HD: “L’Amour de Loin (Saariaho)” 11 a.m.

Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s breakthrough opera was described by the New York Times as “transfixing … a lushly beautiful score.” Conductor Susanna Mälkki

makes her Met debut. Screening at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. Tickets are $20 for TCA members, $25 for non-members and $10 for youth 17 and under and may be purchased at the box office up to 45 minutes prior to the performance, or by calling (575) 758-2052 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m .or go to to purchase online.

Dec. 10

Santa Paws Noon-4 p.m.

During this year’s holiday pet party on Bent Street, Santa will find out what your pet wants for Christmas, and pose for a photo with your furry friend. Pets available for adoption will also be present, and there will be hot beverages and snacks. (877) 587-9007,

Dec. 10

Bonfires on Bent Street All day/Reception 4-7 p.m.

The John Dunn Shops on Bent Street glow from the warming bonfires peppered along the

pedestrian walkway. Live caroling by the Taos Community Chorus. Shops offer snacks, music and events all day. A reception with farolitos, luminaries, food, music, Santa and more begins at 4 p.m. (877) 587-9007,

Dec. 10

H.E.A.R.T. of Taos Fundraiser 6:30-11 p.m.

A benefit to shelter the homeless women of Taos featuring live music by Michael Hearne with South by Southwest and The Rifters, room to dance and a live auction at Old Martina’s Hall. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. (575) 776-4245,

Dec. 10-11

Alumbra de Questa

The 2nd annual Christmas Craft Market in Questa features a variety of regional arts and crafts from paintings to pottery, and festive food such as tamales, biscochitos and Mexican hot chocolate. In the European tradition, the weekend CALENDAR continues on Page 58

Santa Fe Place

5 Star BurgerS

light Mountain gallery

wolFgang’S SPa workS

Santa Fe Botanical garden

clarke & co.

PreSByterian eSPañola hoSPital

john dunn houSe ShoPS

rian Foundation

coMMunity againSt violence

Stray Hearts Animal Shelter Community Against Violence Taos Land Trust

Breast Cancer Foundation at Presbyteeye aSSociateS oF new Mexico


Community Against Violence cid’S Food Market

Dream Tree Project chevron Mining

Dream Tree Project unicorn School SuPPly

Dream Tree Project QueSta luMBer

Community Against Violence overland SheePSkin coMPany

Community Against Violence taoS crating

Dream Tree Project enchanted FloriSt

Community Against Violence SPiritS oF Beauty

Dream Tree Project

Senator carloS ciSneroS

Community Against Violence vaPe taoS

Dream Tree Project reneux

Dream Tree Project taoS Mountain candleS

Dream Tree Project century 21

Dream Tree Project dreaM tree Project

Dream Tree Project

taoS retireMent village

Community Against Violence earlene’S

Dream Tree Project randall luMBer and hardware

Habitat for Humanity


Equine Spirit Sanctuary Taos Men’s Shelter Taos Men’s Shelter

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Dream Tree Project


Community Against Violence Zeke’S auto SuPPly

Taos Men’s Shelter

larry MartineZ, jeweler

A portion of All the Ad

Taos County ARC

proceeds in this MAGAZine

Salon Marjorie

will be donAted to

Community Against Violence

the AdVertisers’

taoS Mountain caSino

non-profit of

Oo-Oonah Children’s Art Center


heart oF taoS

HEART of Taos

Friday MotorS

High Altitude Athletics Mudd n Flood

Rivers and Birds

SunShadeS oF taoS

Lions Club

the hiStoric taoS inn

Taos Land Trust aceQ

Field Institute of Taos andean SoFtware

Golden Willow arteMiSia

Taos Search & Rescue country FurniShingS oF taoS

Community Against Violence

FranceSca’S clothing BoutiQue

Community Against Violence grayStone Furniture & the SoFa gallery

Community Against Violence harwood MuSeuM

Harwood Museum

kit carSon electric

Bridges PROJECT for Education Millicent rogerS MuSeuM

Millicent Rogers Museum


Taos Men’s Shelter SaBroSo

Community Against Violence Sacred traditionS

Taos Senior Center

Seco village aSSociation

Rivers and Birds taoS Folk

Anansi Day School taoS tin workS

Habitat for Humanity Taos the ranch at taoS

Stray Hearts




European tradition, the weekend event will stay open until just after dark. For more information, call (575) 586-0694 or email

Dec. 11

Messiah Sing-Along 3 p.m.

The community is invited to join the Taos Community Chorus in the annual performance of “Handel’s Messiah” at St. James Episcopal Church, 208 Camino de Santiago, $10 suggested donation.

Dec. 13-14

Taos OnStage Dinner Theater Dinner 6 p.m.; Show only 7 p.m.

Taos OnStage presents a radio play production of Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays,” directed by Charlotte Keefe at Taos Mesa Brewing in El Prado. Tickets are $30 per person for dinner and the play; $15 for the show only. For tickets contact the theater group by email, or call (575) 224-4587. Taos Mesa Brewing can be contacted at (575) 758-1900.

Dec. 16

25th Annual Robert Mirabal Holiday Performance 7 p.m.

Grammy award-winning Taos Pueblo musician/author/flute maker and singer-songwriter Robert Mirabal gives a special holiday performance at the Taos Community Auditorium. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased by calling (575) 758-2052, or go online to

Dec. 16-24 Las Posadas

Las Posadas is a nine-day celebration that re-enacts the holy family’s quest for lodging in Bethlehem. The event features a candlelight procession of pilgrims that follows Mary and Joseph as they search for shelter before the birth of Jesus. Las Posadas start

time is 5:30 p.m., except for the second celebration that will be held in Los Cordovas immediately following a 5 p.m. Mass, and on Christmas Eve Las Posadas will begin at 11:30 p.m. followed by a midnight Mass at San Francisco de Asís Church. For information on where Las Posadas routes will take place, call the San Francisco de Asís Parish Office in Ranchos de Taos at (575) 758-2754.

Dec. 17

Los Pastores 7 p.m.

The 36th annual community production of this time-honored folk drama/musical play about the shepherds traveling to Bethlehem to honor the Christ Child. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 205 Don Fernando St. Free admission.

Dec. 17-18

“Schubert for the Season” 5:30 p.m.

Taos Chamber Music Group presents an all-Schubert holiday program. Performances are being held at the Arthur Bell Auditorium at the Harwood Museum of Art. Tickets are $25 for adults; $12 for children under 16 and students. They may be charged online at TCMG’s website or by visiting or calling the Harwood Museum, 238 Ledoux St., (575) 758-9826.

Cumbres & Toltec Christmas Train 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Bring a toy and nonperishable food item and ride Cumbres & Toltec Christmas Train for free. Santa and his elves will be onboard! The food will go to local food pantries and the toys to the local Marine Toys for Tots. Christmas trains depart from Chama, New Mexico, on Dec. 17-18 (from Antonito, Colorado, on Dec. 10-11).

Remember to bring your camera. (800) 633-7463,

Sipapu Annual Christmas Eve Party 5-8 p.m.

The annual tradition at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort includes holiday music, fires, lights, a children’s art project and food and drink in the historic lodge. Free and open to the public. (800) 587-2240,

Christmas Eve Fireworks and Torchlight Parades Angel Fire 6-7 p.m.

Bundle up the family and head for the base of the ski mountain for Angel Fire Resort’s annual Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade & Fireworks. And keep an eye out — Santa and Mrs. Claus have been known to join in the festivities. (800) 633-7463,

Red River 7 p.m.

This more than 40-year-old Christmas Eve tradition in Red River kicks off at Red River Ski & Summer Area with a Rail Jam (a “jib contest” using objects or obstacles to jump upon or over) at 5:30 p.m. following by the annual Christmas Eve Fireworks and Torchlight Parade at 7 p.m. (800) 331-7669,,

Dec. 25

Taos Pueblo Deer or Matachines Dance 2 p.m.

Witness this ancient Native American ceremonial dance honoring the depths of winter, as danced and drummed by the people of Taos Pueblo. No cameras, cell phones or video cameras allowed. Open to the public. (575) 758-1028,

Dec. 24

Dec. 28

Ski and snowboard with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Angel Fire Resort.

This holiday celebration rich in culture is also known as The Festival of Lights. Everyone is

Ski and Snowboard with the Clauses 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Peace Chanukah 5:30-7 p.m.

Courtesy photo Twirl of Taos is hosting holiday crafting and gift-making activities in the upstairs playroom on Dec. 3, 10 and 17. 58


invited and encouraged to bring menorahs (candles provided). There is no charge for admittance however, those who can are asked to bring a nonperishable food item to put toward a collection for local charities. The Taos Jewish Center will host the event at St. James Episcopal Church, 208 Camino de Santiago. (575) 758-8615,

Dec. 30

Chanukah Party 5:30 p.m.

The event includes Shabbat and candle lighting, and a pot luck dinner (no pork or shellfish). Attendees can enjoy latkes, jelly donuts, singing, games and dreidels. Please bring a donation of non-perishable food items for area food banks. All are welcome. Held at the Taos Jewish Center, 1335 Gusdorf Rd., Suite R. (575) 758-8615,

Dec. 31

Auld Lang Syne

New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parades and Fireworks

Taos Ski Valley 5:45-7 p.m.

The night will kick off at 5:45 p.m. with a laser light show. Then watch as skiers make their way down the mountain in the dark with flares as their only means of light. Don’t miss the spectacular fireworks display by Gemini Fireworks. After

the fireworks, countdown to the New Year in the Martini Tree Bar. (800) 776-1111,

Angel Fire 6-7 p.m.

Dress warm and head for the base of the ski mountain for the annual torchlight parade and fireworks show. (800) 633-7463,

Red River 7 p.m.

Celebrations for all ages beginning with the annual New Year’s Eve parade and fireworks at Red River Ski Area. Then take the kids to the Red River Community House for the Old Fashioned New Year’s Eve Party for pizza, music and games. A countdown ball drops at midnight Eastern time (10 p.m. in New Mexico) so even the youngest celebrants get to ring in the new year. (575) 754-2366,


Taos Pueblo Turtle Dance

Annual New Year’s Day Turtle Dance (religious ceremony) marking the beginning of a new year at Taos Pueblo. Open to the public. No cameras or cell phones allowed. (575) 758-1028,






Your guide to Northern New Mexico's holiday traditions.

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