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Santa Fe’s 10 Best Events and Festivals this September

Santa Fe’s 10 Best Events and Festivals this September

Picture of Lily Taylor
Updated: 9 February 2017
Santa Fe, a UNESCO Creative City in northern New Mexico, is probably best known for its yearly Burning of Zozobra (or Old Man Gloom). Taking place each August, this ceremony begins the annual Fiesta de Santa Fe. Dancing ghosts, fire, and fireworks are an exciting start to a series of events, from traditional fiestas to exhibitions, outdoor activities, and theatre, all taking place during autumn’s first month. These are ten unmissable events taking place in Santa Fe in September.

Art | Wooden Menagerie: Made in New Mexico

Until 15 February 2015

The Museum of International Folk Art is home to the largest collection of folk art in the world, with over 135,000 objects from more than 100 countries and four wings displaying this wealth of multicultural art and history. Currently occupying the Hispanic Heritage Wing is the Wooden Menagerie: Made in New Mexico exhibition. The artwork forms one of the most extensive exhibits of New Mexico animal carvings ever to be staged, with 107 pieces made by masters in the field. The materials used include glass, cottonwood, elm, animal hair, leather, and highway paint, and the animals displayed are equally diverse and enigmatic, making this a must-see exhibit for anyone interested in Hispanic traditions and creativity.

Museum of International Folk Art, Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505-476-1200

Music | Concierto de Mariachi

3 September

The Concierto de Mariachi at the Lensic Performing Arts Center is another event in the Santa Fe Fiesta calendar (for which tickets must be bought). Mariachi is a genre of folk music from Mexico, which was originally played only with string instruments, before diversifying during the 19th and 20th centuries to include trumpets and other generic influences. This concert will feature performances from local mariachi groups and members of The Santa Fe Fiesta Council’s Youth Mariachi Workshop; expect exuberance, eye-catching costumes, and an authentic experience of local musical traditions.

Lensic Performing Arts Center, West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505-988-7050

History | Santa Fe Fiestas

Until 7 September

The annual Santa Fe Fiesta marks a time of revelry, faith, and hospitality in the city, as it commemorates the peaceful reoccupation of the City of Holy Faith in 1692, led by Don Diego De Vargas. The Fiesta Proclamation, issued in 1712, intended that the fiestas should educate the community in the importance of history and religion; as a result, Santa Fe continues to resound with traditional music, prayer, and celebration each September. The city is one of the oldest in the United States, and visitors can relive some of this history through the traditional costumes, music, and processions which take place during the first seven days of September. Most events are free and take place within the town streets or plazas; particularly memorable are the Pet Parade on 6 September, and the Mass and Candlelight Procession which closes the Fiesta celebrations on the evening of 7 September.

Various locations across Santa Fe


Food | Delicious New Mexico at the FUZE Food and Folklore Festival

12-15 September

Due to the popularity of this event last year (over 1,800 attendees), this year the FUZE Food and Folklore Festival presents ‘Delicious New Mexico’; with double the vendor space. New Mexico’s rich food culture will be celebrated through cooking demonstrations, local food trucks, book-signings by New Mexico chefs and authors, Native American music, and tasting events. Apart from the enjoyment of high-quality, fresh food, the event also has a serious side, as the organisers hope to support local food businesses and to encourage the use of locally grown ingredients

Museum Hill Cafe, Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505-984-8900


Music | Music at the Downs

13 September

Held on what used to be Santa Fe’s racecourse, Music at the Downs is the city’s main music festival, attracting artists from across New Mexico, Colorado, and beyond. The setting, with its expanse of grass and scattering of trees against the desert backdrop, is a departure from the usual Santa Fe landscape, giving this festival a casual, park-like atmosphere. September 13 sees Texas-based Lyle Lovett (and his band) performing, an artist whose style is broad and eclectic, encompassing jazz, gospel, and swing genres amongst others. Lovett has also received critical acclaim, winning four Grammy Awards and the Americana Music Association’s Trailblazer Award.

Downs At Santa Fe, West Frontage Road, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505-232-9868

Performance and Art | AHA Festival of Progressive Arts

13-14 September

The AHA Festival of Progressive Arts takes place in the Santa Fe Railyard near to Santa Fe’s Arts District, characterised by its high number of art galleries and exhibition spaces. The festival is a multidisciplinary arts event which hopes to showcase work of an unusual, controversial, or highly inventive nature. With the aim of blending disciplines and pushing boundaries, the festival invites applications from artists all over the world and is also keen to explore the relationship between creativity and money. The activities and events taking place will include music, pop-up galleries, spontaneous performances and installations. Previous featured artists and acts include Nina Wright, Accordion Crimes, and Joseph Griffo.

Santa Fe Railyard Park, Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM, USA

Art | Pojoaque River Art Tour

20-21 September

This year is the 21st annual Pojoaque River Art Tour, an artistic and tri-cultural experience unique to northern New Mexico. With 16 stops and 24 artists, the tour can be completed in a single day by bike or car, with the Black Mesa and the Barrancas forming a stunning backdrop. Along the way, visitors will encounter a wide variety of art forms and materials, including contemporary oil paintings, watercolours, sculpture, pastels, sumi-e, and jewellery. Works-in-progress and demonstrations may also form a part of the tour, giving visitors an honest insight into the processes and inspirations of the featured artists. A reception will be held before the tour days on Friday 19 September at the Than Povi Fine Art Gallery.

Various locations across Santa Fe

History | Santa Fe Renaissance Fair

20-21 September

The Santa Fe Renaissance Fair is situated at the El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a Spanish colonial history museum with 200 acres of historical recreations, including gristmills, a wheelwright, and a blacksmith. The Fair is a community event benefitting the educational programs of the museum, and whose proceeds go towards Santa Fe’s Interfaith Community Shelter. Educational and entertaining, the Renaissance Fair features period costumes and gifts, battle re-enactments, dancing, and Medieval games, and is always a highly popular event.

El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Los Pinos Road, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505-471-2261

Art | High Road Art Tour

20-21 and 27-28 September 2014

The 17th annual High Road Art Tour will take place this year along the High Road to Taos Scenic Byway between Santa Fe and Taos in northern New Mexico. During the last two weekends of September, High Road artists open their studios to visitors along the 30-mile route, giving an insight into their styles and unfinished pieces. Many of these artists have been exhibited in high-profile museums and galleries around the world, including the Smithsonian and the University of New Mexico. Visitors will encounter a range of art forms, from weaving and pottery to photography, painting, and sculpture, amongst many others, whilst also having the exciting opportunity to speak to the artists themselves.

Various locations along the High Road

High Road to Taos Art Tour
Mountains on the High Road to Taos | Courtesy of High Road to Taos Art Tour

Food | Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta

24-28 September 2014

The Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta is an annual five-day celebration of the city as a world-class culinary destination. This year is the 24th Fiesta, and features a schedule packed with cooking demonstrations, sommelier seminars, blind tastings, and special dinners. This year’s line-up also includes the inaugural Gran Fondo event, a 75- or 50-mile cycling tour with guest chefs through the surrounding historic villages and gourmet venues, followed by a Champagne Ruinart brunch. With 75 of the best local restaurants and 90 national wineries taking part, the event promises to be varied and delicious, whilst also championing produce that is locally sourced, carefully prepared, and of the very best quality.

La Fonda Hotel, East San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505-438-8060

By Lily Taylor