Another Successful Historical and Hysterical Fiesta Weekend in Santa Fe
Another long Fiesta weekend has passed in Santa Fe. From the kick off with Zozobra to the finish with the Historical/Hysterical parade, Fiesta weekend was packed full of activities. The following is an article from The New Mexican that summarizes the last days parade experience:
Fiesta de Santa Fe: Spirit of community on parade
Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Some were hysterical — like the float featuring pirate ravens fighting ninja prairie dogs. Others were historical, like the Johnnie’s Cash Store float celebrating 65 years of small-town, family-owned business. Some celebrated long-held traditions of the region, as with the La Sociedad Folklorica float. And some were just cars and trucks draped with banner advertisements for political figures, local organizations and long-standing community groups.
Yet, the more than 100 floats and vehicles involved in Sunday’s Historical/Hysterical Parade — which started around 1 p.m. and wound through the streets of downtown Santa Fe for a couple of hours — certainly shared a sense of community.
Which is what the parade is all about, according to many of the participants, who showed up as early as 6 a.m. Sunday at the starting gate on Guadalupe Street near the DeVargas Center to register and prepare.
“It’s about sharing the true meaning of Fiesta, and not just getting caught up in Zozobra,” said Jessica Lucero, a member of La Sociedad Folklorica and a former La Reina de la Fiesta. “Our float celebrates the state’s official cookie, the bizcochito. A lot of Northern New Mexico traditions are based on family and friends getting together and making memories, and a lot of that activity revolves around food.”
Maria McMahon, who serves on the parent advisory council for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, feels the same way. The church’s float featured a roughly 12-foot replica of the cathedral — with room enough for a youth marimba band to play.
“The parade is a huge community event, a huge social event,” she said while volunteers put the finishing touches on the float. “These are the sort of things you don’t always get in the big cities. Isn’t that why we live in Santa Fe?”
Part of that life in Santa Fe — according to some students from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design — is the ongoing battle between defenseless prairie dogs and predator ravens over at the college campus.
Float spokesperson Yusef Seevers related a rather convoluted tale of how the prairie dogs, realizing they were being picked off by the pirating ravens, began taking up ninja battle tactics to fight back. The float featured a rather gruesome-looking image of huge dark birds descending on a prairie dog village.
The float’s band planned to play music throughout the parade as the float moved along the route. But that band’s name seemed to change as quickly as the story behind the ravens and prairie dogs.
“Call us Improv,” Seevers said of the band. “We play original work, contemporary, classical, post-modern, apocalyptic. We span across the entire musical range; we span across boundaries. We are the boundaries. In fact, that’s our new name — call us Boundary.”
Santo Niño Regional Catholic School parents and students set up a more sedate, playful float across the way, one based on the children’s game Candyland, replete with Candy Cane Forest, Gum Drop Mountain and the Chocolate Swamp.
School Principal Theresa Vaisa said the fifth-grade students came up with the concept for the float — on which small buckets filled with candy rested. The students also made their own Candyland costumes.
Kindergartner Shania Murillo was helping prep the Candyland float around midmorning Sunday. Proving herself to be a master at brevity, she answered all questions in one word. Does she like Candyland? Yes. Is the parade fun for the community? Yes. Will she fall off the float? No.
Aside from some vehicles promoting local and regional politicians, there was little sign of political floats, be they historical or hysterical. But citizen Susan Lopez entered a car decorated by banners calling for Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block’s resignation.
“Resign now,” one of her signs read. “Our schools need the $.”
As both a mother and a Santa Fe Public Schools employee (though she emphasized she was not speaking for the district), Lopez said the news that impeachment hearings for Block could cost taxpayers $1 million motivated her to get involved.
She said parade officials initially suggested to her that they would not let her in the parade. “They said the float has negative connotations and they want to keep it cheerful,” she said.
“I pointed out that this has always been a political parade, that I am not defaming anyone, and that I am just stating the facts. This is not politically motivated — it’s common-sense motivated.”
She credited parade officials with accepting her argument and letting her take part. Perhaps it helped that she had the popular Peanuts character Charlie Brown walking near her car during the parade.
When the parade was over, Lopez said she received almost unanimous support from spectators along the way, although one lady said to her, “That’s not nice.”
Other floats were musically oriented — like the one that Capital High’s performing-arts department entered with a “Yellow Submarine” theme. All four Beatles were present, as were some Blue Meanies, the Walrus and other “Submarine” characters.
But Capital senior Jennifer Valerio was pretty honest about why the group chose this theme: “Because our marching band was learning ‘Yellow Submarine’ to play in the parade.”
Parade officials said there were no major problems or disruptions during the event. Oddly enough, they said no one seems to know when the parade actually started as part of the city’s Fiesta celebration, though they are fairly sure it dates back at least 50 years.
1st place: Wings for Hope/Toys 4 Tots
2nd place: Santa Fe Spirit Cheer
3rd place: The Hive
1st place: Santa Fe Care Center
2nd place: Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
3rd place: Divine Destiny
1st place: Bear Creek
2nd place: First Impressions
3rd place: Santa Fe County (Fair) Queen
1st place: La Sociedad Folklorica
2nd place: Johnnie’s Cash Store
3rd place: La Chica Latina