Santa Fe, New Mexico is a city that is rich in culture and history. During the holidays, ristras are hung in doorways and farolitos line the tops of the old adobe walls and buildings. The smell of red chile hot chocolate floats through the crisp high mountain air along with the signature pinon and juniper wood that makes Santa Fe one of those most beloved winter getaways around.
There is a contagious feeling of happiness and holiday spirit that runs deep in every Santa Fean and those who visit during the season.
The best way to kick off the holidays in Santa Fe is to check out the official holiday lighting of the downtown plaza, just off of W. San Francisco Street. The Santa Fe Plaza is a National Historic Landmark that was built in the style of traditional Spanish-American cities. The Plaza is a central gathering place and many refer to it as the heart of Santa Fe. The lighting takes place every year, the day after Thanksgiving and annually draws a full crowd downtown.
According to Carlos Sanchez, Marketing and Special Events Administrator for the cities Parks and Recreation Department, the lighting has been happening for over 25 years.
On November 24th, the festivities will start around 3:00 pm with a local children’s choir. Youth organizations will be in attendance around the plaza, handing out cookies and hot chocolate. There will be entertainment and holiday music at the bandstand all evening. Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus will make an appearance around 4:00 pm and will arrive in true Santa Fe style: riding in together on a vintage fire truck that announces their arrival with its siren.
Volunteers for the event will begin lighting the traditional farolitos along the sides of the plaza at 4:30. Farolitos usually number in the thousands, twinkling along the sidewalks and pathways. The farolitos will illuminate the plaza until the main event. The official lighting takes place at approximately 6:00 p.m. and is presided over by Mayor Javier M. Gonzales, city councilors and other dignitaries.
City crews spend three to four weeks each year placing farolitos along the sides of the plaza. They’re also in charge of stringing 10,000 lights into the trees and mini lights around the gazebo, Santa’s hut and other nearby areas. Also on display are blow-up snowmen, Santas and polar bears.
The crowd in attendance counts down and the lights are all illuminated in unison making for a magnificent entrance into the holiday season.
Carlos Sanchez mentions that this is an event that shouldn’t be missed by locals or tourists, “It is a very traditional and festive way to get into the holiday spirit, the magic of all the lights and the people singing and cheering is breathtaking.”
For additional information, please contact: Carlos Sanchez; Marketing and Special Events Administrator, Parks and Recreation Department;505-955-2146; [email protected]
Season’s Greetings to you all from Meow Wolf!