Last year brought us a new royal court and a new look for Renaissance ArtsFaire mascot Magellan the Dragon. The big news this year is that the Renaissance ArtsFaire, now in its 44th year, has been declared New Mexico True, by the Department of Tourism. What does that mean for attendees old and new? Even more additions, some with a New Mexican flair!
Artistas del Camino Real is a new attraction that introduces a uniquely New Mexico element to the ArtsFaire by featuring artisans who create and sell works that would have been found in New Mexico during the Renaissance era, such as weaving, drum-making, pottery, retablos, silver work and more. Local designer Bob Diven is creating a Camino Real panorama that will be the backdrop for the six invited artists who will be demonstrating their art forms. The artists include Virginia Romero, retablos; Laura Bugarini and Hector Gallegos, pottery; Juan Lopez, silver; Margarito Mondragon, bultos; and Yolanda Martinez, drums. And to add authentic ambience, the Matachines Guadelupeno dancers will perform at 11:30 am each day in the Camino Real courtyard.
Also new to the ArtsFaire this year will be jousting on horseback twice a day by the Order of Epona from Albuquerque, and an expansion and name change to the already very successful Wine Garden. The new Dragon’s Eye Tavern will offer drafts from three local breweries along with St. Clair wines under the same roof of the shady park pavilion. The three local breweries represented will be High Desert, Bosque and Pecan Grill.
Eighty five regional and national artists’ booths will line the rolling hills of Young Park offering jewelry, leather, wood, textiles, metal sculptures, paintings and photography. Old favorites will return as well, including Robert the Ratcatcher, Magellan the Dragon, Canoe rides by the Boy Scouts, a Children’s Realm and two stages of entertainment – the Main Stage, hosted by emcee Randy Granger and the Children’s Realm stage, hosted by emcee Chris Mitchell. Stroll through the Merry Court, under the guidance of Queen Sherry, and the newest court of the realm, The Court of the Crimson Bear, while enjoying Products of the Southwest and fare from local food vendors. A portion of the proceeds from every food or beverage sale goes to support a local non-profit organization.
Once again, the free Park ‘n Ride “Royal Carriage” will run between Mesilla Valley Mall (near Cineport 10) and the park entrance throughout both days. This year, the City of Las Cruces has built new permanent restrooms at Young Park, so the main entrance will move south, closer to the tennis courts. Further proof that everything old is new again at the 44th Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire!
The 44th Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire is located at Young Park, 1905 E. Nevada Avenue. Faire hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 7 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, November 8. Admission is $6 at the gate for adults. Children under the age of 12 are free. Tickets are also available online at www.RioGrandeTheatre.com. For more information, call the Doña Ana Arts Council offices at (575) 523-6403 or visit the new and improved website at www.DAArts.org, including links to performers and images of artwork that will be on display.