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Happy Birthday, ABQ: City celebrates 312 years with Fiestas de Albuquerque in Old Town

Albuquerque turns 312 this month and the city is celebrating with its annual Fiestas de Albuquerque in Old Town.

The fiestas feature music, dance, arts and crafts, and a Founders’ Procession. The Founders’ ceremony begins at 3 p.m. at the Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes statue, at Mountain and Romero NW. The Founders’ Procession to the Plaza will follow. The procession features flags with the last names and coat of arms of Albuquerque’s founding families. A brief history on the founding families will be given at the Plaza.

The New Mexico Gunfighters will open the entertainment schedule and take eventgoers back to the Old West with two performances at noon and at 2:35 p.m.

“The New Mexico Gunfighters are there every other Sunday, and they perform in Old Town and they do an Old West play of sorts, and they (perform) for about 15 minutes,”said Bree Ortiz, events and operations manager for the city of Albuquerque. “They do it throughout the day, and they set up a set that looks like the Old West and they do a few shows that are entertaining old cowboy shows.”

Musicians and dance groups will entertain throughout the day at the Plaza’s gazebo. Sun and Fire, a traditional dance group from Jemez Pueblo, performs at 12:20 p.m. and 2:10 p.m. Ballet folklorico Baile! Baile! performs at 12:45 p.m., and Mariachi Nuevo Sonido takes the stage at 1:20 p.m. Local favorites Ivon Ulibarri & Café Mocha headline from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The band performs a blend of son, cha-cha, merengue, cumbia and other Latin styles.

“We definitely wanted to have traditional well-loved performers for the day, so we did a mix of Baila! Baila! ballet folklorico dancing and Mariachi Nuevo Sonido,” Ortiz said. “To break it up some, we have traditional Native dance by the Sun and Fire group and (salsa) dancing with Café Mocha. There is something for everybody.”

Children also will have plenty of activities, including a 25-foot climbing wall, to keep them busy. A few of the restaurants in Old Town will be serving food in the Plaza, and there will be a few food trucks. There also will be a few demonstrations and arts and crafts vendors throughout the Plaza. Artist Adan Carriaga will be doing a carving demonstration and will have his bultos and retablos available for purchase. Popular local artists Jerry Montoya and Carlos Otero also will be at the event. Montoya creates tinwork and jewelry, and Otero makes bultos and retablos.

“That is truly what it is, to celebrate Albuquerque and have a great family-friendly event in Old Town,” Ortiz said. “… Have fun, hear bands and dance the day away in Old Town.”

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