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Purple power: Taos Lilac Festival features arts, crafts, food, music, beer and wine

The commonly purple bloom that flourishes in the spring each year in Taos will be celebrated today through Sunday.

The sixth annual Taos Lilac Festival in Kit Carson Park will feature arts and crafts, lilac sales, and children’s rides on the vintage Tio Vivo Carousel, an antique carousel featuring hand-painted horses.

Food carts and a beer and wine garden selling offerings from Taos Mesa Brewing and Black Mesa Winery will be on hand, according to Susan Cady, executive director of Taos County Chamber of Commerce.

Los Jardineros Garden Club of Taos will have an information booth where it will sell lilac products such as soaps, perfumes, lotions and potions.

The event’s main sponsor, Rio Grande Ace Hardware, will have a wide variety of lilacs, flowers, outdoor furniture, cooking equipment and demonstrations.

Bands including Good Grief, the Billy Stewart Pot Creek Band, and the Noseeums, will perform on Saturday and Sunday as part of Lilacs, Bluegrass and Brews.

Local pets will have a chance to be a part of the festivities during a pet parade that starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Pets and their owners will assemble at 10:15 a.m. and then make their way through Taos Plaza to Kit Carson Park.

Pet owners are asked to leash their pets or safely cage them for the parade. Pets can take part in the pet costume contest at the park, where they will be judged on originality, craftsmanship, presentation, and overall exhibit. Ribbons and prizes will be awarded.

After the contest, a pet blessing will be held at the Kit Carson Park Bandstand.

On Sunday, the annual Taos Taco Cook Off will be held from noon to 2 p.m. The cook-off is sponsored by The Great Chefs of Taos, a nonprofit that supports the Taos High School Culinary Arts program.

Eventgoers who pay a $20 admission into the event receive tastes from the eight participating restaurants.

Visitors can step away on a self-guided tour to admire lilac shrubs as well as decorated shop windows throughout Taos’ downtown historic area.

“We have a map of the downtown historic Taos area, and on that map are labeled where they can see some great lilacs, and also we have 40 of our local businesses participating in lilac window displays,” Cady said. “It doesn’t have to contain real lilacs. It is lilac-inspired window decor.”