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Birthday bash: Fiestas de Albuquerque celebrates 313 years since city’s founding

Happy birthday, Albuquerque.

A founders’ procession heads to Old Town Plaza during a Fiestas de Albuquerque celebration. (Courtesy of City of Albuquerque)

The city will hold a celebration called Fiestas de Albuquerque in Old Town on Saturday, April 6.

The free event will have music, dance, children’s activities and more. Animal Welfare will be on site with adoptable pets and offer a special $10 adoption rate.

“Fiestas de Albuquerque is celebrating Albuquerque’s 313th birthday, so the whole idea of it is to really celebrate Albuquerque,” said Bree Ortiz, events and operations manager for the city. “It takes place in Old Town, and we celebrate all the culture and history of Albuquerque. We have a variety of performances, including dancers. We have Sun and Fire dance group, which is traditional Native American dance from Jemez Pueblo. They come down, do a few performances. We have ballet folklorico, some mariachis, flamenco, and everything locals enjoy.”

Native New Mexican Gonzalo will headline the festival. Other performers include Ballet Folklorico Fiesta Mexicana, Mariachi Traditional and the National Institute of Flamenco.

At 3 p.m., the Founder’s Ceremony will take place at the Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdés statue followed by a founders’ procession to Old Town Plaza.

“Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdés, he was actually, like, the main founder of Albuquerque, and that’s the statue of the guy on a horse on the corner of Mountain and Rio Grande,” Ortiz said. “He is the founder of Albuquerque. So they start over there, and they talk a little bit about the founding, and they do a procession. They’re the descendants of the founding families, and they’ll do a procession down Romero street and end in the plaza. They have really beautiful flags that have all the last names of the founding families and the people who first settled here, and so that’s what they carry in the procession. They’re pretty cool.”

Once the procession reaches the gazebo in the plaza, there will be a brief oral history on the founding of Albuquerque.

Mayor Tim Keller will speak about the city’s birthday. There will be food trucks at the event and plenty of children’s activities, including a climbing wall, face painters, and arts and crafts.

“Some of the Old Town merchants, the stores in Old Town, they’re coming out and having booths,” Ortiz said. “We will also have some artist demonstrations of traditional art.”

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