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In bloom: Mountainair Sunflower Festival features arts and crafts, music, kids’ activities

The 2019 Mountainair Sunflower Festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24, in Mountainair. (Courtesy of Alyson Flynn)

Everything’s coming up sunflowers in Mountainair.

The town will hold its 24th annual Mountainair Sunflower Festival on Saturday, Aug. 24. There will be art shows, children’s activities, arts and crafts, live music by The Manzano Mountain Estancia Valley Musical Collusion, Watermelon Mountain Jug Band, and Felix y Los Gatos and more at various locations downtown.

“It’s a really big deal to Mountainair,” said Alyson Flynn, marketing director for Manzano Mountain Art Council. “It’s the biggest event that they do every year. It brings the most visitors. Last year, there were about 3,000 people who came. … And so the town has expanded the festival area to a larger area and are now incorporating an outdoor park called Mustang Square where there’s a children’s activity area, a bouncy house. The food vendors will be in the kids area.”

The Manzano Mountain Art Council Center, which was recently designated as a historic location, will host the Sunflower 24 art exhibit. It will also host the Treasure Sale, a fundraiser full of art, antiques and collectibles. Proceeds benefit the Manzano Mountain Art Council.

Inside the Dr. Saul Center will be an information booth where raffle tickets will be sold for a chance to win artwork. A juried art show featuring New Mexico artists will be inside the center.

“We have four artists who have donated art,” Flynn said. “And the raffle is one of the biggest fundraisers that we do. The juried art show is there, and this year we are selling bandannas. We have three colors with the art festival design on it.”

Work by Mountainair elementary students also will be on display.

“The elementary students do their own sunflower art that’s in all the businesses downtown,” Flynn said. “The students do their own artwork in the spring before the school year’s over, and then the businesses hang the sunflower art in their windows.”

The biggest draw of the festival is the Sunflower Hat Contest.

“Some people make their own hats and bring them with them that day,” Flynn said. “We also have a station set up for people to make their own sunflower hats. Then they do a parade to the main stage, and they announce a winner, and they have a prize for the winner.”

The main purpose of the Sunflower Festival is to showcase local artists and craftspeople.

“The mission they’ve tried to uphold over the years is that these are working artists and craftspeople who have their work promoted and to keep it really tightly within that mission,” Flynn said. “It’s literally art in your hand that’s made by the artist at that location. It’s smart to uphold that mission. They do a really good job to go through all the applicants and really have it be a supportive event for professional artists and craftspeople.”

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