Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
One of Santa Fe’s most iconic holiday traditions, the Farolito Walk on Canyon Road, will not take place this year – at least not in its traditional format.
The annual event, which typically sees thousands stroll among the art galleries and restaurants that line Canyon Road, happens every Christmas Eve and is named for the many farolitos – brown paper bags with small candles inside – illuminating the route.
But it’s unclear just how many farolitos visitors will be able to see this holiday season as the pandemic threatens a tradition that has lasted for decades.
The city of Santa Fe’s tourism website currently states the event will be canceled due to a prohibition on mass gatherings. It’s the latest event for Santa Fe that’s had to postpone or adapt to a world with COVID-19, which has decimated Santa Fe’s tourism-reliant economy.
During a Monday roundtable with reporters, Santa Fe Constituent Services Director Kristine Mihelcic said the event would not be held in its traditional format, but officials were discussing possible alternatives to keep the tradition alive.
“We will be looking for a creative way to continue that tradition,” Mihelcic said.
It’s not the first holiday tradition in Santa Fe to seek COVID-safe alternatives. The Santa Fe Plaza’s lighting ceremony transitioned this year to a drive-by event and hundreds participated on Friday night.
Mihelcic said the city is hoping to implement a similar format for the Farolito Walk, but added that even setting up the new lighting ceremony, while successful, was “quite the undertaking.”
It’s unclear if the same format would work on Canyon Road, a narrow roadway in one of Santa Fe’s historic districts. The road is usually closed to cars on Christmas Eve to allow room for the thousands of people that traditionally participate.
The city has reached out to the Canyon Road Association to help plan for a possible alternative, Mihelcic said.
Another popular annual Christmastime event in Santa Fe has already been canceled. Las Posadas, a recreation of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging prior to the birth of Jesus, was canceled by the New Mexico History Museum, which typically stages the event in mid December.