Santa Fe's Farolito Walk becomes drive this year - Albuquerque Journal

Santa Fe’s Farolito Walk becomes drive this year

Farolitos line Canyon Road during the annual Christmas Eve Farolito Walk in Santa Fe. This year, visitors will get to enjoy the spectacle by driving down the road rather than walking. (Journal File)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – At the tail end of a frequently untraditional year, officials with the city of Santa Fe plan on preserving an iconic event on the City Different’s holiday calendar.

The Christmas Eve Farolito Walk, which typically sees thousands stroll down the famed Canyon Road, will still take place Thursday night – but in a modified form. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, revelers this year are being asked to enjoy the decorations from the comfort of their own vehicle.

Kristine Mihelcic, constituent services director for the city, said some holiday customs can’t be stopped by COVID.

“These are long-standing traditions in the community,” she told the Journal. “If there’s an opportunity for the community to still participate, obviously we want to support that.”

Foot traffic will not be allowed on Canyon Road when the event starts at about 5:30 p.m. Mihelcic said it’s fair to expect a good deal of traffic, although it’s unclear how many cars will arrive. Police will be present to help guide traffic through the thin and winding Canyon Road.

The city altered its viewing of the annual lighting of Christmas lights on the downtown Plaza on Nov. 27 by limiting it to vehicle traffic. Hundreds, if not thousands, of cars lined up for miles to catch a glimpse of the Plaza after it was lit up.

The Farolito Walk has been a fixture of the holiday season in Santa Fe for decades and always features farolitos lining the street decorating the art galleries for which Canyon Road is famous.

Carlos Acosta, a gallery owner and co-president of the Canyon Road Merchants Association, said it will undoubtedly feel different this year with people having to stay in their cars. But it’s still important to keep the tradition alive, he said.

“We describe it as being magical, and I don’t think you realize how great it is until you experience it,” Acosta said. “Better than nothing.”

Side streets intersecting with Canyon Road will be blocked to vehicle access during the event, which is scheduled to end at 8:30 p.m.

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