It’s time to get up and get out.
With the pandemic diminished for the moment, Santa Fe is opening up.
While critics continue to bash Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for restrictions imposed during the coronavirus outbreak, New Mexico’s progress in bringing COVID-19 under control makes it possible for us to return to many of our cherished public events this summer.
As of last Thursday, New Mexico’s daily average for new COVID infections, for the most recent seven-day period, was 65, or three per day per 100,000 residents. Compare that to nationally poor-performing Arkansas, averaging 530 new cases per day or 18 per 100,000 residents.
New Mexico’s average of 0.05 deaths per day per 100,000 residents also ranks well nationally. On Wednesday, only 14 new COVID cases were reported in Santa Fe County.
Those numbers mean we can go to such events as the International Folk Art Market with little concern. IFAM got started on Thursday and will run through next weekend. It’s a special COVID-era version of the spectacular market – organizers are allowing 200 visitors entry every two hours on market days, which this week are Thursday-Sunday on Museum Hill’s Milner Plaza. Masks are mandatory and the artists from around the world are tested for COVID-19 before entering.
This time around, you probably won’t see the colorful, crowded, festive mob scene we all know so well from previous markets. And the $30 entry fee is higher than in years past, understandable for organizers staging a global event with a limited crowd. There probably could have been looser rules and restrictions for IFAM had organizers known that New Mexico would be faring so well at this point in the pandemic. The Albuquerque Isotopes, after all, stuffed more than 13,000 people into their ballpark recently.
But IFAM is on, bringing the world to Santa Fe. If you need another nudge, shake off the pandemic and get out to the market (check times and ticket availability online first), and remember that IFAM and the sales that take place there provide crucial financial support to the folk artists whose work is on display.
Also returning this month is Santa Fe’s series of free music concerts at the Railyard, on the Plaza and at the Southside’s SWAN Park. Thanks to the well-honed skills of the folks at AMP Concerts and Outside In Productions, the free Santa Fe shows surely have been among the best curated in the country in recent years, always presenting a diverse schedule of local and touring performers whose only common trait is musical talent.
Who in Santa Fe knew there was Peruvian surf music, and that it was great, until AMP gave us a dose of it in the Railyard? AMP is also taking on the Plaza and SWAN Park concerts this year. So, there will be no shortage of opportunities to enjoy music en plein air, as there typically will be five or so shows a week through early September. Ampconcerts.org has the full schedule.
Neal Copperman, AMP’s executive director, says the fundraising necessary to stage the concerts has been successful. Local businesses have been crucial in supporting the music series over the years. “We surpassed our goals and found that community support is really strong,” Copperman told the Journal’s Adrian Gomez.
One date to circle on your calendar should be July 27, when the Grammy-winning, multi-cultural dance-funk band Ozomatli performs on the Plaza. The group filled the Railyard’s concert space to overflowing at a previous free show that had hundreds dancing jubilantly, or at least as best they could while crammed cheek to jowl.
So, yes, Santa Fe and northern New Mexico, it’s time to revisit the real world and have some fun. We’ve earned it by treating the coronavirus with the seriousness and caution it required.