Fall events set for Saturday

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Fiestas: Bandelier and Ski Pajarito are hosting activities for the public

By Arin McKenna

Bandelier National Monument and Pajarito Mountain Ski Area are both hosting events Saturday.

After a year’s hiatus due to the Las Conchas fire, Bandelier National Monument’s Fall Fiesta is back with both new and familiar activities for the whole family. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Nature through Art and Culture.”

“We’re looking at really tying together the Native cultural aspects with the Spanish cultural aspects of the region and to do concerted outreach and to make this sort of the destination event for that outreach,” Public Information Officer Rod Torrez said. “We will also include the natural history of the park as part of it as well. I think hopefully we’ll have something that covers a wide range of Bandelier’s history.”

The event will include Pueblo and Hispanic cultural demonstrations, games, traditional dancing and arts at the park. Artist demonstrations will include tinwork and pottery. Gary Roybal demonstrates moccasin making while his son, also Gary, exhibits his turkey calls. Turkeys played a big part in Bandelier’s history.

Friends of Bandelier and representatives from Valles Caldera National Monument will focus on the park’s natural history, and a group with rescued raptors will be on hand.

“When we have events in parks, a lot of it is to let people know they can be involved, they can come here,” Torrez said.“The parks aren’t just kind of museums that you walk through, they’re living places, and stuff still happens here."

Entrance to the park is via the free Bandelier Shuttle only, with the exception of those with disabilities. Shuttles depart every 15 to 20 minutes, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., from the new White Rock Visitor Complex on N.M. 4. The Fiesta is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

At Ski Pajarito, Ullr Fest will take place from noon until 5 p.m. The event will raise funds for fire recovery and help celebrate the upcoming winter season.

A beer garden will be in place with 11 different state breweries including Chama River, La Cumbre, Blue Heron, Abbey, Second Street, Tractor, Turtle Mountain, Blue Corn, Il Vicino, Marble and Santa Fe Brewery. There is a $15 fee for entrance to the beer garden.

Live music will be from 1-5 p.m. with the Felonious Groove Foundation. In addition, the facility will be open for lift-served hiking and biking but bring your own body armor. There also will be a costume contest.

For transportation, there will be a free shuttle from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. leaving every 30 minutes from Sullivan Field.
For more information, check out skipajarito.com.

“Mozart on the Rocks” will round out the day at Bandelier, starting with tailgating at 4 p.m. Shuttles to the amphitheater and the wine tasting start at 5 p.m. The performance is at 6:15 p.m.

Park Superintendent Jason Lott suggested that the Los Alamos Opera Guild might want to hold a concert at the park’s amphitheater instead of someone’s home and the Guild ran with the idea. So did several other groups and the idea of “Mozart on the Rocks” was born.

Co-hosts include not only the Guild and Bandelier, but Los Alamos Atomic City Transit (ACT), Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation (LACDC) and Don Quixote Distillery and Winery.

“So it’s a lot of partners, a lot of sharing, and we’ve all put this together,” Lott said. “It’s very much a collaborative effort that we’re putting on for the benefit of the community.”

“We’re trying to emulate the Santa Fe Opera experience. We’re going to have tailgating at the White Rock Visitor Center as part of their grand opening,” Lott said. The LACDC is keeping the visitor center open late so tailgaters can enjoy the new building.

Opera Guild members will be providing an introduction to the evening’s experience during the ride to the park. Lott encourages visitors to ride the shuttles, since most of the amphitheater’s 30 parking spaces will be used by performers. Shuttles will transport guests from Frijoles Canyon to the amphitheater, but the White Rock shuttles will take priority.

Don Quixote Distillery and Winery is offering a complimentary wine tasting before the opera, with members of the Los Alamos High School Honors Choir providing music.

The opera performance features The Three Sopranos — Jess Cullinan and Heather McCulloch coordinated by local opera singer Alicia Soloman and accompanied by pianist Brian Huysman. They will present selections from Mozart including pieces from the “Magic Flute,” “Marriage of Figaro” and “Cosi fan tutte.”

All Fall Fiesta events are free, including park access. Saturday is a National Public Lands Day, when all national parks offer free admission. For further information about the Fall Fiesta, contact Torrez at 672-3861, ext 511. For information about the opera, contact Lott at 672-3861, ext 501.