Lilac Festival blooms Friday in Taos

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 Lilacs are an abundant, fragrant part of the history of Taos and are being celebrated and promoted at the second annual Lilac Festival from Friday to Sunday at Kit Carson Park in Taos. 

The free event includes an arts and crafts fair, pet parade and blessing, live music and vintage car and truck shows. The Lilac Festival was established to promote landscape beautification and tourism in Taos.

“Lilacs are a staple of Taos’ history, having been brought here more than 150 years ago by European missionaries,” said co-founder of the Lilac Festival, John Hamilton. “Lilacs produce a wonderful scent that, for many who grew up here, is comforting and reminiscent of growing up seeing lilacs all over town. We hope to encourage Taoseños to plant, prune and maintain lilacs, which will spread to other areas of landscaping and make Taos even more beautiful than it already is.”

Throughout the festival, arts and crafts from more than 40 artisans will be available for purchase. 

Information booths featuring information on lilac care and planting advice along with sale of lilac bushes, and food vendor booths will also be available. 

Children can enjoy complimentary rides on the Tio Vivo carousel at the event.

A self-guided Taos Lilac Festival map, available at taoslilacfestival.com, pinpoints where festival goers can walk to enjoy the fragrant, purple flowers along the historic Lilac trails of town.

Pet owners are invited to dress their pets in costume and assemble at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, for a pet parade at 11 a.m. Prizes will be awarded for “best pet costume,” “best team costume” (owners and pets), “best lilac-themed costume” (owners and pets) and “most unusual pet” (no pets that will scare dogs). Pets must be leashed or safely caged.

Father Clement Niggel of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish will conduct a pet blessing at 11:30 a.m. Pet Blessings are a long-standing New Mexico tradition and are typically conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. Each pet will receive a St. Francis of Assisi pendant to attach to their collar or cage. 

Though there is no charge for the pet parade, donations of $5 or $10 are recommended to benefit Stray Hearts Animal Shelter.

Vintage car and truck owners can compete for the titles of “Best Car/Truck,” “Most Taoseño Car/Truck” or “Best in Show” car or truck during the Vintage Truck Show on Saturdayand Vintage Car Show on Sunday, beginning on both days at 1 p.m. 

Cars and trucks will assemble and leave from the Taos County Administrative Complex. Auto enthusiasts can see the vintage cars and trucks from 1:30 to 5 p.m. at Kit Carson Park on both days. 

Cash prizes and ribbons will be awarded to the winners. The car show is being organized by Taos Auto Enthusiasts Car Club.

For more information, visit taoslilacfestival.com or contact Thom Wheeler at thom@thomwheeler.com or 575-758-8870.

The mission of the Taos Lilac Festival LLC is to promote landscape beautification and tourism in the Taos area.