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SANTA FE – What is the most interesting county in New Mexico? Is it Rio Arriba, with its political intrigue and 400-year-old cultural traditions?
Is it Doña Ana, with its southern Rio Grande Culture? Is it Grant County with its mining history, Black Range Tales and the most colorful Madame in the West? Is it bustling Albuquerque or historic Santa Fe?
It would be possible to name every county in some category but I seem to find myself writing about more unusual happenings in Lincoln County than any place in our state.
I’ve lived many places in New Mexico but never in Lincoln County so it isn’t hometown loyalty that focuses so many of my columns on Lincoln County. It has to be the people and what they do.
Catching my eye this week was a news release from the New Mexico Department of Tourism about a fandango in old Lincoln town, a state monument that has been seeing action since the building of Fort Stanton in 1855.
Back at that time, fandangos would attract nearly everyone in the community. Americans had been enjoying them since the days of the Santa Fe Trail, beginning in 1821.
Early merchant Josiah Gregg described them in 1840. Everyone was welcome, even Anglos, and all classes of people danced together. Often there was a gambling hall that was part of the same building.
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