News Column

Old Mexico Comes to New Mexico

July 19, 2013

It's old-world Mexico brought to New Mexico.

It's the sixth annual Viva Mexico!

The two-day festival of arts and culture runs Saturday and Sunday at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

"I've been at Golondrinas for 25 years, and this event -- hands down -- is the most fun event for me," said John Berkenfield, executive director of Las Golondrinas. " ... What we try to do is bring to Santa Fe things you can't see outside of Mexico."

This year's Viva Mexico! features a traditional rodeo, or charreada, which dates back to the 16th century, said Mexican Consul Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de Leon.

"We are bringing ceremonies you can't even see except in very specific places in Mexico. ... We are going back to the roots," he said. "And the charreada is one of most important traditions -- it's registered as our national sport."

Traditional cowboys from Mexico will demonstrate the art of lassoing and trick riding, including the "paseo de la muerte" or the "pass of death." The performances each day culminate in the "Escaramuza," which features eight women dressed as revolutionary "Adelitas" who perform high-speed and intricate riding formations.

"These are demonstrations of the skills of the riders and the will of the horses," Ibarra said.

But the charreada is not limited to the events in the arena, he added.

"When you take this very beautiful custom and mix it with traditional music and food, that's a charreada," Ibarra said. "It's everything related to Mexico put together in a show."

Arts and crafts will also be on display to showcase eight states of Mexico, including Tlaxcala, Zacatecas, Sonora, Quintana Roo, Queretaro, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Distrito Federal. In addition, 27 artists from 12 states will vend their works in the Mexican market.

The "Cornisa 20" comedy troupe, based in Guanajuato, returns to the event for the third year. Oaxaca-based chef Susana Trilling will also be on hand to demonstrate cooking with chocolate and Santa Febased chef Fernando Olea will teach how to make mole.

Since its inception in 2008, Viva Mexico! has grown from 671 to more than 5,000 attendees last year.

Performances in the past included Los Voladores, or the flying men of Veracruz, and the masked dancers from the Mexican state of Tlaxcala. If you go

WHAT : Viva Mexico!

WHERE : El Rancho de las Golondrinas, 334 Los Pinos Road, La Cienega

WHEN : Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

COST : Adults $8; seniors and teens, $5; free to children ages 12 and younger


(c)2013 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)

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Source: Copyright Albuquerque Journal (NM) 2013

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