Spring Festival & Children’s Fair

June 4 & 5, 2011

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El Rancho de las Golondrinas (The Ranch of the Swallows) will hum with a multitude of activities during Spring Festival & Children’s Fair, June 4 & 5, 2011. The living history museum/ranch located south of Santa Fe interprets rural life in the Southwest during the 18th and 19th centuries.Golondrinas Making Tortillas - B

A large volunteer staff dresses in clothing appropriate to the period. They share culture and heritage through stories, role playing, demonstrations and hands-on activities. Visitors can make tortillas, grind corn, make a corn husk doll or other arts and crafts, and sample bread baked in the traditional hornos.

Festival presentations include traditional music and dance, sheep shearing, blacksmithing and puppet shows. Sunday morning begins with a special mass and San Ysidro procession. Events run until 4pm both days.

Late spring is a perfect time to walk the 200-acre rural setting and festival weekends offer additional rich experiences.

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Golandrinas Sheep - B

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2011 Festivals & Special Events

El Rancho De Las Golondrinas

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Any weekend visit to the living history museum El Rancho de las Golondrinas provides historic and cultural experiences from the 18th and 19th century. Annual festivals and events promise even more reason to spend a day at the outstanding facility celebrating colorfulGolondrinas Sheep and Lady - B Southwestern heritage.

*June 4 & 5 – Spring Festival & Children’s Fair

Sheep shearing, animals born this spring, entertainment plus lots of games, puppet shows and hands-on activities for kids.

*June 25 & 26 – Fiber Arts Festival: From Sheep to Blanket

Follow the steps to create traditional New Mexico textiles from sheep shearing to elaborate embroidery. Original fiber arts for sale.

*July 2 & 3 – Santa Fe Wine FestivalGolondrinas Swishing Skirts - B

Meet vintners and sample wines from 16 New Mexico wineries. Purchase your favorite varietals, agricultural products and handmade arts and crafts.

*July 16 & 17 – Viva Mexico! Celebration

Celebrate the culture, cuisine and crafts of Mexico through music, arts and food.

Golondrinas - Bob Mill - B*July 23 & 24 – Herb & Lavender Fair

Tour herb gardens and attend lectures on growing lavender. Hands-on activities plus lavender and herb product vendors.

*Aug. 6 & 7 – Summer Festival: Frontier Days & Horses of the Old WestGolondrinas - Two Men - B

Mountain men and women demonstrate skills necessary in settling the West and relate tales of the era. Peruvian Paso horses from La Estancia Alegre.

*Aug. 13 & 14 – Survival: New Mexico

Practice fire starting, building shelters, using an atlati, making adobe and other survival Golondrinas Carding Wool - Btechniques required in Colonial and Territorial New Mexico.

*Sept. 3 & 4 – Fiesta de los Ninos: A Children’s Celebration

A family weekend honoring youngsters with games, crafts and entertainment. Children 12 and under admitted free.

*Sept.17 & 18 – Santa Fe Renaissance Fair

A Renaissance Fair with Spanish flair – defend a Spanish Galleon, games requiring knightly skills, flamenco dancers, turkey legs, ale and mead.

*Oct 1 & 2 – Harvest Festival

Golondrinas Stringing Ristas - BCelebrate the seasons bounty with wine making, grape stomping and stringing ristas at the most popular yearly event.

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Along the Santa Fe Trail

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site

 

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As we pass through heavy wooden doors in the thick adobe wall we enter the world of a 1840s fur trading post along the Santa Fe Trail, Bent’s Old Fort. Positioned on the north banks of the Arkansas River in current day eastern Colorado the fort was truly an outpost between two worlds 170 years ago.

The south side of the river was Mexico. Independence, Missouri, the starting point of the trail, lay 530 miles to the east. Santa Fe was still a month away for the trade wagons pulled by oxen and mules. This was the Western Frontier – Indians roamed the plains in search of diminishing buffalo herds, hunting and trapping.

Brothers Charles and William Bent and Ceran St. Vrain partnered to establish a trade business. Construction began in 1833 on an adobe fort near the Santa Fe Trail’s Arkansas River crossing.

Guide with Wheel - N An accredited living history program helps today’s visitors relate to the time when the fort hummed with activity. Anvil pings rung through the blacksmith shop as a smithy repaired wagon wheels and shod tired animals. Beaver and buffalo hides were pressed into 100-pound bales for shipment to St. Louis. A resident doctor administered to the ill and injured. Trappers, traders, travelers and Indians bartered in the Trade Room.

Today the fort is filled with artifacts and replicas recalling the 16 years when Bent’s Fort was the headquarters of a thriving trade empire. Visitors relive those days on either guided or self-guiding tours. An introductory film offers background and overview.

Moving through the rooms we realize this was essentially a village. Image the scents of foods cooking over the cottonwood fire, the pleasure of eating at a table in the dining room after weeks on the trail. The three warehouse areas would have been filled with boxes, barrels, and bundles of supplies from guns to tobacco. The Council room served as the place for trade term agreements and solving grievances as interpreters communicated between sign language and English.

Indian Room In Indian Agent Thomas Fitzpatrick’s quarters we study the “Winter Count”, a Cheyenne picture history painted on an elk hide. Our guide points out important events such as the meteor shower of 1833, the murder of Charles Bent and outbreaks of illnesses.

Up the stairs we visit living quarters of the Doctor Hempstead, visiting trappers including Kit Carson, clerks and partner Ceran St. Vrain. Recreation could be found in the billiard room as well as “drinkables”. From the two corner bastions we scan the plains for  miles in all directions and watch the animals  in the corrals behind the fort. Today a single tepee standing in front of the fort represents the Cheyennes and Arapahos who camped just outside the walls.

When You Go: Bent’s Old Fort NHS is open daily except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Hours are 8am-5:30pm June 1 – August 31, 9am-4pm September 1 – May 31. Guided tours are available at 9:30am, 11am, 1pm and 2:30pm in summer and at 10:30am and 1pm September through May. The fort is a 1/4 mile walk from the parking area. Don’t miss the well stocked Western National Parks Association bookstore and trade room.