Above: Dancers come from all over for the Gathering of Nations. Photography by Jeremy Wade Shockley.
Celebrate the coming of spring in Albuquerque, where Mama’s Minerals throws a fun Easter egg hunt on March 31 at its Sawmill neighborhood store. Kids can search for rock, fossil, and mineral treasures; meet the Easter Bunny; and get to know some real rabbits from the New Mexico House Rabbit Society (505-266-8443, mamasminerals.com).
Spring Fest in Las Cruces claims to be the “greatest egg hunt in the Southwest.” On March 31, Las Crucens converge on Young Park in search of more than 15,000 plastic eggs filled with candy, toys, and gift certificates. Stick around for the kiddie rides, petting zoo, games, and food trucks (575-527-1111, on Facebook).
Bring your Easter basket to the Old Windmill Dairy, in Estancia, for its Easter Egg Hunt and Farm Festival, March 31–April 1. After that, pet the baby goats and nibble on cheese snacks (theoldwindmilldairy.com).
On April 1 at Caballo Lake State Park, a herd of deliriously giddy kids (up to age 12) frolic through an Easter Egg Hunt organized by the Fraternal Order of Eagles (575-743-3942, nmmag.us/CaballoEaster).
Catch the Broadway musical Amazing Grace at the Spencer Theater, in Alto, April 3, for a look at the life of the famous hymn’s author, John Newton, an English slave trader who later became a priest and an abolitionist. Arrive early for the bourbon-glazed-ham buffet (888-818-7872, spencertheater.com).
The Taos Chamber Music Group’s Play It Forward events, April 14–15, highlight the extraordinary talent of 17-year-old violinist Phoenix Avalon, playing works by Johannes Brahms (Violin Sonata No. 1), Astor Piazzolla (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), and the young Russian composer Alexey Kurbatov (575-770-1167, taoschambermusicgroup.org).
The spotlight settles on soloists April 22, during a Stars of the Symphony performance of the Southwest Symphony, in Hobbs. It will be the New Mexico debut of Beyond the Event Horizon, a composition by native son Austin Brake (575-738-1041, swsymphony.org ).
FEST FOOT FORWARD
Spread out a picnic blanket and spend the afternoon at the fourth annual Great New Mexico Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival, which rolls into Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park March 31. Listen to music, enjoy the sun, and stroll among the 25 food trucks, which usually range from hot dogs to barbecue, Hawaiian to East African, fro-yo to snow cones. Last year’s brews included local favorites such as Santa Fe, Rio Grande, and Sierra Blanca Breweries, plus Ska Brewing from Durango and Upslope from Boulder (617-782-7117, foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.com).
Lush winery grounds make an alluring setting for the La Viña Wine Festival, April 28–29 in La Unión, near Las Cruces. Spend a lazy afternoon enjoying live music and food under shady trees. The $20 entrance fee entitles adults to taste up to nine different wines or enjoy a full glass of one; tickets for folks 12–20 cost $10; kids 11 and younger are free (575-882-7632, lavina.wolfep.com).
The daylong Tierra Wools Harvest Festival, in Los Ojos, April 28, kicks off a new season of classes and shopping at this famed wool market and weaving center. Demonstrators will shear, spin, dye, and weave, plus there’s live music, light refreshments, and that lovely drive north (575-588-7231; handweavers.com).
Some of us pay homage to the great outdoors every day, but the April 22 Earth Day attracts special attention at events throughout the state. The BioPark, in Albuquerque, offers four days of down-to-earth fun, beginning April 18 with animal encounters and conservation info; story time and zookeeper chats on April 19; wildlife discovery stations and bird identification on April 20; and a Children’s Seed Festival on April 21 (505-768-2000, nmmag.us/CABQBioPark).
Make a reservation for a special hike up Oak Canyon on April 22 at Jemez Historic Site, north of Jémez Springs. The usually off-limits 1.5-mile walk includes information on flora and fauna by the site’s rangers—but participation is limited (575-829-3539, nmhistoricsite.org/jemez).
The Pajarito Environmental Education Center, in Los Alamos, pulls out the stops for its Earth Day Festival, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on April 21. Food vendors, live music, hands-on activities, and info booths of earth-minded organizations will be there. Pop inside for cool exhibits on reptiles, geology, and ecology, and a calming wildlife-viewing room (505-662-0460, peecnature.org).
National Park Week runs April 21–29, with free admission on opening day, which is also National Junior Ranger Day. Get the kids started on activities that mix science, art, history, and math (nps.gov).
Alamogordo waits a week to celebrate. On April 28 , the city’s biggest one-day event kicks off at 9 a.m. at the Alameda Park Zoo. Food vendors, performers, and exhibitors swell the crowds, so snag an early viewing spot for the 11 a.m. mass butterfly release (575-415-3494).
Catch a case of powwow fever at the Gathering of Nations, April 26–28 at Expo NM, in Albuquerque. The largest powwow in the country draws thousands of participants from tribes all across North America for singing and dancing competitions, a huge Indian Traders’ Market, a Native food court, and the crowning of Miss Indian World. New this year: a horse-and-rider regalia parade and contest that honors the spirit of Native American horse culture (505-836-2810, gatheringofnations.com).
They’re not as majestic as eagles, as graceful as cranes, or as lovely as snow geese, but turkey vultures nonetheless impress bird-watchers each spring with their return from winter habitats in Central and South America. During late March and early April, many flock to the cottonwood trees along Chaco Street in the village of Aztec. With a large, dramatic V-shaped wingspan, turkey vultures have a characteristically inelegant and wobbly soaring pattern and a bright-red, featherless head somewhat reminiscent of its similarly homely, awkward namesake, the wild turkey. “It’s a real natural phenomenon,” says Aztec resident Vicky Ramakka, who's fascinated by their show. “They circle slowly in the morning, catching warm air to lift them higher and higher until you can barely see them.”
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL
For more events, go to nmmag.us/calendarnmm