AspenFest 2016: A Family Affair

aspenfest 2016

aspenfest 2016AspenFest 2016: A Family Affair

Some events are geared for adults, and some activities are tailored for the young, but AspenFest 2016 is organized for the entire family. Men, women and preadults alike can partake in this yearly, first-weekend-in-October Ruidoso celebration, which includes a parade kickoff and is combined with the Arts and Crafts Show, the New Mexico State Open Chili Cook-Off and the Rod Run and Car Show. All four autumn events, amidst the wondrous mountain vistas of Ruidoso, should satisfy the entire household. The theme this year is “Adventure in the Pines.”

It’s not often four important occurrences take place on the same weekend in one place that can appeal to parents and children alike. The organizers of AspenFest 2016 should be congratulated for putting together such all-inclusive celebratory attractions.

•    The AspenFest Parade will begin the weekend festivities at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct.1. The procession will start at Mechem and Sudderth Drives and conclude in front of the Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce (720 Sudderth). “This entertaining cavalcade is truly a family affair,” parade organizer Deborah Douds explained. “We’ve just about got it down to a science by now. We have all the permits that are required. The event couldn’t take place without the generous help we receive from the police and fire departments.” And the informative Douds should know. She’s been coordinating the parade since 2009. “Last year we had 50 to 60 participants, which included floats, bands, horse riders, Shriners and emergency vehicles, among others.” Douds estimates the cortege will last about 45 minutes. She may be reached at 575-257-7395.

•    The Arts and Crafts Show will take place Oct. 1-2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each of the two days at the Boys and Girls Club of Sierra Blanca (134 Reese Drive). A minimal fee of $2 will get adults into the show. Children under 12-years-old are admitted free. The affable Tim Coughlin is the go-to person for this event. “This is the 31st year for the Arts and Crafts Show in Ruidoso,” Coughlin said. “The Ruidoso Gymnastics Association was the event coordinator for the first 30 years and last year we partnered with them. The 2016 show is now maintained by the Boys and Girls Club. There will be superior, adult-made, handcrafted items for sale, including jewelry, woodworking, metalwork, etc. Our show is for the entire family unit and aids the children in our association. It’s an honor to help these kids and fun to boot. Sometimes we can make a difference in their lives.” Coughlin may be reached at 575-808-8338.

•    The 2016 NM State Open Chili Cook-Off will be heating up Oct.1-2 at 12 p.m. each day at Ruidoso Downs Race Track. Public tasting cups will be made available on the second day for a donation. This will be the 35th year for the Cook-Off in Ruidoso and it is sponsored by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), which itself, began almost 50 years ago in Terlingua, Texas. Over that way they call their Chili “Texas Red.” Cook-Off organizer, Paul Mulkey, knows his way around a pot of Chili. He’s been at it for a number of years in the southwest and Mexico and has five years invested in the local chili event and competitions. There are 13 such cook-offs in this region. “The Ruidoso event is definitely family oriented … it always is,” the amiable Mulkey said. “We don’t make it too hot. It’s rather mild, although it does have spices. For $5 you can get a large quantity of the widely popular dish. And afterward, our patrons can take a stroll over to the Hot Rod and Car Show.” Beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, Mulkey will begin to cook 150 pounds of meat. Have a taste – the price is right. Mulkey may be reached at 575-390-6184.

•    The 29th Rod Run and Car Show will begin registrations Friday, Sept. 30, at Ruidoso Downs Race Track and will be followed with a “kruuze” of classic vehicles around Ruidoso, along with a hot dog burn. Organizers will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets on that day. The actual show itself will start Saturday, Oct. 1, at 10 a.m. The Early Times El Paso Street Rod Association also calls the event, “The Run to Ruidoso Downs 2016.” Each year this competition attracts 220 to 250 entrants. So, if you want to see some exotic, exquisitely restored road machines, this event is for you. The “Magician of Music,” your platter pushin’ poppa, will be on hand spinning your favorite rock and roll oldies. Eddie and the Impacts will perform live. Saturday’s vehicle awards will be presented around 3 or 3:30 p.m., depending on the weather. Just as for the other three AspenFest events, this is also family oriented. The El Paso Street Rod Association likes to have young people develop an early interest in its pastime.

The car show and chili cook-off are in close proximity to one another so you could easily attend both activities immediately following the AspenFest Parade and before the Arts and Crafts Show. For confirmation of the start times and additional information, please go here.

—Michael Curran