Labor Day Weekend in Ruidoso

labor day weekend 1Labor Day Weekend: A Huge Summer-Ending Ruidoso Bash

Labor Day weekend… Summer sometimes passes quickly in the cool pines of Ruidoso for vacationers, visitors and excursionists. There’s a definite reason for that. The extraordinary mountain vistas, abundance of events, numerous attractions and well-established landmark fascinations offer something to nearly everyone for both travelers and residents alike. From the world renowned horse racing at Ruidoso Downs Race Track, exquisite arts and crafts, premier entertainment, Western collectibles and cuisine, Ruidoso presents one and all with a full daily schedule.

And like all cultures, we enjoy a good party given any reasonable excuse. The conclusion of the season here between spring and autumn is justification for an all-encompassing blowout to celebrate. And this year, as in years past, the Village presents to everyone, popular festivities likely to bring memory-appealing recollections for all who partake.

•    The Labor Day weekend season-ending races at Ruidoso Downs Race Track offers the venerable and world-famous All American Derby and Futurity.  This year, the Grade 1 Derby is a gateway worth a total of $2,414,691 and will be run on Sunday, Sept. 4. It will likely attract somewhere around 23,000 fans. Ten of the fastest three-year-old Quarter Horses around will run the 440-yard course in an exciting drag race between four-legged athletes. The 2016 race meet at Ruidoso Downs will culminate with the Monday’s revered 440-yard All American Futurity. This widely esteemed race will offer ten of the speediest two-year-old Quarter Horses gathered on one racecourse a chance to claim a large portion of the $3,000,000 total prize. The Grade 1 Labor Day race should have 25,000 spectators on hand. Both races will include the most talented jockeys in the sport. The Turf Club, among many other on-site food vendors, offer a variety of foodstuffs and the Billy the Kid Casino is sure to accommodate those who want to participate in games of chance.

labor day weekend
The start of a Quarter Horse race can be one of the most exciting moments in horse racing. The ground vibrates as the horses’ hooves pound the earth and the air is filled with the yells of the jockeys trying to exhort their mounts to the finish line.

•    The All American Mountain Festival will exhibit exceptional arts and crafts, Saturday through Monday, Sept. 3-5, at the All American Park, which is located at 26335 US 70, one mile east of the Ruidoso Downs Race Track. This will be the ninth year for this event and is the second year at All American Park. The Festival times are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and it is free to attend. Live music, food and multiple hand-crafted items will be on display. “The artists in attendance come from all over – Texas, Arizona and New Mexico,” event coordinator Dolly Folmer said. “In the past, we have had artisans from Utah, Kansas and Oklahoma. I would say 85- to 90-percent of our visitors are tourists. They love the weather and tall, cool pines of the Ruidoso area. It will be the last big hoopla for the summer at Ruidoso Downs.” You may call 575-446-1441 for more info or visit their website.

•    The 2016 All American Gun and Western Collectible Show will take place at the Ruidoso Convention Center, 111 Sierra Blanca Drive, Ruidoso, NM 88345, on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3-4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This show is just what the name implies, with 180 tables of everything that relates to guns as well as hunting equipment, knives, cowboy gear, saddles, blankets, spurs, western relics, Indian artifacts, jewelry, coins and much more. For additional info call Grindstone Graphics at 575-257-6171 or visit their website. Admission for adults is $6 and children under 12-years-old are admitted free.

•    The Art Ruidoso Gallery at 2809 Sudderth Drive, in uptown Ruidoso is open every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On the first Friday of every month (Sept. 2) they remain open for business until 8 p.m. It has been in business at this location for the past two years and exhibits paintings, photography, jewelry, glass and pottery crafted by 40 artists, all who reside within 75 miles of Ruidoso. All the art is original. The All American weekend will be a busy time for this respected establishment. You may visit their website or call Tamara Haas for more info at 575-808-1133.

labor day weekend
The well-established Art Ruidoso Gallery is located in uptown at 2809 Sudderth Drive and exhibits the works of 40 talented artisans from the greater Ruidoso area. Photo by Tamara Hass

•    Another jewel in the Ruidoso area is the Inn of the Mountain Gods up on the Mescalero Reservation off of US 70. This popular landmark attracts visitors year in and year out and the prominent casino/hotel/golf course has all the expected features and conveniences of any top-flight resort. Multiple restaurants, scenic vistas, entertainment and outdoor activities complete the distinctive personality of this recreational facility. The British-American hard rock band. Foreigner is scheduled to perform at the Inn on Friday, Sept. 2. Unfortunately, this event is already sold out, however, there are still numerous activities on hand including the End of Summer Bash on Sunday, September 4th. For additional info you may call 1-800-545-9011 or visit the website.

Get out there and enjoy a fun and festive Labor Day weekend, wherever you may roam.

—Michael Curran