Albuquerque's 310 days with sunshine and ever-growing artisan scene make it the perfect spot for a New Mexico vacation. History enthusiasts will gravitate toward the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, National Hispanic Cultural Center, and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which highlight the cultures that helped form the community. Whether you're visiting one of the numerous art exhibits at the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History or checking out the local artists at 516 Arts (gallery), the city offers something for creative individuals.
The Rio Grande Holiday Show is quickly becoming one of the top fall art events in the region, and it will take place November 24-26 at the Expo New Mexico’s Manuel Lujan Building. This year’s edition will include more than 185 artists and craft makers from across the country. Holiday shoppers will have no trouble finding gifts for everyone on their list. Attendees can purchase American-made paintings, clothing, sculptures, jewelry, artisan foods, and more. Many of the artisans and crafters will produce work onsite so that attendees can see the creation process. Live entertainment will take place in both halls including carolers, pianists, and mariachis. The Kids Creation Station is ideal for all ages and allows kids to build their very own holiday gifts by hand. We interviewed Liz Gore, a representative of the event, to learn more about this unique celebration of holiday arts.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
LG: This event started in 2000, and it was the third addition to Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festivals. It takes place over Thanksgiving Weekend because we felt like the city of Albuquerque needed a festive transition from Thanksgiving into the craziness of the holiday shopping season.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
LG: The Holiday Show draws thousands of attendees each year, and nearly 200 artists, craftsmen, and food vendors from New Mexico and many other states.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
LG: This is a favorite outing for families and an excellent option for out-of-town visitors. We attract a mix of people because of the variety of art and crafts available. Attendees will encounter paintings, women's' clothing, ceramics, blown glass, leatherwork, woodwork, and more.
RAL: What makes the event unique.
LG: Everything offered at the event is handmade and American-made. The Show will be open on Black Friday as well as Small Business Saturday.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
LG: As you enter the show, there's festive live music, Victorian Carolers, mariachis, and more. Many artists have 'Artist at Work' banners in their booth, and you can ask them for a demonstration, and observe their techniques first-hand! The kids can make their holiday gifts in our Kids' Creation Station. It's a fun way to get into the spirit of the season!
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
LG: There are many hotel options available near the new, outdoor Albuquerque Uptown Mall. Check out this website for options.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
LG: This has become a Thanksgiving Weekend tradition for the people of Albuquerque. With about 60% of our artists residing in New Mexico, by attending this event, you're supporting small businesses, the arts, and the locals.
RAL: Does the event support any particular causes in the community?
LG: Our nonprofit partner, Casa Angelica, is a home for medically fragile and developmentally disabled children. The organization benefits from the event by collecting beautiful artist donations for their annual silent auctions, as well as a booth at the show and monetary support.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
LG: Come to experience a true New Mexico event, in the company of friends, family, and artists!!!
For more information about the Rio Grande Holiday Show, please visit the event website.