Pride and pageantry
Though Fiesta de Santa Fe has been celebrated since 1712, the annual event fell into serious neglect in the early years of the 20th century. Enter Edgar Lee Hewett, the crusading local anthropologist who was the first director of the Museum of New Mexico and the School of American Research (now the School for Advanced Research). In 1919, he assumed control of Fiesta in an effort to revive sagging attendance. Hiring outside professionals to produce the pageant and orchestrate an Indian fair, Hewett succeeded in making an attractive spectacle of the festivals through 1926. Yet local Hispanic participation in Fiesta declined, and the town’s artists were incensed at Hewett’s managerial oversight. The legacy of Hewett’s involvement in Fiesta is discussed by Nancy Owen Lewis, SAR’s director of scholar programs, in an illustrated presentation called “Pageants and Parades: The Battle for Fiesta.” At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, Lewis speaks at SAR, 660 Garcia St. The event is open to the public, and there is no charge to attend. For more information, call 954-7200.
A decade or so after Hewett’s involvement, Fiesta’s character would change once again as Hispanic cultural-preservation groups began taking control of the annual September event. One such group was La Sociedad Folklórica, which promotes the traditional art, dress, foods, and customs of colonial New Mexico. In 1935, the group began sponsoring La Merienda, a late-afternoon fashion show at which women, men, and children model Spanish colonial attire. The event celebrates its 75th anniversary starting at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at the James A. Little Theater, 1060 Cerrillos Road. Tickets are $8, $3 children under 12; bizcochitos and hot chocolate are included in the price of admission. For more information, call 983-5410.