Pride and pageantry

Pasatiempo - - Mixed Media -

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.

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