You light up mine life

Pasatiempo - - Mixed Media -

Back in the 1920s, mine su­per­in­ten­dent Os­car Hu­ber was re­port­edly look­ing for morale-boost­ing ways to cheer up the hard-liv­ing min­ers of Madrid, New Mex­ico, when he came up with the idea of a hol­i­day ex­trav­a­ganza of lights to cel­e­brate Christ­mas. His­to­rian Marc Sim­mons (who writes a Satur­day col­umn for The Santa Fe New Mex­i­can) noted in a 2009 ar­ti­cle that, “The sev­eral hun­dred min­ers rou­tinely vol­un­teered to work evenings af­ter a hard day in the coal tun­nels. They had to string 50,000 lights and build il­lu­mi­nated dis­plays on hill­sides and bluffs. Atop one of the hills, they put up a fig­ure of Je­sus more than 35 feet tall. Nearby, vis­i­tors were as­ton­ished to see a re-cre­ation of the town of Beth­le­hem, newly con­structed of wood and adobe. On the north end of town in the ball­park, the min­ers an­nu­ally in­stalled Toy­land, per­haps their supreme achieve­ment.”

Times have changed, but the tra­di­tion lives on. Madrid is an arts town these days, but it still cel­e­brates Christ­mas with a vil­lage-wide gala of lights, a pa­rade, and a visit by Santy Claus. Christ­mas in Madrid kicks off this year at noon on Satur­day, Dec. 4, with a per­for­mance by belly-danc­ing young­sters, fol­lowed by a 2 p.m. gift-giv­ing ap­pear­ance by St. Nick at the Mine Shaft Tav­ern and a pa­rade at 4 p.m. Lo­cal busi­nesses will stay open late on Satur­day night, and you can swing by the Mine Shaft for “World Lounge Mu­sic for Lovers Din­ner Show” with Jill. St. Thomas and Glenn Neff. The belly dancers per­form at John­sons of Madrid, across N.M. 14 from the Mine Shaft, on the south end of town. The fes­tiv­i­ties con­tinue ev­ery week­end un­til Christ­mas. Check out www.vis­it­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

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