Memorial Day Weekend in the Enchanted CircleThe holiday was originally established in 1868 to honor those who died in the Civil War. It was first known as Decoration Day, not to be confused with Veterans Day, November 11, which celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.
For most of us, this day of remembrance has turned into a day—or two, or three—of parades, sales and more sales, barbecues and cookouts. Before going into all the different activities and events going on in the Enchanted Circle this Memorial Day, we’d first like to give thanks to all the people out there who’ve served in the military, who’ve had family and/or friends who’ve served, and to those who’ve lost loved ones. It’s important that Americans not lose sight of, or an emotional connection to, what it took to get this country to where it is today, and to honor the dead from each of the wars that have been fought since the Civil War.
The Enchanted Circle has strong ties to the true meaning of Memorial Day.
The EC is the site of the first major memorial created to honor the veterans of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam Veterans Peace and Brotherhood Chapel was dedicated in 1971 to the memory of 1st Lt. David Westphall on the third anniversary of his death near Con Thien, South Vietnam on May 22, 1968. Begin, or end, your weekend in northern New Mexico with a contemplative visit to the site, now known as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire. On site there is a chapel, visitors center, an authentic Huey helicopter which saw action in Vietnam during the war, the Veterans Memorial Walkway, a gift shop, Memorial Gardens, an amphitheater, as well as the gravesites of Jeanne and Victor Westphall, young David’s parents.
Use this weekend as a teachable moment for the children in your group. Be grateful. Take at least a moment to reflect. And, odd as it may sound, be as respectful of the people who may have no idea what this day signifies as you are toward the families and friends of those who’ve lost a loved one. (A segment of the population that, believe it or not, represents only one percent, but a one percent who are very deserving of this day.) Then appreciate your all-American liberty to have fun in the great outdoors: go ziplining, mountain bike, golf, fish, sail, shop, dine out, smell the lilacs, recite poetry, admire classic cars, listen to opera, sample the latest microbrewery, take a ride in a hot air balloon, or just sit around and do a whole lotta nothing.
Having said that, here’s what’s going on during May 2016, and on into the first of June, around the Enchanted Circle. Below are some highlights and you can find more at the EC online calendar.
Taos Lilac Festival in Kit Carson Park and around Taos
Lilacs abound in and around Taos for an entire week. There’ll be a crafts fair, garden center, children’s carousel, a Saturday pet parade, and a Sunday morning 5K run.
Red River Half Marathon & 5K in Red River
Take a long run or a shorter more leisurely one through Red River’s beautiful Upper Valley.
Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally/Run around the Circle in Red River
Bikers nationwide welcome in summer and honor fallen veterans. Thousands descend on Red River to rumble, listen to live music, and join in the Memorial Day 25-mile parade to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Healing Fields of Honor in Questa
Now in its 12th year, Questa and its residents will be putting up hundreds U.S. flags all weekend, as a quiet and stunning tribute to our active military and veterans, downtown along highway 522. Watch for specials and music at local watering holes.
Art openings, films, and theatre in Taos
It's a big weekend in the Taos Art Colony! And while strolling the historic district, be sure to visit the Harwood Museum of Art's mega exhibition, Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company.
The Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant in Taos Ski Valley
The Lodge opens for its summer hours today. Lunch starting at 11:30, Thursday through Sunday; dinner starting at 5:30.
Angel Fire Zipline Adventure Tours
The Angel Fire Resort Zipline Adventure Tour features six ziplines at the top of the mountain, high above Moreno Valley. Tours typically take two to three hours, and the ziplines vary from 120 to 1,600 feet in length. Trained guides accompany riders, ensuring the tour is both safe and fun.
May 28 (and every Saturday) through July 9
Fly Casting Clinic in Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort
From 10:30 to noon, professional fly fishing instructors provide free hands-on lessons covering the fundamentals of fly casting. Reservations required—call Solitary Angler at 575-758-5653.
Demo Daze at Angel Fire Bike Park
This event brings together bike vendors from near and far for test rides and two days of bike demo demonstrations. There will be demos both days (by top bike manufacturers), soft goods and accessory vendors, and free shuttles to and from the Greenbelt’s XC/Enduro-style Trails Lift Access.
Fire 5 Downhill Race Series at Angel Fire Bike Park’s Fire 5
This is the premier downhill race series in the Rocky Mountains. Test yourself or marvel at other riders at this series of five unique downhill races. Amateurs and pros are welcome. Cash and prizes awarded for each race and overall series winners. Competitors 21 and over will receive two beer tickets per race sponsored by Shock Top & Goose Island IPA.
Memorial Weekend Ceremonies at Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park
Veterans and their friends and families gather to honor our fallen soldiers from the Vietnam War—with a Flag March, service, and speakers, and a morning motorcycle run from Red River to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. At 11:00 am, this year’s Keynote Speaker will be LTC Jay Garner. Garner served two tours in Vietnam, and later led two air defense units in Germany. He also served as deputy commanding general at Fort Bliss, TX. Garner helped to develop the Patriot missile system and commanded missile batteries during the Gulf War. He retired in 1997 at the rank of lieutenant general.
Taos Poetry Festival at Taos Community Auditorium and Taos Mesa Brewing
Poets of all ages celebrate all things poetic with readings, slams, salons, and workshops.
Red River Classic Car Show in Brandenburg Park
This popular annual car show features all years, makes, and models of restored antique cars, muscle cars, low riders, and hot rods, along with night car parades, a sock hop, raffles, and live music.
Music on the Mesa Festival at Taos Mesa Brewing
Taos hosts three days of live bands—and jaw-dropping views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This year’s artists include Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle, the Old 97’s, and Elephant Revival, plus 21 other acts.
Fishing Fiesta at Eagle Rock Lake
This free event, sponsored by NM Game & Fish, USDA Forest Service, & Trout Unlimited, kicks off the first summer for Eagle Rock’s newly re-stored lake. Stocked with trout, the lake offers free fishing for children under 12 (adults must have a permit), and easy access for those with special needs.
Find help planning your trip when you come to the EC for Memorial Day
Auslander Condos in Red River
Resort Properties of Angel Fire
H2 Uptown restaurant in Angel Fire
BeyondTaos Community Calendar
Taos lodging: TAOS.org and Taos Chamber of Commerce members
Red River lodging
Angel Fire lodging: Visitor Center and The Lodge at AF
Eagle Nest lodging: Chamber of Commerce members
Lodging in Questa
Lodging in Taos Ski Valley: Chamber of Commerce members
Pictured: Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire; a concert at the memorial; Main Street in Red River during Memorial Day motorcycle rally; Healing Fields of Honor in Questa; Angel Fire bike race; Taos Plaza on Memorial Day.