Santa Fe Turns 400

City commemorates 400th anniversary with a host of historical and cultural events

By: By Sarah Zarrabi

Santa Fe, N.M., is preparing to embark on a 16-month commemoration of its 400th anniversary. Set to run from the fall of 2009 through 2010, the city’s celebration will emphasize its rich culture and history. The city was established 400 years ago, in 1610, by the Spanish and has since been built up by people of Hispanic, European and African American backgrounds. The events surrounding the 400th anniversary will seek to recognize the diversity and cross-cultural interdependence that has made Santa Fe the unique city it is today.

The festivities will begin with Viva! Santa Fe, which is set to take place in Fort Marcy Park on Labor Day Weekend on Sept. 5 and 6. This free outdoor festival will feature interactive exhibits, artistic and musical presentations, concerts and culinary tastings that speak to the distinct culture and history of Santa Fe. Among other things, visitors can learn to weave baskets, take Flamenco lessons, and learn to cook local favorites.

The celebration continues through 2010 with a host of legacy events that are sure to please crowds of all ages. During the summer of 2010, the Santa Fe Outdoor Cinema will offer free cinema programs each Friday and Saturday night. The event will be held in parks around the city, and will feature family-friendly Hollywood favorites. Later on in the summer, visitors and locals can look forward to the Sounds of Santa Fe, a presentation of Santa Fe’s history told through music, narrative, dance, and vocal accompaniment.

In the fall of 2010, young students can engage in This is Santa Fe, a national classroom Web-cast that teaches students about Santa Fe’s history and its cultural influence in America’s early years. Adults and students alike can also enjoy “History Has Personality,” an interactive production in which actors play out the personalities of Santa Fe’s founders.

The 16-month celebration will come to a close with the New Year’s Eve Legacy Ball on Dec. 31, 2010. The gala will showcase the highlights of the 400th anniversary celebration and will undoubtedly usher in the New Year with a newfound respect for Santa Fe’s rich historical and cultural legacy.