NMSU to Host Rio Grande Heritage Festival at Los Lunas Science Center

Agriculture has been the backbone of the Middle Rio Grande Valley for as long as humans have lived in the area. Cultural traditions are centered around the raising and use of the harvested crop.

The Rio Grande Heritage Festival will celebrate many of these traditions for people to experience the history of farming in the valley.

New Mexico State University’s Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service and Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas are hosting the free event from 9 a.m. –1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at the agricultural science center, 1036 Miller Road, Los Lunas.

Concurrently, a Forage Field Day will provide the latest research information and production considerations important for hay and pasture producers.

“This is the first year for the Rio Grande Heritage Festival,” said Laura Bittner, NMSU Valencia County Extension program director. “The self-guided event will include educational demonstrations for people to view traditional practices using agricultural products. People may spend as much time as they wish learning about the various activities.”

A vast array of traditions will be demonstrated by area artisans and farmers.

People will learn about weaving, quilting and basket weaving, as well as edible native plants, wine making, food preservation and Dutch oven cooking.

Visitors may stroll through the demonstration garden and learn about seed saving and the history of watering plants with ollas, an ancient clay pot irrigation technique.

Sheep have been a major part of the state’s agricultural history. New Mexico Dahl sheep will be on display as well as a demonstration of sheep shearing.

Artisans will be on hand to share their skills at creating corn husk dolls, tying ristras and carving gourd art and pumpkin centerpieces.

The late Santero artist Carlos Otero’s carving of Saint Isidro, the patron saint of farming, will be honored with a special display.

Visitors can walk down memory lane while viewing a collection of vintage tractors.

Local musicians will be performing and a $5 lunch of green chile hamburger, corn on the cob, beans and a drink will be available.

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