It was only 4:30 as I made my way through the festive Plaza. I stopped awhile to watch the volunteers light the many paper bag farolitos (elsewhere called luminarias). Each had a tiny candle which would last the evening. An ice sculpture Menorah glistened in the setting sun.
People were walking, bundled up in holiday coats and furs. Others were finding those remaining parking spots downtown. Little by little people headed up to Canyon Road. As I approached East Alameda, it was clear that everyone was headed in one direction.
Although the official start of the walk is at sundown, the lights were bright and the farolitos were lighted. We gathered at Sugarman Gallery courtyard to wait for our friends. A new coffee shop was giving out coffee and cookies. Inside the brightly painted shop, a fire blazed in the yellow kiva fireplace. Gallery workers were welcoming as we warmed up and enjoyed the beauty of their offerings.
The Canyon Road Farolito Walk got started in the late1970s to share northern New Mexico’s traditional natural lighting displays, bonfires called luminarias and votive candles in paper bags, called farolitos.
Come Early to Enjoy
Early was the time to be there. We started walking with the warmly dressed crowd enjoying the dogs hung with Christmas lights, the good cheer offered by galleries and the periodic surprises along the route. This was Santa Fe’s tradition and it was amazing.
We became chilled and headed for a bonfire to warm up. The smoke smelled so good in the icy air. The light of the fire warmed everyone’s faces with an orange glow. Others opted to visit the galleries (about 20 were open) to warm themselves and perhaps purchase a piece of art.
We looked up in the dark sky and saw a flying lantern, a farolito that took off into the sky. What a surprise!
As we passed the Quaker meeting house, we saw a circle of Friends singing carols around a bonfire. Soon walkers joined in.
On the portal at Darnell Fine Art, Roark Barron played a beautiful antique harp accompanied by Curtis Hutchison on flute. They had CDs for sale.
A troup of samba drummers added zest to the evening as they marched up and down Canyon Road..
An accordionist played …. and we walked.
Canyon Road: A Memory
As we returned down to the foot of Canyon Road, it was getting really crowded. We stopped at Geronimo’s for some amazing hot cider with whipped cream (offered free to the walkers). It tasted like liquid apple pie.
Santa Fe was filled with traffic this Christmas Eve but we had enjoyed our magical walk on Canyon Road sans cars and were happy to head home and prepare for Christmas. Enjoy our photos of the event.