Taoseans and visitors flock to the annual Fiestas de Taos, held every July at the Taos Plaza, to celebrate the Taos Fiestas in honor of Saint Anne and Saint James.

The annual event provides a time for people to put aside their labor for two days in order to enjoy the leisure of the holy days and the music, dancing, food, arts and crafts.

The first day of Fiesta is dedicated to Santiago de Compostela, the patron saint of Spain. Santiago is a contraction of Saint Yago, the Spanish words for Saint James. The tradition on that day was for Spanish men to ride through the plaza on horseback, wearing their finest attire.

The second day of The Taos Fiestas is always dedicated to Saint Anne. On this day in Spain, women rode in horse-drawn carriages, whilemothers and older sisters held tightly to the hands of the children and marveled at the mystery of Saint Anne, who was considered to be the perfect example of motherhood.

The Taos Plaza is blocked off to traffic during the Fiesta celebration. Fiesta Council volunteers work year-round to plan the annual event.

Each year a Fiesta Queen her court are selected by the Fiesta Council, which meets at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church behind the Plaza, to celebrate the Mass and watch the crowning of the queen. After Mass, the entourage forms a procession and proceeds to the Plaza for opening ceremonies.

The Master of Ceremonies introduces the Invocation, Entrega (traditional song of honor) to the immediate past queen and introduces guests. Music continues until 10 p.m. The entourage leaves and attends several fiesta dances throughout the community.

Fiesta brings daily entertainment to the Plaza gazebo with different entertainers, musical groups and dancers. The Plaza is surrounded by booths featuring arts, crafts and food, such as roasted corn, green chile hamburgers, sopapillas, ice cream and other treats.

A merry-go-round offers rides for children and earns money for the Lions Club scholarship and other community activities.

On the third day of Fiesta, entertainment begins on the Plaza at 8:30 a.m. and the parade starts at 1 p.m. Floats, Mariachi bands, Native American dancers and drummers, conquistadors, cowboys and Fiesta royalty travel the crowded parade route in a colorful procession.

Colorado MagazineOnline's archive photos and footage
are from the 1986 Taos Fiesta.