Food, arts and crafts, games, wine tasting, music and even a hootenanny! The Corrales Harvest Festival has it all. There is so much amazing FOOD! After spending Saturday with my friends, I returned to the festival on Sunday to see the crowning of the Pet Mayor and do a little shopping. The Grower’s Market was in full swing and I bought some great garlic grown in Corrales. It is a unique variety and I can’t wait to plant it in the garden. I wanted to get in and buy some ginger as well, but I got caught up in the anticipation of the big Pet Mayor announcement and missed out on it.
While waiting, I chose one of my favorite snacks, a Frito pie smothered in spicy red chile and lots of cheese. As I listened to the band, Jade Masque, play I watched the children dance along uninhibited and full of joy. In a lucky twist, I inadvertently sat next to the couple who owned last year’s Pet Mayor, Fausto the donkey. They told me it was a lot of fun taking him to all the activities that come with the position like visiting meet and greets with his fans. We discussed which pet might win this year, and they were pretty sure it would be Woody, a blind dog. I was partial to Hamilton, the pig because, well, I like pigs. My good friend has a pig named Huckleberry and he is amazing. I can’t get enough of him snuffling around and his loud squealing protest when he is inconvenienced.
Excitement mounted as the candidates started to arrive. Although only three of them were able to make it (Hamilton, Woody and Cooper, a stately chicken), people crowded around to pet the candidates and wish them well. The human mayor, Scott Kominiak, arrived and the crowd settled in to hear the announcements.
First up was the Pet Police Chief which went to Jake the Snake. Sadly, Jake couldn’t make it to the ceremony to get his badge. The position of Village Pet judge went to Rosemary the Rooster who crowed with delight. Mayor Kominiak joked with the crowd before announcing that Hamilton the pig would be the new Village Pet Assessor. We all knew it was down to Cooper the Pooper and Woody. The tension was finally relieved when Village Pet Treasurer was given to Cooper, who graciously accepted. Woody, the blind dog, was elected Village Pet Mayor!
Woody and his humans have a foundation that helps people and blind dogs find each other. It is called Tootsie’s Vision and they do great work. I was really impressed with the dedication they show towards blind dogs. They travel far from Corrales to rescue and rehabilitate these incredible and loving animals. You can become a member to support them and their network of caring volunteers here. Kudos! After the announcements and congratulations finished, Mayor Kominiak headed back to his tractor as he was one of the many tractor operators shuttling visitors from one end of the festival to the other.
The entire show was entertaining and well worth watching. Be sure to buy a vote for Pet Mayor, as all the proceeds benifit the Kiwanis Club. A small community came together to enjoy the beautiful weather and the sense of belonging. Beautiful! Although I don’t live there, I felt like a part of Corrales and didn’t want to leave. The sense of fitting in was amazing. Personal history did not matter; we were all one community. All of Corrales was wide open, welcoming me, my friends and my family.
After the announcements, I hopped a hay ride and retraced the route that I took with my friends all the way to Casa San Ysidro where I treated myself to a sarsaparilla. I watched the wine tasting at the Mercado de Maya, and watched children ride a mechanical bull at the elementary school which was quite something. I also did some early Christmas shopping at the arts and crafts festival in La Entrada Park.
The day wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Wagner Farms where I browsed the fruit and vegetables before buying some apples. Scents of roasting chile and fresh fruits mingled and sent me back to my childhood, as I remembered going to orchards with my mother and grandmother to pick apples. I’m not sure which orchards we went to, but the memories make me want to bring my granddaughter here next year. I wish I could take her out of school for a couple of weeks, but I think her parents might have something to say about that. She would love Wagner’s corn maze and pumpkin patch.
I lucked out because my trip to Corrales spanned both the Balloon Fiesta and the Corrales Harvest festival. I was not ready to leave any of it. The weather, the fall colors, the easy camaraderie, the food. Unfortunately, my time in this village was coming to a close in a day or two. It would be very hard to do. If you can make it here this time of year, you too will experience the warm sense of community. Although you may have to stay in Albuquerque or Rio Rancho, a trip to Corrales is filled with history and simplicity and is well worth it. Make reservations for next year now as the surrounding area is booked solid during this time of year. I will be missing Corrales and can’t wait to come back again!