If the post I did about The Salinas Mission Ruins wasn’t enough to entice you out to Mountainair, New Mexico, perhaps an event out there this upcoming weekend will lure you. The Mountainair Sunflower Festival
Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009
Time: 10am to 4pm
This is a celebration of art, crafts, music, poetry and of course – Sunflowers! Besides the booths at the Community Center, you will find arts and crafts for sale all around town. A beautiful handcrafted sunflower mosaic will be raffled off, and there will also be a sunflower hat contest, a flea market, library book sale and the 12th Annual Poets & Writers Picnic located all day long at the historic Shaffer Hotel. If you go to the Manzano Mountain Art Council’s website you will find more detailed information about all the individual events and their places and times.
Why Sunflowers? Well, Here’s what I think. Beginning in August it seems that much of New Mexico turns into a large sunflower field. No matter in what direction you drive out of Albuquerque, you will see sunflowers. They grow wild along the roadsides and in some good rainfall years they will spread out for acre after acre of a yellow ocean of color. Two years ago my husband and I headed out to Arizona in Late August for some r&r and we were astounded by the number of sunflowers we saw, mile after mile along Interstate 40 heading west, sometimes stretching more than a mile off of the freeway to the north and south. It was a sight to behold.
Another Sunflower Highway is the stretch along NM 14 north from Cedar Crest toward Madrid and Santa Fe, as is the same road, (now with a different number, NM 337), that heads south out of Tijeras to Mountainair. Both roads are real eye candy any time of the year, but late Summer/early Fall – mmmmmuy bueno!
When I am in a hurry to get to Mountainair, I take I-25 South to Belen and shoot across the plains that stretch out west below the Manzano Mountains, (map with directions here), but this weekend I suggest taking I-40 east out of Albuquerque, through Tijeras Canyon and turn off on 337 heading south just to see the sunflowers along they way. The best of both worlds would be to do the circle starting on one of these routes and returning on the other. Either way it is a perfect weekend drive with a great destination in the middle. Don’t forget your camera, sunscreen, water, and of course that award winning Sunflower Hat you created!
I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!