Breaking with all previous conventions, the upcoming Party on the River/Fiesta del Rio will be three major events wrapped into one; set to collide where they’ve never been presented before.
Party on the River/Fiesta del Rio is scheduled for May 4 from 1-8:30 p.m. and May 5 from 1-7 p.m. For the first time ever, the event will take place at Cielo Grande Recreation Area; taking full advantage of the locale’s almost-installed amphitheater. It’s $5 to get in to Party on the River/Fiesta Del Rio, while children 5 and younger get in for free.
Party on the River/Fiesta del Rio — an annual celebration of local culture, art, food and flair — will be joined by the Valley Vintage Motor Car Club show as well as the Old Timers Balloon Rally.
Sitting behind a desk in a non-assuming office at the Roswell Parks and Recreation Department, Recreation Supervisor Joe Vargas is busy on two lines — his office phone and his cell phone — coordinating the acts, entertainment, balloonists and car enthusiasts that will be part of the weekend event.
“There’s been three major events that happened on the same weekend … which are now all combined,” Vargas said. These include the Old Timers Balloon Rally, which, now in its 26th year, has always taken place at the Wool Bowl soccer complex, and an antique car and motorcycle show.
Bill Glen, member of the Old Timers and balloon rally organizer, said the event at Cielo Grande will light up — quite literally — with hot air balloons on May 4 around 6:15 a.m. At that point, balloon enthusiasts from across the nation would have gotten warmed up after a visit to area schools May 3, where they plan to demonstrate the craft of ballooning to children.
On May 4, more than 60 balloons will take off from Cielo Grande during the early morning hours, dotting the sky with floating samples of the quintessential New Mexican pastime.