“Tis the Season to be jolly,” yes the holiday season is upon us and Las Cruces and the surrounding area is revving up to celebrate this special time of year with fun festivities throughout the month of December.
The festivities kick-off with the 5th Annual “Critter Christmas” gala, hosted by the Doña Ana County Humane Society. The event is from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, December 4th at the Las Cruces Convention Center located at 680 E. University. Owners and their well-behaved dogs are welcomed to attend and enjoy all the fun activities. There will be music, dancing, food, dog treat buffet, dog costume contest, live and silent auctions, photo booth and much more. It’s $50 per ticket and they are available at American Classifieds, Better Life Pet Foods, DACHS/SNAP office or online at www.holdmyticket.com/event/180646-critter-christmas. The gala benefits the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley and the Spay and Neuter Action Program. There are reserved tables and sponsorship opportunities. For more information call (575) 642-2648.
The Santa Fe Opera Holiday Tour (SFO) will be performing at the Rio Grande Theatre on Friday, December 5th at 7:30 p.m. It’s a free holiday concert, featuring arias, songs of the season, musical theater selections and sacred music. The selections are performed by up-and-coming opera stars, such as soprano Amy Owens, an apprentice of the SFO this past summer and previously with Central City Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and Utah Festival Opera. Joining her will be bass-baritone Calvin Griffin, also an apprentice last summer and a former member of the Arizona Opera Studio, Des Moines Metro Opera and Wolf Trap Opera. Among the many songs performed in this show will be recognizable classics such as “Joy To The World,” “Ave Maria” and “O Holy Night,” along with arias “Mein Glaubiges Herze,” by J.S. Bach, “O Luce di quest anima,” by Donizetti and the traditional spiritual, “Sister Mary Had-a But One Child.” These performers will be accompanied by SFO Musical Director Kirt Pavitt. The Santa Fe Opera Community Concerts have become an annual holiday tradition at the Rio Grande Theatre. The event is sponsored by the Santa Fe Opera Educational Department and the Doña Ana Arts Council. The Rio Grande Theatre is located at 211 N. Main Street, in Las Cruces and doors open at 7 p.m. for the free performance. Seating is first come, first served. For more information call (575) 523-6403 or visit www.RioGrandeTheatre.com.
The Las Cruces Railroad Museum will be hosting their 10th annual, “Old-Fashioned Holiday Open-House” on Friday, December 5th from 5-8 p.m. The event is free and visitors can enjoy a variety of holiday festivities, such as music entertainment from Celestial Sounds, Central Elementary Choir and University Hills Elementary. People can view model trains or take in the beautiful decorations and lights. They can also complete a craft project at the event and enjoy some light refreshments. The highlight of the evening is Santa Claus’s arrival on a holiday decorated Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotive. He will be available for visits on the observation deck until 8 p.m. The museum’s holiday lights will be lit daily from December 4 through January 2, 2015 for all to enjoy. The museum is located at 351 N. Mesilla Street, for more information on the museum, call them at (575) 647-4480 or visit them online at www.las-cruces.org/en/Departments/Public%20Services/Services/Museums.aspx.
The Whites Sands National Monument Visitor Center will be celebrating the holidays with their 7th annual, “Holiday Open House,” on Friday, December 6th, 5-8 p.m. Visitors can enjoy live music, ranger programs, children’s activities, luminaries around the historic adobe visitor center, and delicious New Mexican food. The Western National Parks Association park store and White Sands Trading gift will be offering store-wide discounts so bring your holiday shopping list. Visitors are encouraged to bring canned food donations to help supply local food banks. The visitor center and gift shop will be open until 8 pm, and Dunes Drive will be open until 6 p.m. There is no charge for the program and monument entrance fees apply for those participating in the Dunes Drive, ($3.00 per person 16 years and older). Activities will be held both indoors and outdoors so please dress appropriately. For more information visit their website at www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm or call them at (575) 479-6124. The monument is located at 19955 Highway 70 West.
The City of Las Cruces will be hosting its annual “Lighting of the Christmas” tree event on Friday, December 5th. The ceremonies begin at 5:30 p.m. and conclude at 6:30 p.m. Visitors can enjoy the holiday ambience of lights, decorations, music and hot chocolate. Santa will be making an appearance as well. It all takes place at Albert Johnson Park on Picacho Avenue and Main Street. For more information call (575) 541-2000 or visit the city’s website at www.las-cruces.org/
La Casa will be hosting its annual “Holiday Bazaar,” this 3-day event begins on Friday, December 5th from 4-8 p.m. and resumes Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The annual bazaar offers a multitude of artisans and crafters selling items such as paintings, drawings, prints, ceramics, pottery, sculpture, wood, glass, jewelry, metal work, packaged food, photography, textiles, leatherwork and others. The cost is $6 and the event will take place at the Las Cruces Convention Center located at 680 E. University. For more information contact the La Casa at www.lacasainc.org/or call them at (575) 526-2819. The proceeds of the event help La Casa provide comprehensive services for families facing domestic violence.
New Mexico State University will be hosting the 30th annual “Noche de Luminarias” on Sunday, December 7th from 6-9 p.m. The university will illuminate the campus with more than 6,000 luminarias throughout the campus. The free event is a university tradition which began in 1984. Visitors can enjoy trolley rides around the luminaria route, listen to music performed by local organizations and schools and also enjoy a warm refreshments. For more information contact the Associated Students of NMSU at (575) 646-4415.
The Town of Mesilla will be hosting their annual “Holiday Christmas Tree Lighting and Shopping Late in the Plaza” event on Friday, December 12th, 6-10 p.m. The plaza and surrounding town will be lined with thousands of luminarias, and decorations. The festivities begin with the lighting of the tree, so don’t miss out on the holiday festivities in historic Mesilla. Bring your holiday shopping list and take advantage of the late shop hours. The plaza will also be hosting “Christmas Carols and Luminarias” on December 24th & 25th. Times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. For more information visit the town’s website at www.mesillanm.gov/tourism or call them at (575) 524-3262 ext. 116 or 117. The Town of Mesilla is located south of Highway 28.
The White Sands National Monument will be hosting a tour to “Lake Lucero” on December 28th at 10 a.m. The 3 hour tour lead by a ranger is $3 per adult and $1.50 per child. It’s an opportunity to learn about the dunes, the formation of the sands and the special plants and animals the live in and around the dunes. For more information visit their website at http://home.nps.gov/whsa or call them at (575) 679-2599, ext. 230, or (575) 479-6124, ext. 236. The monument is located 45 east of Las Cruces on Highway 70.
Please visit the Las Cruces Convention Center online at www.explorelascruces.com or call us at (575) 541-2444, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.