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June 2024

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Photo by E. Wilde Food venders in Brendenburg Park in front of the Red River Conference Center in spring 2023

A New Day in Red River for Memorial Day Weekend

Courtesy Photo The scene on the street after the shooting, Red River NM, May 31, 2023

Another Memorial Day weekend celebration will occur in our mountain communities this month—but it will look different than previous years. In response to last year’s tragedy in Red River, the Town has worked to rebrand its Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally to a more family-friendly event called “Mayfest in the Mountains.”

During Red River’s Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally event last year, a violent conflict broke out between two rival motorcycle gangs on the east end of Main Street, which resulted in three deaths. The Town is taking precautions to make sure that kind of violence does not happen again.

Read more about last year’s tragedy here:

The most obvious difference this year will be that vendor tents that usually lined Main Street will not be allowed. Individuals will still be able to sell motorcycle-themed merchandise on private property but there will be no temporary permits issued to out-of-town vendors along Main Street. There will instead be plenty of local vendors and artisans.

“We’re going to have extra law enforcement officials in place from the Town, Taos County, and New Mexico State Police, basically following what we’ve been doing for the past 42 years,” Mayor Linda Calhoun told the Questa del Rio News.

“Safety is our number one priority,” said the Mayor. Mayor Calhoun also wants to remind the community—for the 42 years of Memorial Day events held in Red River—there was only one tragedy. “The community is doing what it can to increase safety measures, but that should not stop us from participating and enjoying the event.”

“All we can do is prepare ourselves,” said Mayor Calhoun. “Prepare and hope for the best.”
The Mayfest in the Mountains event is scheduled for May 25, 26, and 27, and will house limited vendors in Brandenburg Park in front of the Red River Conference Center. The vendors on public property will not be flying any motorcycle-themed clothing or flair.

The event will span multiple venues throughout town, including the Red River Conference Center, Brandenburg Park, Mallette Park, Town Ponds and more. Dedicated buses will transport visitors along the circuit between parks.

While the Town of Red River remains optimistic, local establishments are not sold with the changes. Questa’s Stop ’n’ Go at the main intersection, on Highway 522, is still planning on hosting bikers. Owner Berna Trujillo is skeptical about how effective the Red River rebranding will be to deter the influx of bikers who are sure to arrive that weekend.

“I hope it works out for the best, but the bikers will be welcome here,” Trujillo told the Questa del Rio News referring to the family-friendly rebrand.

Most notably, the Motherlode Saloon in Red River has shared that they are also planning to host bikers for a celebration coined “Revive the Ride.” The post goes on to say there will be live bands, bike show contests, and a memorial ride. The social media post says “while we will be hosting all of our usual great times, we are moving to a no-colors policy this year. Please plan accordingly and plan to have an awesome weekend with us!”

Mayfest in the Mountains promises a family-friendly experience with a focus on community engagement and cultural celebration, bikers are still welcomed.

Mayor Linda Calhoun expresses her enthusiasm for this groundbreaking event, stating, “Mayfest in the Mountains embodies the spirit of our community, fostering a sense of togetherness and honoring those who have made lasting contributions to our country. This Memorial Day weekend will be filled with family-friendly festivities, outdoor recreation, and artistic expression, providing an unforgettable experience for everyone.”

Scheduled Activities:

  • Wall of Honor Display at the Red River Conference Center: Join us in paying tribute to local figures who have left an indelible mark on our nation. The Red River Conference Center will feature a Wall of Honor as a testament to their enduring legacies.
  • Quick-Draw Painting Event and Exhibit: Immerse yourself in the town’s artistic beauty through the eyes of local artists. The resulting artworks will be showcased in a reception and exhibit at a local venue, with live music, awards, and food, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. (See QCC article, page 16).
  • Outdoor Recreation Workshops: Engage in various workshops, including fly-fishing, skateboarding, disc-golfing, climbing, mountain biking, kite flying, and more.
  • Family-Friendly Games and Activities: Share laughter and create lasting memories through family-friendly games and activities held across different town locations. Don’t miss the chance to interact with adorable alpacas, adding a unique touch to the festivities.
  • NM Game & Fish Department Exhibit: Explore the wonders of nature with the New Mexico Game & Fish Department’s exhibit, featuring the Trophy Trailer. Participate in pellet rifle training on May 25 and 26 for an immersive experience.
  • Live Music: Delight in the melodies of live music performances by local talents, contributing to the festive atmosphere.
  • Note: Not all activities will take place every day, and they are weather-dependent.
  • In addition, discover the art of hot air ballooning in New Mexico presented by the Anderson-Abruzzo International Hot Air Ballooning Foundation. Detailed schedules of events will be released later, offering a comprehensive overview of the exciting activities planned for this Memorial Day weekend. Join us for an unforgettable experience honoring veterans and celebrating the beauty of the mountains.