On Stands Now
July 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

northern new mexico news boy
Access Back Issues of
Print Editions Here

Share this article!

Post Date:

Written By:

Come on Down to the 35th Annual Questa Cambalache on October 1

The 35th annual Questa Cambalache festival will take place on Sunday, October 1 at the Questa Farmer’s Market – Visitor Center site. There will be local vendors booths to visit (and support), and great live music to listen to from local musicians as the community comes together, in anticipation of burning the traditional Cucui.

Cambalache began as a harvest festival (like many cultures around the world) among native peoples and later with their colonizers. The word cambiar means small-scale bartering in villages or trading places. The Village of Questa’s annual fall harvest festival celebrates this ancient tradition and combines it with another, the burning of Cucui. There are many names for burning man — Zozobra, Coco, or Coca, and there are many spellings and pronunciations, such as Cucuy, Cuco, Cuca, Cucu.

Mr. Cucui is a mean guy, like a scarecrow. He is made of old clothes stuffed with straw, and a papier-mâché head. In his lap he holds a box labeled penas that people write down on pieces of paper, expressing their sorrows and fears. If it’s true that Cucui is a bogeyman, we shouldn’t hold that against him — he carries all those heavy burdens and brings them to the festival. So, although he is not the perfect party guest, he is the guy who will take all your worries away.

Attending the celebration is free, but we encourage locals to patronize local vendors at the event.

Schedule of Events
10 -11 a.m.
Michael Rael and Friends
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Marty Martinez
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Billy and Johnny Archuleta
& QHS Mariachi Band
1:30 – 2 p.m.
Ballet Dancers
2 – 2:45 p.m.
Frito Pie Eating Contest
2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
Lorenzo Martin Martinez
4 – 5 p.m.
Los Blue Healers
5 p.m.
Burn Cucui

Courtesy Photo Locals gather in 2021 for the burning of the Cucui in 2021