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July 2024

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

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Courtesy Photo 2024 Questa Fiesta court stands proudly at the Questa Fiestas with outgoing royalty

iQue Viva la Fiestas! Questa Fiestas Showcase Culture, Community, and Connections

Questa’s Fiestas were held on Saturday, June 15, at Questa’s Molycorp Field. Locals and visitors joined together to listen to traditional Spanish music, shop at local vendor tents, and connect and catch up on life.

We spoke with Anastacia Gonzalez, a Colorado masseuse who traveled to Questa to set up a vendor tent and offer massages to the community. “I loved being able to do this in my hometown for the fiestas,” she says. “Holistic medicine offers people different ways to manage their pain. So often, people go to using medications to manage their pain but there are alternative ways of taking care of your health—there are natural ways to help you.”

During the day, bands shuffled on and off stage as they performed hits for locals to enjoy. The crowds were hanging out, until a performance by local dancer and fitness instructor Julia Struck took center stage. People started getting out of their seats to see the lively belly dancing.

We took some time to chat with Struck: “My family has roots in Questa. My great-grandparents are Ben and Dora Maes and my grandparents who raised me were Loren and Beatrice Maes.” Struck says she has many fond memories of Questa, which served as her second home growing up.

“In the summers, I remember coming to Questa to stay with my great-grandparents and they would drop us off at the Playhouse in Red River while they went to Bingo,” she recalls fondly. “We used to play for hours, go skating, play in the arcade; those were the best times.”

Being raised in Taos, Struck says performing at the Questa Fiestas had a special meaning to her. “I have four generations of my grandfathers who worked at the mine in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain. Being in this symbolic place where I could share my impassioned and symbolic dancing with the people, my people—it was really meaningful.”

Struck is a fitness instructor and life coach in Taos where she owns and operates her business, the Body Shop, LLC. “We are female-founded and managed. Our business is 100 percent self-funded and it’s my job to help people see the freedom within their body through fitness, nutrition, and mindset.”

Last year, Struck lost her parents, Loren and Beatrice, in a house fire in Taos. “After my parents died, I had every reason to let my business go, but I was driven by their love. My passion for serving others, and with the support of the community… we expanded across two dozen states.”

Struck says her experience living and working in Taos gives her a deep appreciation for the culture and people of the area. “I am a proud New Mexican and I love our culture, our foods, our traditions… what I love is that we also share these sacred things with visitors and make them friends.”

Struck says belly dancing was brought to Taos by the hippie movement, and the pioneer of it is her master instructor, Sakti Rinek. While her performance at the Questa Fiestas was solely belly dancing, she also does various types of dancing, including Flamenco. She also dances with the Comanches de la Serna, led by Senor Francisco in Ranchos de Taos.

“Some places in the country are still segregated communities where Native Americans and White and Spanish people don’t talk. They are holding grudges for things that happened with our ancestors years ago. Taos County is unique, as our communities have united and come together to give and share our cultures and traditions. We respect one another and in turn, we teach outsiders the importance of our culture, traditions, and also, how to respect us as well.” Struck says.

Struck believes in helping people improve their thinking and mindset to achieve their best, healthy life. Living in Taos, Struck and her staff work across 18 states helping people through her business. “This is something I live and breathe every single day. It was an honor to be a part of the Questa Fiestas to share some of what I am passionate about. I am a proud New Mexican because we are diverse, different, and unique but ultimately, we come from the same place. We are the same.”

While the music, vendor booths, and the entertainment were a big part of the event, the open field filled with activities for children was notable. The children’s area was organized by Living Word Ministries Church in Questa, in partnership with the Red River Community Church. Pastor Gayle Martinez says last year, the church organized a basketball and cornhole competition. This year, the churches expanded to include Nerf Battles and bumper cars. “When we asked the church community to help for the Fiestas, the response was a resounding YES to making the event special for the local children and families.”

Giving back to the local children in the communities of northern Taos County is a common occurrence for the Living Word Ministries community, hosting several events year round. “We like the ideal of having healthy and fun activities for our local kids and families to experience. It truly takes a village and we are pleased to be a part of this community in Questa,” Martinez says.

The Questa Fiestas were planned and executed by the Fiesta Committee, made up of Katrina Gonzales, Maria Gonzalez, Daniel Cordova, JoAnn Cisneros, Yolanda Sanchez, and Alyssah Duran.

FIESTA Committee:
Katrina Gonzales
Maria Gonzalez
Valerie Vigil
JoAnn Cisneros
Yolanda Sanchez
Alyssah Duran

2024 Royal Court:
Reina – Esperanza Quintana
Princesa – Destinee Vigil
Junior Princesas – Sofia Vigil and Aria Duran

Taos County
The Village of Questa
The LOR Foundation
Robles, Rael & Anaya P.C.
Mr. Bobby Ortega of Kit Carson Elec
Taos Community Foundation
Rio Grande MotorSports
Cisneros Fuel and Grocery
Station 522 Questa
Hillcrest Bank in Red River
WSP and Aria Duran
Questa Credit Union
CarQuest Autoparts
Questa Lumber & Hardware
Taos Sanitary Supplies
Jerome’s Barbershop

Special Thanks to:
Justin, Skarlet and Ezekiel Martinez
Village of Questa Mayor, Council & Admin Staff.
Brent Jaramillo
Public Works Dept
Daniel & Reyna Gonzales
Jason Gonzalez
Gabe Herrera
Chief Ronald Montez
Daniel Cordova with Native Winds Radio
Daniel Hutchison & Tallie Sagal with LOCALOGY
Living Word Ministries
River Community Church
Lori and Larry with Party On Rentals
Andrew and Peggy Rael
S.S. Security Services
Angelique Gonzales with Caribel Condos
John LaCome
Jason Torres
Judge Michael Rael
Julia Fernandez
Ernie Passino
Lora and Jim Arciniega & family with Arson Pizzeria
JoAnn and Beck Cisneros & family
Jose and Alyssah Duran & family
Alfredo and Britney Romero with Freeze Dried Mountain Goodies
Lynn Skall of QEDF
Larry and Gloria Sanchez
Vida Del Norte
Tommy Tapia with Everyone Deserves
Anastasia Gonzalez with Harmony Hands Massage
Taos Fun Jump
Questa Del Rio News
Taos News
LMNOC Broadcasting
St. Anthony’s Parish youth Group
Army National Guard
Chris Arellano’s School of Rock
All the INCREDIBLE Musicians