By RACHEL KUC
For the holiday season, the Village of Questa partnered with Vida Del Norte Coalition to organize a new event, the “Evening of Lights,” on December 4 in the village center. There was a tree lighting, a Christmas tree tour, music, food, local craft vendors, a light parade, and even Santa, who made a jolly appearance.
Days before the event, workers from the village, volunteers, and Vida Del Norte spent their afternoons outside in what was, thankfully, glorious weather, to string up lights and arrange decorations. The village staff lined up beautiful handmade farolitos/luminarias that were lit one by one before the Evening of Lights. Early on, Mayor Mark Gallegos and village workers from the village chose the Christmas tree from the Questa area forest. Kit Carson Electric Cooperative graciously came over to install the tree lights. Valerie and Armando Vigil made a beautiful wooden sign with the word “Joy” outlined in lights, with material that was generously donated by Questa Lumber & Hardware.
During the Evening of Lights, Santa sat by the tree to spend a little quality time with the kids and families of Questa. The Joy sign illuminated next to Santa made the scene even more cheerful for family photos. Vida Del Norte provided Santa with some brown bag treat sacks full of apples, oranges, peanuts, and candy to hand out to the kids. Vida was even able to sneak in brochures about the dangers of vaping and underage drinking into the snack sacks, to help spread substance misuse information for the holidays. The Granite Company generously donated the candy for the sacks.
Wendy Medina and her daughter, Alexandra Romero, of the local catering company Evelyn’s Treats, made delicious green chili stew, posole, and biscochitos to give away; Valerie Vigil was there from Rael’s Store & Coffee Shop serving hot cocoa; and Bubba’s BBQ food truck was there all evening selling its world-class BBQ.
Before the tree was lit, Mayor Gallegos thanked everyone who helped make the evening special. Once the lights turned on, the scene came to life. Families got a chance to mingle and children played amongst the magical glow of the lights, making the hard work that went into the display very rewarding.
The Light Parade was led by the Taos County Police and Questa Fire Department, blaring their sirens and playing Christmas music. Many local businesses and community members volunteered to be in the parade, creating elaborate holiday floats and spectacular light displays on their vehicles. It was impressive to see how much effort and attention to detail people put into transforming their vehicles into holiday works of art.
One of the best floats of the evening was on display after the parade outside of Rael’s Store & Coffee Shop—a nativity scene, made by Denise and Edward Vigil, in memory of Enriquetta Vigil. A photo of Enriquetta and her beautiful smile was illuminated in lights on the float, reminding us that, like Enriquetta, the hard work that we put into making our community a better place can make a difference and continue to inspire us into the future.
For the tree tour, the Questa Girl Scout Troop and Alta Vista Elementary School art teacher Ms. Maya MacDonald had engaged students in grades pre-K through 6th in making ornaments to hang on trees sponsored by local businesses. During the tour, those who found their ornaments received prizes from the Village of Questa.
Vida Del Norte and the Village of Questa thank all the local businesses and volunteers who participated and made donations to make the Evening of Lights a special and memorable time for the holiday. And a special thanks to everyone who came out that cold evening to help spread cheer and a sense of pride in our Questa community!