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July 2024

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Mayfest in the Mountains: Survey Yields Mixed Results

The town of Red River provided the opportunity for business owners, residents and visitors to give feedback on the first annual Mayfest in the Mountains, a family-friendly Memorial Day weekend event replacing the longstanding motorcycle rally, at a June 3 town council meeting.

How well was the first annual Mayfest in the Mountains received? If you ask visitors—those who traveled more than 50 miles to the event—most respondents registered their experience as split between very satisfied, very dissatisfied, and dissatisfied. Interestingly, 83 percent of these visitors had been to Red River during past Memorial Day weekends and returned this year knowing it was going to be a very different event.

Some business owners (24 percent) saw an increase in customer traffic, mainly in retail, vehicle rentals, and tour operations. The majority (62 percent) claimed decreased visitor traffic this year. How did business compare to Memorial Day Weekend in 2022? Nearly 47 percent reported a decrease in sales, where 19 percent reported no change in sales

Residents of Red River felt the weekend was positive overall, with the survey revealing most liked the family-friendly atmosphere. Nearly all (97 percent) of the residents who responded to the survey felt safe over the weekend.

The town meeting on Monday, June 3, at the conference center, had many attendees: from residents to business owners to town representatives. “We are going to have a lot of continued discussion as we move forward with Memorial Day Weekend plans. Right now, I don’t see us going back to a full-blown rally like it was before the shooting, but we will continue with council and community input,” Mayor Linda Calhoun told the Questa del Rio News.

A few things to consider about the survey itself is the overall population, the big “N” if you know a smidge about statistics. This is just the overall number of people who experienced the event—your population. The survey was offered to the general public and remained open for five days. As far as businesses go, 58 particicpated in the survey. It is unclear whether these 58 businesses are representative of the full variety of businesses in Red River. When it came to residents who filled out the survey, 90 surveys were received in a town whose population is a little over 500. As far as visitors go, the town received thousands over the five-day period—7,010 on Saturday alone, however, only 49 visitors responded to the survey. The town meeting gave those who attended the opportunity to look at the survey results and maybe more importantly say their peace on how they felt the weekend went. Just like the survey results, the town meeting had representation from all angles, some really liking the change to a quieter, safer atmosphere while others took an economic hit.

Although the survey revealed mixed feelings on the potential return of the motorcycle rally, some suggestions for the future event include combining Mayfest with a biker rally, adding more diverse attractions for visitors, and balancing the presence of law enforcement. Most respondents felt that marketing and advertising should be broader and happen earlier in the year and most expressed a desire to increase the range of activities.

The historic motorcycle rally that many locals and visitors attended in the past offered experiences that catered to adults. The new event, tailored to families, also offered a focus on veterans and military service members, which was well received.


  • Lora Arcienega

    Experience working with the USDA Forest Service and extensive knowledge of the northern region, while maintaining and fostering strong community relationships remain a big priority.

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