Celebrating the free state of Socorro, this year’s Socorrofest offers something for everyone, as the cliché goes.

El Defensor Chieftain file photo: Festival-goers enjoy a little dancing in the Plaza at last year’s Socorrofest.

The 12th annual Socorrofest is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10 and 11 at the historic Plaza.

Socorrofest, sponsored by the City of Socorro and a host of volunteers, is an opportunity for families and friends to get together and spend the day feasting, dancing, visiting or just plain having fun.

It’s also a chance for visitors to learn about Socorro and the jewels of her valley, by way of homegrown fruits and vegetables and native food dishes, along with arts-and-crafts booths, community tours, an array of fun family activities and a talented lineup of music and entertainment.

Plan to start the weekend on Friday evening with Kyle Martin hitting the stage at 6 p.m., followed by one of the most popular variety bands in the state, The Remedy, playing from 8 to 10 p.m. The Spirits Tent will also open at 6 p.m., as well as food vendors.

Socorro boasts an experienced and diverse group of visual and performing artists, many of whom take their art on the road in New Mexico and the region as ethnic dancers, storytellers and theatrical performers.

Et Alia Belly Dance Troupe has performed “cabaret” and “tribal fusion” dances since 1978 and made its debut in Socorro as a community college class. Cabaret dances are classic presentations featuring finger cymbals and veils; tribal fusion dances are folkloric in style, and often include swords, candles, finger cymbals, canes or tambourines. The troupe has performed at local and state festivals. They are a Socorro favorite at community events.

Besides the abundance of food, art and entertainment, you can have your photo taken and get your Free State of Socorro Pasaporte at Socorrofest.

Food fare will include roasted corn, burritos, hot wings, nachos, funnel cakes, shrimp and chicken tacos, hot dogs, green chile apple pie, smoked pork and brisket, salmon on a stick and turkey legs, just to list a few.

Over 33 artists and crafters will be displaying their creations throughout the Plaza area. Visitors can shop for unique photographs, sterling silver jewelry, T-shirts, kids’ toys and novelties, greeting cards, wood furnishings, stained glass art, oil-infused chile, handmade knives, fine art prints, aprons, tin signs, quilts, doggie visors and you can even get a chair massage.

There is face painting, digging for treasures, a jumping castle and a car to paint for kids.

A new addition this year is the knife throwing competition

Registration is 8:30 to 10 a.m., and the competition starts at 10 a.m. Entrance fee for the state championship is $50.

There will be 18 awards given out including first, second and third each for expert, intermediate, and beginner knife and tomahawk. For most places, winners will receive nice wooden plaques. First place expert knife and tomahawk winners will receive a beautiful one of a kind wooden trophy made of birdseye maple and walnut burl, handmade by a local craftsman. At Socorrofest, there will be two official competition lanes and one practice lane for anybody who would like to learn how to throw. $5 will earn the chance to throw three knives or tomahawks for the Newbie competition. The winner of the Newbie competition will get a set of throwing knives. If you have any questions on the knife throwing contest, call Talon Newton at 575-517-0252.

SocorroFest patrons age 21 and older can purchase a commemorative beer or wine glass for $5 to sample brews and vinos in the Spirits Tent which opens at 6 p.m. Friday and high noon on Saturday.

This year the expanded Spirits Tent features fermented fare from a variety of microbreweries and wineries, including the locally-owned Twisted Chile Brewing Company, and fruits of the vine from several wineries.

This is a unique happening in that typically it’s either a wine fest or a microbrew fest, but Socorrofest puts the two together to satisfy everyone’s taste.

Besides Twisted Chile, you can also sample Black’s Smuggler Winery from Bosque, Turtle Mountain Brewing Co. from Rio Rancho, Red Door Brewing Company from Albuquerque, Cottonwood Wine and Brewing from Artesia, Tularosa Vineyards of Tularosa, Anasazi Fields Winery from Placitas, and St. Clair Winery from Deming.

“This is a festival that has become a community mainstay and a statewide attraction to put on your calendar,” said Deb Caldwell, Socorro Chamber of Commerce director.

The area is home to an equally high-quality troupe of singers, musicians and performers, whose repertoire ranges from concert band marches to folk and bluegrass, Spanish, country and rock.

“We have some real talent in town,” said Ronna Kalish. As a member of the folk-rock band Vinegaroon and director of the Performing Arts Series at New Mexico Tech Kalish knows of what she speaks.

Many people – and birds – flock to Socorro to enjoy the hospitable fall weather in the Rio Grande Valley.

Other popular attractions in Socorro include Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, the Very Large Array, mountain biking trails on the Quebradas Backcountry Byway, Water Canyon and the New Mexico Tech Golf Course.

“There’s something for everyone, so bring the family and plan to spend the weekend,” said Caldwell. “This is a wonderful time to get to know Socorro.”

The event is made possible by the Socorrofest Committee and the sponsors: Rio Grande Bosque, Baja Broadband, Don and Rosie Tripp, Richardson & Richardson and El Defensor Chieftain.

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