Festival moving to Expo New Mexico

Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival
Photo courtesy Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Metal sculptor Greg Gowen is curious how about moving one of the state’s largest arts and crafts festivals will affect his art sales.

“The big white tent off the freeway was definitely great advertising for us,” Gowen said.

The tent houses the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival, which for 25 years has gone hand-in-hand with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta during the first week in October. But this year, that tent won’t be at its usual location: near Paseo del Norte.

Now, the festival is moving to the racetrack infield at Expo New Mexico.

Gowen, who has shown his at at numerous arts and crafts festivals, said in an interview that the event is a big seller, and he’s looking forward to the change.

“Everyone’s a little sick of that intersection right now, so I think this is a good move for us,” he said.

Construction trucks have eaten up the ground that used to house the Arts and Crafts Festival, so it had to move.

“Everybody’s wondering how it’s going to turn out. I think it’s going to be great,” festival director Ruth Gore said.

The big white tent is now up at Expo New Mexico. on Thursday, crews were installing the carpet and fences. They were scurrying to get it all done for its opening on Oct. 3.

If You Go…

  • Location: Expo New Mexico
  • At: Gate 8
  • Parking: $5

Rio Grande Festivals

“We have to put it up faster than we ever did, because the State Fair was here,” Gore said.

The Arts and Crafts Festival draws in big crowds, from locals to international tourists, after the balloons land for the day. They come to see 280 artists from across the country. Gore hopes people will drive the extra 15 minutes across town to attend the event. She says the changes will be worth it.

“Our corner was great at the old location but accessibility was a bit of a problem during balloon events. There was a lot of dust and there were a lot of limitations with the size of the parking lot as well,” she said.

There is now a paved lot and more space for the event to grow. Expo New Mexico hopes to use the space for other events throughout the year.

There’s one change that is almost sure to not be as appealing: the $5 parking charge at Expo.

Event organizers will start a big ad campaign on radio, TV and billboards next week promoting the location change. Gowen said he’s not too worried about it. He believes buyers make his event a destination.

“One thing about New Mexicans and people who love art:  they’ll go find it,” he said.

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