May 4, 2015—TAOS, NM—The three-day Taos Lilac Festival, May 15-17, is blossoming into one of Taos, New Mexico’s largest annual events with the addition of several activities including a Taos Taco Cook Off, Lilac 5K run, New Mexico Beer and Wine Garden, fashion show, and more. There is no charge for the family friendly event which is held at Kit Carson Park in Taos.
“This unique Taos event was established to celebrate our heritage of Lilacs and to promote their care and planting throughout the Taos area,” said co-festival organizer, John Hamilton. “With the founding of the Taos Society of Artists, whose 100th anniversary we are celebrating this year, many lilacs sprung up around Taos which were most likely brought here from outside the area. They are a staple of Taos’ beautiful landscape.”
For the first time, the festival will include a Taos Lilac Festival 5K Run on Sunday, May 17 beginning at 9 a.m. All levels are welcome and the run will take competitors along the lilac-laden historic part of Taos. Prizes will be awarded to the top three placements per age group and overall winner. Registration before May 16 is $30 or $35 on race day. The run will begin at the parking lot of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s gym, located at 205 Don Fernando St.
Also new to the festival, sample tacos from a collection of Taos’ best chefs at the first annual Taos Taco Cook Off from 3–5 p.m. on Saturday, May 16. The competing chefs are vying for the title of “Best Traditional New Mexico Taco.” Admission is $15. The Taos Taco Cook Off is sponsored by the Great Chefs of Taos, Inc – a non profit organization supporting the Taos High School Culinary program.
After savoring the best tacos in Taos, festival goers can put out the fire with a cold beer or glass of wine at the New Mexico Beer and Wine Garden. Hours are Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The first-ever Lilac Festival Fashion Show will be held at the main stage at Kit Carson Park from 4–5 p.m. on Saturday, showcasing fashions sold by participating local businesses. The fashion show will even feature lilac-themed clothing. Taos artist/potter Stephen Kilborn will emcee the show.
Children will have a great time riding the historic Tio Vivo Carousel – one of the oldest flying jenny carousels still in operation in the United States, complete with hand carved, painted horses. Operated by the Taos Lions Club, the vintage carousel is free to ride and will be available on Saturday and Sunday only.
For the not-so-flowery types, a Classic Car and Truck show featuring over 100 vintage cars and trucks will be on display near Kit Carson Park. Ribbons and cash prizes will be awarded for “best car” and “most Taoseño car and truck.” The show will be on display between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m on Saturday and Sunday.
The furry family members will even have something to do at the festival with the Pet Parade and Blessing. Leashed, well behaved dogs or safely caged pets can march in their cutest costumes during the parade which assembles at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories. At 11:45 a.m., pets can receive a blessing by the parish priest as part of a longstanding tradition associated with St. Francis of Assis. There is no charge for the event. Stray Hearts Animal Shelter will be adopting dogs out at the event.
Live entertainment will be ongoing throughout the event by Taos native and recording artist Max Gomez, Lonesome Town, Vanilla Pop and Big Swing Theory. Visit taoslilacfestival.com/events/live-entertainment/ for showtimes.
As the fragrant smell of lilacs fills the air, festival goers are invited to walk along Taos’ historic district where the events will be taking place. A downloadable walking map is available at no charge at the Taos Lilac Festival website.
Special lodging and dining specials are available at historic Taos Inn and Sagebrush Inn and Suites. Visit taoslilacfestival.com/specials/ for a complete list.
For a complete list of events and details about the Taos Lilac Festival, visit taoslilacfestival.com.