By Jesse Jones
News-Bulletin Staff Writer
Tomé — The Tomé community will have much to celebrate on Sunday, Sept. 10.
The Fiestas have not been put on since the pandemic began. The 284-year-old church will get to show off renovations that were completed in 2021.
“It’s time! It was time that we started the Fiestas again, and people here are really excited about it” says Robert Sanchez, chairman of the church building and properties committees.
The Fiestas de Tomé are held in celebration of the Nativity, and this year it falls on Friday, Sept. 8, but the church celebrates the Fiestas on the closest Sunday — Sept. 10.
The Fiestas are a time when the community can come together to celebrate, not just Tomé but anyone from anywhere who wants to join the festivities.
“The day itself is about community and getting people together — everybody’s family,” says Monica Padilla, co-chairwoman of the Fiestas.
The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is bringing a taste of Santa Fe to Fiestas by having Spanish Market artists at the event for the first time. The traditional market provides a platform for local and state artists to showcase their talents to the community.
Another new activity the Fiestas organizers are excited to put on this year is Tomé’s Got Talent. Children 18 years and younger will have a chance to compete in the county’s newest talent show.
There is lots of delicious food at the Fiestas, like Sanchez’s favorite, the Fiesta burgers. There will be lots of activities, such as a corn hole tournament, a cake walk, bingo and kid’s games.
For those history buffs, at 12:30 p.m., the church historian, Ramon Torres, will be leading a tour of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
The Town of Tomé’ Land Grant will also be opening up the old jail and casita. Supposedly, Billy the Kid was held at the jail at one time.
Join the church for a joyous celebration with great entertainment, delicious food and a strong sense of community. All are welcome, regardless of affiliation with the Tomè parish or town.
At the end of the day, be sure to take part in the auctions. One is a silent auction raffle and the other is a live auction with a professional auctioneer.
The raffle tickets are $5, and the prizes are well worth the price. The grand prize will win $4,000. The second prize is for a steer that can be live or processed. Third place will bring home the ultimate cooking disco with a stand.
If people want to attend Mass, it starts at 10 a.m., when the Fiesta queen will be crowning the Blessed Mother. The head of the Catechism program will choose a student who stands out as the Fiesta queen.
After Mass, the congregation will do a procession around the park while the choir is singing and the church bells are ringing.
“It’s a beautiful experience,” says Padilla.
Unfortunately, Father Michael Demkovich will not be at the festivities; he is giving a presentation in England that weekend. Rev. Joel Garner, the current Abbott of the New Mexico Norbertines will be attending along with Father Jose Hernandez, who was the priest in charge during the initial planning and has overseen the entire renovation process.
Schedule of events
Sunday, Sept. 10
10 a.m.: Fiesta Mass followed by the Procession of Our Lady
12-1 p.m.: Mariachi Tenampa performs
12 p.m.: Corn hole tournament registration opens
12:30 p.m.: Tour of the Immaculate Conception Church, led by Ramon Torres
1:20-1:50 p.m.: Nueva Luna performs
2:10-3:10 p.m.: Plain Jane performs
3:30-4 p.m.: Tomè’s Got Talent
4-5:30 p.m.: Felix Y Los Gatos performs
5:30-6 p.m.: Live auction and raffle drawings
Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.