PERALTA — After a year void of gatherings and celebrations, the town of Peralta will again hold their town fiesta this weekend.

Last year, the town held a socially-distanced firework show, but this year, residents, not only from Peralta, but all over Valencia County can gather on Saturday, Oct. 2, for a parade, music, food and games during the 2021 Fiesta de Peralta y Valencia.

“That was very well attended and very well received,” Peralta Mayor Bryan Olguin said about last year’s firework show in lieu of the fiesta. “I think they are looking for — I mean, there is always a reason to celebrate — but to celebrate our identity here and get out, meet your neighbors, eat some good food, listen to some music and get together.”

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2019 Fiesta de Peralta y Valencia parade

Olguin said the town began holding the fiesta four years ago after an employee, who was not originally from New Mexico, wanted the town to celebrate the uniqueness of their food, culture and traditions,

“We have a lot of our own foods, our own recipes — like, I guess, everywhere else — but he said that this needs to be recognized,” Olguin said. “You need to get that out there and celebrate your history and your heritage.”

Peralta Councilor Claudio Moya, who led the organization of the Fiesta this year, said putting the celebration together was overall simple, since the blueprint for the event was already established, but he wanted to make it better than in years past.

The day begins at 10 a.m. with a parade, starting at Peralta Town Hall on Molina Road and ending on the corner of Molina and N.M. 47. The festivities will take place at the empty field at Molina Road and N.M. 47, across the street from Peralta Elementary School.

“It’s getting bigger and better,” Moya said. “Each year it gets bigger and better and this year, we’re topping it. We have three big bands coming. And then we have our big fireworks display. Isotopes don’t have anything on us on that part.”

Three different bands will take the stage over the course of Saturday, starting with Impresión at noon, followed by Ralph Miramontes Band at 3 p.m. and Twist and Shout, a Beatles tribute band, at 7 p.m. The firework show is scheduled to start at 9 p.m.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is the greatest show in Valencia County,” Moya said, who added the music is his favorite part of the fiesta every year. “It’s gonna be big … hopefully the weather cooperates with us.”

In addition to the music and parade, the town planned a car show, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., bingo, and games and activities for the kids. Moya said they had originally planned to have jumping balloons, but with the ongoing spread of the Delta variant, he erred on the side of caution.

“I just didn’t want to risk that and get somebody sick, the kids especially,” Moya said. “I’d hate to do that to the kids because they really enjoy it, but I think I just didn’t want to take a chance on it.”

Still, there will be games and other entertainment for the little ones, such as gunny sack races.

Throughout the day, local vendors will be selling food, crafts and other treats. Olguin said that the town tried to give area vendors priority at the fiesta, such as Papa Hanks and Benny’s from Bosque Farms.

“Hopefully, everybody shows up, we’re inviting everybody,” Moya said, anticipating a good turnout this weekend. “The more the merrier. I’m sure they’ll enjoy it.”

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Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.