Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Rain doesn’t dampen pedestrians’ return to Farolito Walk | Local News

The pedestrians were back on the Farolito Walk on Canyon Road on Friday evening, greeted by a continuous drizzle and the sound of the sleigh bells.

Viewers noticed fewer Farolitos – “little lanterns” made of sand, paper bags and burning candles – but a similar amount as in the years before the pandemic, as the scent of pinon wood filled the air. Last year, the Christmas Eve walk was restricted to vehicles only amid pandemic restrictions.

The mostly masked crowd got denser as the evening got darker, and fallen disposable face masks became muddy on the floor.



Asaf Hurwitz-Michaely and his son Anat Hurwitz-Michaely, 3, take a look around the Wiford Gallery on Friday during the annual Farolito Walk down Canyon Road.



Police officially blocked Canyon Road from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., but some night owls got a head start. Some groups sang Christmas carols while hiking, others wrapped themselves in brightly colored fairy lights.

Exploring on foot wasn’t the only return to normal that year.

Kathy Rivera, the Santa Fe-based “Farolito Lady”, was again wearing her signature black jacket with a wide-brimmed sun hat adorned with more than 100 tiny, battery-operated Farolitos. She was not there last year out of caution.

“The coat usually comes out once a year, tonight,” she said.

She took shelter under an umbrella at the foot of Canyon Road and greeted passers-by in the early evening.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd given the weather,” she said. “As soon as the rain is gone, I’ll go to the promenade.”

For decades, thousands have taken the annual Christmas Eve walk down Canyon Road to admire row after row of illuminated Farolitos and inhale the scent of the Luminaria bonfires that mark New Mexico’s Christmas season.

A couple of people dressed in Santa Claus clothes clutched mugs of hot chocolate and cider as they wandered Canyon Road that evening, weaving their way through deep puddles on the sidewalk caused by an afternoon storm.



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Christmas carols gather around a campfire on Friday during the annual Farolito Walk. Despite the cold and rainy weather and the coronavirus pandemic that limited the event to car transit only last year, spectators said the attendance numbers were comparable to the pre-pandemic event.



Several groups strolled in and out of some of the galleries on Canyon Road that had chosen to stay open. Other shop fronts were dark and many of the Farolitos withered and wiped out in the rain early Friday.

It was a successful Christmas Eve for Amy Kawadler, who makes and sells recycled jewelry through her Adorn Reborn company, making sales and socializing.

“It’s about meeting the community, sharing my story, and hoping that something resonates with them tonight,” she said.

She was selling her designs from the Edition One Gallery when a campfire crackled outside next to a table with delicate Christmas cookies.

It wasn’t her first Farolito stroll, but it was her first time selling goods instead of enjoying the sights.

“It’s bittersweet because I would love to mix it up,” she said. “This is my favorite event of the whole season.”

The night was fun for Rafe, an 11-year-old student at Wood Gormley Elementary School who felt quite warm in her pink paisley winter jacket after walking the Farolitos, but it didn’t get any better with time.

“I kind of liked the beginning when we were out among fewer people,” she said.



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Christmas carols gather around a campfire on Friday during the annual Farolito Walk. Despite the cold and rainy weather and the coronavirus pandemic that limited the event to car transit only last year, spectators said the attendance numbers were comparable to the pre-pandemic event.



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