Major Cities: Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Belen

Origin/Influence: Pueblo Indians and Spanish-

Featured Artist: Linda Walters (Los Lunas)- Fiber Artist:

New Mexico Wine Festival

This is the biggest and oldest New Mexico wine festival. Come and enjoy the live entertainment, food, high quality arts and crafts and 20 or more New Mexico wineries. There is free wine tasting and wine is available for purchase by the glass, bottle, or case.

The wine tradition started in 1872 when the La Salle Christian Brothers, a Catholic teaching ordercame to Bernalillo to establish a high school. The St. Nicholas School For Boys and a farm were built across from Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church on lands donated by the prominent Perea family.

As a means of funding the school, the Christian Brothers operated the La Salle Ranch and in 1883, they opened the La France Winery. In 1887, the Christian Brothers traveled to California to seeking hardier grape varieties than those that had been introduced into the Rio Grande Valley by early European settlers in the 1600’s. They returned with grapevine cuttings of Black Malvoise, Malbec, Zinfandel, Mataro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Pino, and Cohasselas Fountainbleu.

Unlike wineries of other Catholic Orders, the Christian Brothers did not make wine themselves. In 1917 they hired Lois Gros, of a French wine-making family in Bernalillo, who produced over 10,000 gallons of wine per year until 1920. In 1921 an Italian wine maker from Tuscany by the name of Giovanni Giorgio Rinaldi leased the La France Winery. He operated the winery throughout the prohibition era until 1933. The La France Winery was the only winery in New Mexico allowed to remain open during prohibition as Archbishop of Santa Fe Albert Daguer had arranged to have this winery produce sacramental wine for all of the Catholic churches in the state.

Rinaldi was a progressive wine grower, and in the early 1920’s he enlisted the help of the agricultural staff of New Mexico A&M College, now New Mexico State University, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. With their assistance, he experimented with several types of grapes and grape growing styles and significantly increased production. Zinfandel in a Burgundy style, still remembered by elder Bernalillo residents, was a result of such experimentation.

The Bernalillo winery predates the famous California Christian Brothers Winery in Napa Valley, which in the 1950’s indicated some interest in a grape brandy produced in Bernalillo that had developed a reputation for its quality. The Christian Brothers closed the winery in 1948 and sold the entire La Salle Ranch.

New Mexico Wine Growers Association
370 Camino del Pueblo
Bernalillo, NM 87004
Phone (505) 867-331

Folktale: KiMo Theater:

The KiMo Theatre, a Pueblo Deco picture palace, was opened on September 19, 1927, by Oreste Bachechi. Bachechi, a motivated entrepreneur from humble origins, came to the United States in 1885. Winding up in Albuquerque, he soon set up a business in a tent near the railroad tracks becoming a liquor dealer and proprietor of a grocery store. His wife Maria ran a dry good store in the Elms Hotel. As his fortunes expanded, he began the Bachechi Amusement Association in 1919, which operated the Pastime Theatre with Joe Barnett. In 1925, Oreste decided to achieve his true dream – building his own theatre. Envisioning a unique southwestern style, he soon hired an architect to design it, winding up with the Pueblo Deco style. This architectural style was a flamboyant, short-lived fashion that fused the spirit of the Native American cultures with Art Deco.

At a cost of $150,000, the theatre opened on September 19, 1927, at a time when silent movies were the all-consuming rage in America. A contest was run for the naming of the new theatre and Pablo Abeita won the magnificent prize of $50 for the unique name of “KiMo.” KiMo is a combination of two Indian words literally meaning “mountain lion” but more liberally interpreted as “king of its kind.”

No institution stands through time without something bad happening and the KiMo is no exception. In 1951, a six-year-old boy named Bobby Darnall was killed when the boiler in the basement exploded, demolishing part of the original lobby. The boiler was located right beneath the concession stand in the lobby. Bobby, who had been sitting in the theater balcony with some of his friends, suddenly was frightened by something on the screen and ran down the staircase to the lobby. Just as he arrived, the boiler exploded. Little Bobby’s spirit is said to continue to haunt the KiMo Theater today.

According to legend, the impish spirit causes the performers problems by tripping them and creating a ruckus during performances. To appease the spirit, the cast hangs donuts on the water pipe that runs along the back wall of the theater behind the stage. Often, the treats are gone the next morning. Of those that are left, bite marks made by a little mouth can sometimes be seen. He has been seen playing on the lobby staircase, wearing a striped shirt and blue jeans.

One year, a crew preparing for a Christmas production took down the stale donuts. Big mistake. No sooner were the donuts removed, when the technical rehearsal started to become a disaster, with everything going wrong, from lighting, to sound problems, and more. When the treats were replaced, things began to run smoothly again.

Not only is the old theater home to poor Bobby Darnall, but also to a mysterious lady who is seen walking along the hallways. This unknown woman, wearing a bonnet, has often been reported walking down the halls of the theater, appearing to be just going about her business. Nothing more is known of this ghostly presence, but seemingly she doesn’t disturb anyone, she just likes strolling about the old theater.

Performing Arts:

Popejoy Hall

Popejoy Hall, New Mexico’s grandest multi-use theater, hosts:

* Popejoy Presents, a series of touring Broadway shows and national and international performers
* The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra
* Performances by the UNM Department of Music and the Albuquerque Youth Symphony.

The hall, named after former University of New Mexico president Tom Popejoy, is located on the campus of UNM. Popejoy Hall is located just one block north of the UNM Bookstore.

We hope you will soon attend one of the many performances we host, whether by one of our fine local companies or by one of the many international touring acts.

Popejoy Hall
UNM Center for the Arts
MSC 04 2580
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131-0000
Phone (505) 277-3824

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