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New Mexico State University

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Santa Fe Trail Heritage Days Set For May

LAS CRUCES--The 177th anniversary of the establishment of the Santa Fe Trail will be celebrated at Santa Fe Trail Heritage Days May 1-2 at Plaza Park in Las Vegas.

The event, which begins at 9 a.m. each day, will include living history displays and villages depicting life in territorial New Mexico in the early to mid-1800s.

"This festival offers a look at what life was like on the trail and in a Western settlement nearly 180 years ago," said Mike Cook, coordinator of New Mexico State University's Rural Economic Development Through Tourism.

William Becknell and a small group of traders from Missouri opened the Santa Fe Trail in 1821, Cook said. "It was a major trade route into what is now New Mexico, and it had a huge impact on the state's growth and development," Cook said.

Residents will dress in period costumes of soldiers, merchants, mountain men and Native Americans. Las Vegas also has 900 historic buildings, most of which date back to the Santa Fe Trail period.

Demonstrations of the wares that were made, sold and traded on the Santa Fe Trail also will take place. Food vendors, live entertainment and arts and crafts displays will round out the festival.

REDTT, a program of NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, promotes agriculture through tourism.

For more information about Heritage Days, contact the Las Vegas/San Miguel Chamber of Commerce at 800-832-5947 or (505)425-8631.