Home News Local News Red and green just two choices offered at festival

Red and green just two choices offered at festival

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Clarabelle Romero of Tijeras, New Mexico, shows the baskets of fruit, the chile ristras and the crafts she is selling at the Chile Cheese Festival Friday and today on the Chaves County Courthouse lawn. Romero, who says she comes to the festival every year, used to live in Roswell, operating a fruit stand on East Second Street. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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When that nip of coolness hits the morning air, then it is time for Roswell’s annual festival that focuses on two of the region’s largest agricultural-related products.

The 27th annual Chile Cheese Festival began Friday afternoon on the Chaves County Courthouse lawn on North Main Street. It will continue today starting at 8 a.m. and will run until 10 p.m.

About 36 vendors, ranging from nonprofit organizations to government agencies to arts and crafts sellers to food trucks, have pitched their tents or set up their businesses to entertain, feed, inform or tempt attendees.

The festival also focuses on Leprino Foods, the area’s largest private employer and a multinational corporation that is one of the largest producers of mozzarella cheese and dairy by-products in the world. Free tours of the usually closely guarded facility are given twice today, with tour participants receiving free samples of cheese.

Some of the other offerings this year are music performances, LED light giveaways by event sponsor Xcel, a petting zoo featuring a kangaroo, horses and other animals offered by Runyan Ranches, and ice cream eating and green chile stew competitions.

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“The purpose is to celebrate the farming and ranching industries in our area — from the farmers who grow the alfalfa that goes to the dairies that produce the milk that goes to Leprino,” said Molly Boyles, president of MainStreet Roswell, which organizes the event. “The importance of Leprino to the area is huge. It is not just their employees because it spiders out to so many other industries” including the trucking industry.

She said she expects somewhere between 1,000 to 2,000 people to visit the festival, as well as the Farmer’s Market. That event, which includes fresh produce and food products from area growers and cooks, will share the courthouse lawn starting at 7 a.m. today.

A full schedule of festival events is on the MainStreet Roswell website, mainstreetroswell.org.