Home News Local News State fair, Piñata and Chile Cheese fests unite

State fair, Piñata and Chile Cheese fests unite

Jared Hembree listens to a city councilor’s question, regarding the collaboration of the Eastern New Mexico State Fair, Piñata Festival and Chile Cheese Festival, at the city of Roswell’s Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday. Pictured in the background are Marcos Nava representing the Piñata Festival and Deanna Garcia from the city’s finance department. (Alison Penn Photo)

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Three fall events announced their collaboration at the Roswell City Council’s Finance Committee meeting.

The Eastern New Mexico State Fair (ENMSF), Piñata Festival and Chile Cheese Festival will all happen between the end of September and early October. These events applied collectively for a total of $40,000 in lodgers’ tax funding. Lodgers’ tax is an optional tax for cities and counties placed on hotels, motels and other commercial short-term rentals, according to information on the state auditor’s website.

Jared Hembree, Marcos Nava and Molly Boyles represented the three events before the Finance Committee on Tuesday morning.

Allison Gray, the city’s tourism and event manager, said the dates for the events are from Sept. 27-28 for the festivals, and Sept. 30 to Oct. 5 for the fair. Hembree explained the animals will be brought in Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 will be the date for the fair parade and opening of the fair.

City councilors Judy Stubbs, Steve Henderson, Jacob Roebuck and Committee Chair Caleb Grant were present. Roebuck made the motion to recommend that the full council approve the lodgers’ tax request from the two festivals and the fair and Henderson seconded. The committee approved the measure unanimously.

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“We think it’s a great way to just expand the event and make it bigger, draw people in,” Hembree said. “It’s basically a 10-day event now. I think we’re all pretty excited about it. It’s something that I think has been sort of talked about off and on over the last few years, and then this year it just kind of came to fruition.”

Boyles said the advertising will be “Come for the piñata, chile cheese festival and stay for the fair.” Boyles explained that the Piñata Festival didn’t happen last year; she added that for vendors and visitors having the three events so close together created difficult decisions on which one to attend.

“We feel like it is going to be a great partnership to be able to have these events,” Boyles said. “The Chile Cheese and the Piñata Fest partnering together made perfect sense because again, our timelines were so close that many times we were hurting ourselves with our vendors …”

Boyles said vendors for all three events will be able to stay in Roswell for the 10 days, instead of taking three separate trips. Boyles said the collaboration will also save the city money by combining the applications in one event, for which city services, like sanitation and police, can be used all at once rather than for three separate events.

Grant said it was “a great idea” and asked if there would be a downside for downtown businesses. Boyles said downtown merchants prefer when the events close the streets, allowing for more foot-traffic into their businesses.

Roebuck said he was excited and hopes the combined effort will be positive. He also said that low-income families may not attend multiple events.

Roebuck asked if the fair would be managing the budget for the events. Boyles confirmed this, saying it was easier to have one entity apply and be in charge. Explaining further, Hembree said ENMSF will be doing the marketing and there is a memorandum of understanding for the Chile Cheese and Piñata festivals, for sharing their receipts.

Five other lodgers’ tax funding requests were also approved on Tuesday including the Pecos Valley Potter’s Guild Art Show, Roswell Jazz Festival and the Bottomless Triathlon.

Among these requests, the New Mexico Aviation Aerospace STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Expo is a new event to Roswell, and was also approved. Gray explained that the expo is dated for Sept. 26 with an anticipated 4,500 attendees and vendors, with 3,000 of those from outside Chaves County. Kerry Moore, a member of the Occupancy Tax Board, said 1,000 vendors may stay in local hotels.

Mayor Dennis Kintigh explained this year will mark the first time the expo will be hosted in Roswell, specifically at the Roswell International Air Center and Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. Kintigh said middle and high school students had been bused to Albuquerque and Alamogordo over the last six years for this event. Kintigh said the event raises awareness for potential aviation careers for youth and he said it was important for “state, region and city.”

A request for a waiver of special event fees for the upcoming Hike It & Spike It Flag Football Tournament was also unanimously approved by the committee.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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