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Statewide events for January 6, 2012 New Mexico Centennial of Statehood Day



New Mexico communities plan to celebrate New Mexico Statehood Day with a variety of activities commemorating the 100 years that have passed since President William H. Taft signed the legislation making us the 47th state in the Union.

Some highlights planned in New Mexico communities are included below.  Visit www.nmcentennial.org or the NM Centennial Facebook page for more.

Santa Fe

January 6 is the “First Day of Issue” for a new Commemorative U.S.Postage stamp commemorating New Mexico’s Centennial.  The stamp will be available from 10 am to noon in the museum lobby, with the issuance ceremony kicking off at 10:30 am in the auditorium. The forever stamp features an image by New Mexico artist Doug West, whose "Sanctuary" is a view of the Rio Puerco looking northeast at sunset.  While you’re at the museum, check out the additions to the statehood section of its permanent exhibit, Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now, a 47-star flag (and find out what makes it officially unofficial). The museum will also have a cutout of a 1912 parade car that you can pose yourself into.

At the State Capitol, Keep New Mexico Beautiful will throw a birthday party in the rotunda from 11 am to 1 pm.  The party, which is free and open to the public, will feature birthday cake, refreshments and entertainment by Mariachi Conquistador.

Shoes for Santo Niño is an opera commissioned by the University of New Mexico and co-produced with The Santa Fe Opera based on the children’s book by Peggy Pond Church.  The opera will be performed at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe on Jan. 6 at 1 pm and Jan. 7 at 3 pm and 6 pm.  The performances are free; tickets are at the Lensic Theater box office.

Statehood Day in Santa Fe will culminate with the Grand Centennial Ball at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 6–10:30pm.  The ball will include cocktails, dinner, live music, dancing and birthday surprises. Individual tickets are $250 and include a three-course dinner with wine pairing, parking and drink tickets.  VIP tickets and tables are available at www.ticketssantafe.org or by calling 505-988-1234.  Proceeds from the black tie or period attire Grand Ball will benefit the Centennial Children’s Legacy Fund. 

Las Cruces

The Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum’s event on Jan. 6 will be held 11 am – noon and includes a presentation of the New Mexico flag, singing of the state song (O Fair New Mexico) and a re-enactment of the statehood proclamation ceremony exactly 100 years to the minute after President Taft signed the document in Washington, D.C. (11:35am Mountain Time).

A Centennial Parade will begin late in the morning on Saturday, Jan. 7, and wind its way through historic parts of Las Cruces.  The parade will devote about 10 minutes to each decade for a 100-minute parade to commemorating 100 years of statehood.  Cars, equipment, representations of people and events, people born, and groups formed in each decade will pass along the parade route.  The end of the final decade will take place downtown Las Cruces.

On Jan. 7, the Amador Centennial Ball will be a plated dinner in a tented setting with dancing to big band music of the early 1900s in the center hall of the The Amador Hotel. Period décor will include donated artifacts and enlarged photos of Las Cruces circa 1912.  The ball will also feature costumed historical re-enactors, including President Taft, special guests and a menu reminiscent of the original statehood celebration. 

Silver City

The Silver City Statehood Celebration downtown will feature a birthday party with a community cake decorating contest and a dance with local musicians Brandon Perrault and Rhythm Mystic. Come to the Silver City Museum to see four Centennial-themed exhibitions.


On Jan. 6 and 7, New Mexico State Monuments and the Carrizozo Chamber of Commerce host a bus tour of the region that gave us our first statehood governor, William McDonald. For details on the Lincoln County Centennial Tour, click here. 


The Alamogordo Museum of History is home to one of the very few remaining original 47-star United States flags. To kick off Alamogordo’s Statehood Centennial celebration, the Tularosa Basin Historical Society is planning an event featuring the flag and including statehood music and a ceremony with speeches by dignitaries. 

Truth or Consequences

The construction of Elephant Butte Dam (1911-1916) is the most significant event in the history of Sierra County, and has been closed to traffic since 9/11/01. On Jan. 7, visitors will get a one-day opportunity to walk across the dam between 11 am and 3 pm as part of T or C’s Centennial celebration. The celebration begins at the Dam Site with a flag ceremony, speeches, music, food, and more. Vans will take visitors from the Dam Site recreation area to the dam overlook and will return visitors to the restaurant for a $10 buffet lunch (optional). The event is free; lunch tickets will be available the day of the event. 

Museums around the state have developed exhibitions focused on the Statehood Centennial. More information and opening dates are available on the website:

  • The New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe opens its 47 Stars installation on Jan. 6.
  • An exhibit at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell: Diamond of the Pecos, will look at the history and accomplishments of Roswell since its inception as a trading post in the Pecos Valley along the Goodnight-Loving Cattle trail in the 1860s.  The exhibit runs from January 6, 2012 through January 6, 2013.
  • The Farm and Ranch Museum in Las Cruces features “The Land of Enchantment: Commemorating the Centennial of New Mexico Statehood.”  The exhibit is an eclectic look at the last 100 years of New Mexico through historical photographs and artifacts. A collection of memorabilia items includes coins and license plates to a decorative decanter celebrating New Mexico’s 60th year (1972). There are about 100 license plates in the collection, dating back to 1912.  Photographs, objects and panels tell the story of New Mexico, and explain why it took 62 years to become a state.   The exhibit will be on display in the Museum’s Legacy and Traditions galleries through Sept. 16, 2012.

Events and times and subject to change.  For additional information on these and other New Mexico Centennial of Statehood events, visit www.nmcentennial.org or call 505-984-2012.

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