This Is Albuquerque: Rio Grande Arts And Crafts Festivals

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Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festivals
Spring Show
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In March of 1989, the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival began with one small art show at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. The idea for the show came about as founder, Ruth Gore, looked for an entrepreneurial opportunity that would allow her to stay home with her two young daughters, Emily and Liz, while still earning an income. Living in the Dallas area at the time, she decided to exhibit in local arts and crafts festivals, and began exploring the shows and application processes. Gore, who had a background in art and was working as a reading specialist, instead became intrigued with the idea of organizing her own festival, though she had yet to try her hand at planning a major event. After a move back to Albuquerque, the ball started rolling and has never stopped! Ruth recruited 130 artists and craftsmen to exhibit in the first annual event 28 years ago. Her husband, Chester, fired up several BBQ grills outside the door and engaged the help of family and friends to cook some of the best burgers ever made at the state fairgrounds. A good time was had by all, not a lot of money was made by anyone, but everything was onward and upward from that first (slightly chaotic) festival.

Time and experience have since made their impact, and the Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival Spring Show has flourished into one of the highest ranking shows in the national arts scene. Artists who were there for that first show (a few are still involved today) reminisce fondly about the 1st annual Spring Show, musing, “Things have come a long way!” The quality and variety of work have evolved significantly, and patrons continue to come back with family and friends to shop the artwork, listen to live music and visit with artists. Ruth and Chester and her team, nicknamed ‘the Ls’, (Leslie, Liz, Laurette and Lucy) now run three separate Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festivals in Albuquerque, and their girls have grown up. To keep the tradition alive, daughter Liz Gore, joined the Rio Grande team five years ago, and promotes her own festival in Denver. The 4th Annual Cheesman Park Artfest will be held July 30 and 31 this year. For more info visit

Experience the Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festivals for yourself! The 28th Annual Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival Spring Show takes place March 11-13, 2016, at Expo New Mexico. Rio Grande’s Balloon Fiesta Show will be held Sept. 30–Oct. 2 and Oct. 7–9, in the big tent at the Racetrack Infield at Expo NM; Rio Grande’s Holiday Show is Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 25-27, 2016, at Expo NM. Visit for details.

Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festivals

Ruth Gore

Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festivals

The Festival in 1989

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