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LAS CRUCES - Las Cruces’ month-long celebration of its culture, history and environment that is Monuments to Main Street begins with a gala 4-9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, at Klein Park, 155 N. Mesquite St.
The event, which is free, will include live music by Nosotros, a newly written reenactment of the founding of Las Cruces, an Organ Mountains painting class and crafts, stagecoach and trolley rides, cook and storytelling intercambios (exchanges) and Mexican desserts by La Reyna Michoacana.
Monuments to Main Street continues with 64 events during the month of September throughout Las Cruces, Mesilla and Doña Ana County, including Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.
The original short play about the founding of Las Cruces was written for the Sept. 8 event by playwright/actor/teacher Monika Mojica. She is also featured in the cast, along with New Mexico State University Theatre Department Head Wil Kilroy, actors Nick Check and Teddy Aspen-Sanchez. NMSU Associate Director of Bands Steven Smyth and NMSU Director of Percussion Studies Fred Bugbee are also part of the program. The costumes were made by NMSU College Associate Professor/Resident Costume Designer Deb Brunson.
“The story takes us through some monumental historic moments as my son Luke works on a homework assignment,” Mojica said. “Luke (her son, played by Nick Check), is tasked with providing a presentation to elementary school students about the history of our area. His mother and father help him as he uncovers historic truths. The piece ends by paying homage to the living legends, the families that are still here and continue to inspire our region. This all ties in beautifully with the fact that the NMSU Pride Band is turning 100. It is a true labor of love and represents a lovely departmental collaboration with NMSU theatre and music departments.”
Now in its fourth year, Monuments to Main Street “continues to bolster tourism by highlighting Las Cruces’ greatest shows, exhibits and events to promote the city as an accessible, history-rich destination for outdoor recreation, local historic tours and arts and entertainment,” said Visit Las Cruces Director of Marketing Jamila Gilbert.
In November 2018, Visit Las Cruces was awarded the New Mexico Hospitality Association’s 2018 Top HAT Award for “Outstanding Attraction” for its marketing of M2M.
“The events consolidated into tributes to Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, our area’s historical and continued ties to Mexican tradition, New Mexico’s role in World War II testing, and our pre-historic history, including nature hikes that feature tracks from the Paleozoic era and so much more,” Gilbert said.
“We're super excited to help present a fun and educational 2019 Monuments to Main Street festival and Kick Off Fiesta,” said Jeff Steinborn, director of M2M sponsor New Mexico Wilderness Alliance Southern New Mexico. “M2M is all about celebrating our region's rich history, culture and protected public lands. I encourage everyone to take advantage of these great tours, hikes and fun festivals."
Klein Park is located within the Mesquite Historic District, comprising Las Cruces’ original townsite as founded in by Don Pablo Melendrez and plotted with stakes and rawhide ropes by Lt. Delos Bennett Sackett and U.S. Army surveyors in 1849. The park was named for four-time Las Cruces Mayor Sam Klein (1897-1953), who was in office in 1948 when the town of Las Cruces was designated as a city.
For more information, visit monuments2mainstreet.com.
Mike Cook may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.