21st annual Spanish Fiesta a huge success


By Rose Chavez | PREVIEW Columnist

If you weren’t down at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds the afternoon and evening of Saturday, July 29, along with several hundreds of others (we are estimating the crowd at more than 600 participants), then you missed out on the highly anticipated 21st annual Spanish Fiesta put on by the Spanish Fiesta committee of Archuleta Seniors Inc. (ASI). 

This group of more than 20 different families came together week after week for the last six months to rekindle the fondly remembered Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiestas after a 20-year hiatus from the community. 

According to one of the original fiesta leaders back in the day, Patricia Martinez Lopez, “The Spanish Fiesta was started in 1982 by Ms. Marquez, Lucy Gonzales and the Gallegos family (Stella and her sisters), then they were rained out. The next year, in 1983 when the oil field shut down in Grand Junction and I was laid off, I came home to Pagosa to start over and I took over the fiesta (because that’s how I was back then). 

“The reality is that all the credit for starting the fiesta goes to the first group of people who worked so hard only to have their efforts washed out by the rain.” 

Thank goodness this year we only had to deal with a short wind burst that lasted long enough to take down a few of the talented vendors set up at the Fiesta. The fiesta grounds opened at 2 p.m. and guests started arriving early to grab food, beverages and check out the vendors before the dance performances, which started sharply at 3 p.m. 

The emcees for the 21st annual Spanish Fiesta were Archuleta County Commissioner Veronica Medina and Ricardo Martinez, who facilitated the event in both English and Spanish. 

First on stage were a group of girls and women from Durango called Durango Ballet de Folklorico. They started off the afternoon with 45 minutes straight of dancing that reflected various regions throughout Mexico and then some modern dance takes. Up next on stage were past Spanish Fiesta royalty Toni Gallegos and Crystal Young, who are helping spearhead working with the community to shape the future royalty experience. All past royalty were acknowledged for their contributions and were asked to stand. 

The Spanish Fiesta Committee looks forward to reviving this important aspect of the event that involves youth and families in helping to sell tickets to the Fiesta as part of their royalty experience. Next on stage were local favorites Los Mitotitos, who continued the afternoon with high energy and music to get the crowd dancing and moving through the 5 o’clock hour. After a brief intermission, Dr. Frances Chavez, MD, took to the stage to share about her being one of the first recipients of a Spanish Fiesta scholarship in 1984. She shared about how the first-ever Spanish Fiesta scholarship was instrumental in her pursuing her dream to attend university and becoming a family physician so she could help her family. She reminded the crowd that part of the funds that were raised for the 21st annual Spanish Fiesta go toward supporting the Intergenerational Fiesta Hispanic and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) youth fund scholarship that will fund five $1,000 scholarships for Hispanic and BIPOC youth in Archuleta County in 2024. 

The evening continued with much jubilation when Al Hurricane Jr. took to the stage at 5:30 p.m. for his first set. The crowd was rocking and rolling with folks of all ages taking to the dance floor. Up next we had a group of local youth from Pagosa Springs dance folklorico before Hurricane and his band took to the stage for a second, then a third and final set when the evening wrapped up at 9:30 p.m. 

ASI is so grateful for all of our sponsors and volunteers. ASI and the Spanish Fiesta Committee look forward to bringing more cultural programming to the Pagosa community that celebrates the rich diversity of Archuleta County. If you are interested in being part of our Spanish Fiesta Committee, please contact Spanish Fiesta chair and ASI Executive Director Rose Chavez at (970) 264-2167 or rosa@psseniors.org.

Farmers Market vouchers

Farmers Market vouchers for seniors are available. 

If you love to shop at the Farmers Market, are 60 or older, or if you are 200 percent of poverty, please call Debbie at (970) 403-2164 at the Area Agency on Aging to put your name on the list for $50 in vouchers to redeem for local foods. 

Then, visit the Pagosa Farmers Market any Saturday during the growing season (June through September) to pick up your $50 voucher to support the local food artisans and growers in southwest Colorado and northern New Mexico. 

The Pagosa Farmers Market is located on the third row of the East Side Market and is open only on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through September. 

Senior conversations

Join us Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. for a series of “Senior Conversations” with local Bill Salmansohn. 

He will lead the group through mindfulness exercises and discussion of various topics pertaining to aging in Archuleta County. Explore and discover for yourself answers to your questions and concerns. 

The meeting will be held at the Pagosa Senior Center in the dining hall. Snacks will be provided.

Pagosa Springs
Scrapbooking Club

The Pagosa Springs Scrapbooking Club holds monthly meetings the second Saturday of each month at the Senior Center. 

It meets each month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to be creative, share ideas, connect with friends, learn new techniques, share supplies and indulge in a potluck lunch together. 

Bring your scrapbooking projects — or any crafting project that you may want to work on with the group. If you would like to be added to the mailing list to receive notifications each month of the upcoming meeting along with handy tips and tricks for scrapbooking, please send your request to copenhavercreative@gmail.com.

Share lunch Monday through Thursday

Join us at the Silver Fox’s Den, aka the Community Cafe, in person for daily hot/cold meals Mondays through Thursdays downtown at the Ross Aragon Community Center between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. It is open to all. Pickup is available all week, including Fridays. 

Our dining hall is open to all ages and welcomes you all with kindness and warmth. We provide hot/cold meals for anyone in the community interested in a nutritious and delicious meal. For those 60 or older we request a suggested donation of $10, but no one will be turned away. There is a $10 charge for guests under the age of 60. 

Meals include a main course, side dish, fruit/dessert, garden salad plus beverage. Some popular menu items include Frito chili pie, pork tenderloin with harvest chutney, Singaporean pork ribs, vegetarian lasagna, Hawaiian shrimp with coconut rice and always a beautiful green salad. Many of our items are locally sourced and organic. 

Our chef works with a team of local food professionals to hand-prepare your meal for dine-in service in our cozy dining room (with an amazing view of the San Juans) or for takeout (via our convenient drive-through). Our menu changes daily. 

To reserve your meal for the day, please make your reservation via text or phone call to (970) 264-2167 by 9 a.m. weekdays.

Community Cafe menu

Thursday, Aug. 3 — Barbecued chicken, creamed corn, southern biscuit, garden salad, milk, peach cobbler and fruit.

Friday, Aug. 4 — Minestrone soup with focaccia bread, garden salad, milk, vanilla pudding and fruit.

Monday, Aug. 7 — Teriyaki beef with peppers, jasmine rice, snow peas, garden salad, fruit and lemon-blueberry coffee cake.

Tuesday Aug. 8 — Tempeh chili, cornbread and honey, garden salad, chocolate eclair and milk.

Wednesday, Aug. 9 — Chicken carbonara with Alfredo sauce, garlic bread, garden salad, fruit and milk.

Thursday, Aug. 10 — Cod piccata, wilted spinach, focaccia bread, garden salad, fruit, Key lime slice and milk.

Friday, Aug. 11 — Pork posole, tortilla, roasted cauliflower, garden salad, fruit, mini churros and milk.

Grab-N-Go meals

Dine-in and Grab-N-Go meal reservations and cancellations are required. Please call or text by 9 a.m. the morning of the day you want to pick up a meal. A suggested donation of $10 helps to sustain our program. No one will be turned away for their inability to donate. For ages 59 and younger, the cost is $10 also. Please call or text us at (970) 264-2167 to make a reservation.

Meals on Wheels

We deliver fresh Meals on Wheels five days a week (and provide frozen Meals on Wheels for weekends) to homebound Archuleta County residents. Call or text us at (970) 264-2167.

Mobile food pantry
service discontinued

The Mobile Food Pantry Service has been discontinued due to funding shortages. Older adults needing a ride to a local food pantry should contact the MET to schedule a ride with their paratransit service. For more information, contact Lavonne at (970) 264-2250.

Text reservations

Don’t forget that we offer a convenient texting service for you to communicate with us. Text us at (970) 264-2167. When texting, please include your name, phone number and the days you want a meal. If you are canceling a reservation, please include your name, phone number and the days you want to cancel. 

Texting services are available for dine-in meal reservations, Grab-n-Go meals and Meals on Wheels recipients.

COVID-19 test
kits available

Stop by the Senior Center to pick up a pack of six free COVID-19 tests kits for your personal use. These kits are available to anyone in the public who needs affordable access for health promotion and disease prevention.

Medicare call by

For anyone who needs help enrolling and navigating Medicare plans, the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging helps with parts A, B and D. They can also help you with fraud concerns and troubleshooting any billing issues you may be having. By appointment only. Please call the Medicare line at (970) 264-0501, ext 4. 


The longest-played bridge game in Archuleta County takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:15 p.m. 

Bridge is a four-player card game with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. It is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. Come alone or bring a partner.

Hand and foot card game

Whether you are new to hand and foot or interested in learning, please join us most Thursdays at 1:15 at the Senior Center. 

This card game involves four rounds of playing until the final round is reached — some two to three hours later. Plan to stay and meet some new friends or catch up with those you have missed over the last couple of years. 

No experience is necessary, so come willing to learn. 

Donations requested

ASI has an immediate monetary need to support ongoing operations and programming that provide critical services to some of the most vulnerable in Archuleta County. Please consider donating. 

You may mail your donation to P.O. Box 3444, Pagosa Springs CO 81147 or please visit our website: http://www.psseniors.org/. Donation checks can be written to: Archuleta Seniors Inc. We are located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. 

For more information about ASI, please visit http://www.psseniors.org/.