It's the month for big annual events in Silver City, from bikes to the blues. The Tour of the Gila will race in and around town May 1-5, starting with the grueling Silver City to Mogollon race. It doesn't get much easier after that, with the Fort Bayard Loop on Thursday and Tyrone Time Trials on Friday. Then Saturday the action moves downtown, for the Downtown Criterium and Citizens' Races, along with the Downtown Expo featuring a kids' zone, beer garden and live music. Finally, Sunday it's the—well, we've exhausted our synonyms for "grueling" — Gila Monster Road Race. The whole area will be humming with the whirr of bicycle wheels and the blur of colorfully clad riders all week.
Later in the month, it's the blues we'll all be humming, as the 18th annual Silver City Blues Festival brings 10 outstanding acts to Gough Park and the Buffalo Dance Hall, May 24-26. This year's headliners include Tommy Castro & the Painkillers on Saturday and Corey Harris & the Rasta Blues Experience on Sunday. Other performers on Saturday will be Austin Jimmy Murphy, Bob Andrews, Felix y Los Gatos and Mississippi Heat. Sunday will feature The OverSouls, Chris Dracup & Hillary Smith, and Maria Muldaur (yes, that Maria Muldaur) & the Red Hot Bluesiana Band. That's all at Gough Park and all free. Two $12 ticketed events at the Dance Hall add to the blues experience: a Friday evening Kick-Off Dance hosted by The Memphis P-Tails from Albuquerque, and a Saturday night Festival Musicians Jam, facilitated by Chris Dracup and Hillary Smith. For a complete schedule with times, see page 29 in this issue.
But don't let those annual blockbusters cause you to overlook some of this month's other must-not-miss events. If you're looking for more music, for example, on May 10 and 12 the Hi Lo Silvers present their free spring concerts at the First Presbyterian Church in Silver City, featuring old favorites and songs from Broadway and film. Then the New Mexico Music Series continues on May 17 at the Buckhorn Opera House in Pinos Altos with Jerry Joseph and Walter Salas Humara plus Steve Drizos. The next day, May 18, the Grant County Community Concert Association presents the Phoenix Boys Choir. The 29-member choir showcases a diverse selection of both sacred and secular music ranging from Bach and Britten to Broadway. This special extra event is at the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theater.
If this is May, it must be Cinco de Mayo, which Deming celebrates a day early, May 4, at Voiers Pit Park. In Silver City, May 5 is the inaugural 5 de Mayo Tardeada, featuring food vendors and live music, sponsored by the Grant County Chicano Music Project and Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber.
May also means gardening and growing time. In Las Cruces, May 4 is the 18th Annual Las Cruces Tour of Gardens; see the listing in this month's calendar for ticket info. It's also the annual Spring Plant Sale at the Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, featuring a variety of herbs, vegetables and flowers all grown in the museum's greenhouse. Then May 5 the weekly Sunday Growers' Market returns at Mountain View Market, featuring fresh produce, locally roasted coffee, water-wise desert plants, sustainable crafts and more.
The Silver City Farmers' Market kicks off on Saturday, May 11, at Mainstreet Plaza off Bullard and 7th. And lovers of native plants will want to tag along with the Gila Native Plant Society on May 19 on a field trip to Railroad Canyon in the Black Range. Meet at 8 a.m. in the south parking lot of the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theater.
This month marks the 15th anniversary of the return of the Mexican gray wolf to the Gila, which lobo lovers will celebrate on May 19 at Little Walnut East Picnic Area in Silver City. The free Happy Birthday Lobos event features music, kids' activities, cake, sodas and guest speaker Dave Parsons.
And May also brings the annual Free Comic Book Day, which this May 4 will be celebrated at both the Bayard and Silver City public libraries. (We know where we'll be that day! After, of course, seeing Iron Man 3, which starts the summer movie season on Friday, May 3.)