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5th Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival & Balloon Fiesta this October

Hot Air Balloons and Indian Art at the Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival & Balloon Fiesta this October

The fifth annual Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival (AAIAF) will be hosted by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and 8. Running concurrently with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the AAIAF is the start of a week-long celebration of Pueblo art and culture at the center including more than 40 traditional Native dances over the course of the Balloon Fiesta, October 7 through 15.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center stated in a press release that the AAIAF is the the only authentic, all–Native American art show in Albuquerque during the Balloon Fiesta. IPCC visitors will be able meet, speak to, and shop directly from 50 carefully selected Native artists. The festival showcases high-quality, handcrafted Indigenous crafts including jewelry, pottery, paintings, rugs, and sculptures.

An art vendor at the Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival.Courtesy IPCC

An art vendor at the Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival.

Visitors to the IPCC during Balloon Fiesta will experience a full schedule of traditional Native dances in the mural-lined courtyard by a dozen different Pueblo dance groups including the White Eagle Dance Group of Zuni Pueblo, the Sky City Buffalo Ram Dance Group of Acoma Pueblo, and the Oak Canyon Dancers of Jemez Pueblo. Native artists will offer their creations at vendor booths in the courtyard daily, and staff and docents will be available to enrich visitors’ self-guided tours in the museum.

“Pueblo hospitality is at the heart of everything we do here at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, so we’re thrilled for the opportunity to welcome visitors from near and far and provide an incredible cultural experience,” Museum Director Monique Fragua (Jemez Pueblo) said in the press release. “From authentic Native art and jewelry and traditional dances held in our courtyard to our engaging museum exhibits—we have something for everyone.”

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center was founded by the 19 Pueblo Indian Tribes of New Mexico; their mission is to “to preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture and to advance understanding by presenting with dignity and respect the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo people of New Mexico.”

Fontenelle Family Dancers (Zuni, Omaha, Cheyenne.)Courtesy IPCC

Fontenelle Family Dancers (Zuni, Omaha, Cheyenne.)

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The IPCC’s museum exhibits offer hours of cultural engagement, from the permanent exhibit “We Are of This Place: The Pueblo Story,” to rotating temporary exhibits in the South Gallery that delve deeper into specific aspects of Pueblo life. Visitors are able to explore interactive galleries to learn about the history and living traditions of Pueblo people as told from their own Indigenous perspective. Meanwhile the Artists Circle Gallery will be showcasing Meditations on the Journey, a vibrant new solo show by mixed media painter Felix Vigil (Jemez Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache).

Visitors can complete their immersion in Pueblo culture with “New Native American” Cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the on-site Pueblo Harvest Cafe, whose award-winning culinary team is popular year-round for such specialties as Blue Corn Piñon Pancakes, Tewa Tacos on frybread, and the Pueblo Feast’s array of stews, breads, and more. The restaurant’s fall menu will be in effect come October, with seasonal ingredients like bison in a suite of newly-imagined dishes. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Party on the Patio will go into full swing with live bands and a buffet of unlimited fresh horno-baked pizza. The party starts at 6 pm each night with a $10 cover.

Southern Slam Dancers (Zia Pueblo.)Courtesy IPCC

A Zia Pueblo Southern Slam Dancer in a ribbon shawl.

The IPCC is located at 2401 12th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104. Admission to the 5th Annual Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival and the week’s special cultural events are all included in normal IPCC admission:

Members: Free
Adults: $8.40
Seniors (62 & over): $6.40
Military (Active & Retired): $6.40
New Mexico Residents: $6.40
Students/Children (ages 5-17): $5.40
Children under 5: Free
Groups (15 or more): $5.40

To learn more, please visit the IPCC website and Facebook page.

Follow ICTMN Correspondent Lisa J. Ellwood on Twitter at