Your guide to celebrating the holidays in Farmington, from Christmas parades to light displays

Christmas Parade, San Juan College Luminarias display also planned

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • Riverglo takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3 in Berg Park.
  • The Farmington Christmas Parade gets started at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2 in downtown Farmington.
  • The San Juan College Luminarias display takes place the evening of Saturday, Dec. 4.

FARMINGTON — The holiday season kicks into high gear in San Juan County this week with several Christmas-related events planned, including the much-anticipated return of the annual Riverglo event in Berg Park.

Presented by the nonprofit River Reach Foundation, Riverglo was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That will make this year's event a special one, according to D'Ann Waters, the organization's president.

"We're excited about it after missing (last year)," she said.

The free event, which takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3 in Berg Park, 400 Scott Ave. in Farmington, features live music, refreshments, a Nativity scene, Santa Claus and the Grinch, as well as approximately 2,000 luminarias that will line the paths adjoining the Animas River from Archway Court to the Courtyard by Marriott. Waters said students from Hermosa Middle School in Farmington would help with the set-up for the event by filling bags with sand during the day on Friday while enjoying a free pizza lunch for their efforts.

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A crowd gathers around a fire pit during Riverglo in Farmington's Berg Park on Dec. 6, 2019. The event returns this year on Friday, Dec. 3.

A variety of musical groups will perform during the event. Groups from Hermosa and Farmington High School will be featured at the Archway Court, while the Little Pavilion will play host to a group from Country Club Elementary School and pianist Sheldon Pickering. The Courtyard by Marriott will welcome a group from Piedra Vista High School and the Caliente Community Choir.

Hot chocolate, hot apple cider, popcorn and holiday trinkets will be sold at the River Reach Terrace.

Waters said the River Reach Foundation has been promoting the event heavily on social media, and she is hoping a large crowd shows up to enjoy the celebration after the one-year hiatus.

"There have been a lot of inquiries, so I think we will have a fairly good turnout," she said, adding that the weather is expected to be very mild for early December. "It should be a really lovely evening."

The holiday festivities get underway this week with the opening of the annual Festival of Trees throughout the day on Thursday, Dec. 2. Several businesses lining Main Street in downtown Farmington will play host to the decorated trees, which will be presented to the winners of an online raffle when the festival ends on Dec. 12.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, the annual Farmington tree-lighting ceremony will be held on the lawn of the Farmington Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington St. That will be followed by the Farmington Christmas Parade, presented by the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, along Main Street through downtown.

Luminarias line a trail through Berg Park during Riverglo on Dec. 6, 2019, in Farmington.

The celebrations continue on Thursday with a semester-ending concert by the San Juan College Jazz Ensembles at 7 p.m. in the Connie Gotsch Theatre on the college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington. The Jazz Combo will be featured on such standards as "Jordu, Recordame, Cherokee" by Ray Noble and "Au Privave" by Charlie Parker. The Big Band also will perform, with trumpeter John Patton featured on "Blue" and trombonist Sam Bader spotlighted on "Blue Bossa." The group also will perform "Lil' Darlin" and "Grazing in the Grass."

Tickets are $8 for adults, and $6 for students and seniors. They can be purchased in advance at the San Juan College Bookstore or at the door on the night of the concert. They also can be purchased online at under the "Events" header. Local music students may attend the concert for free by presenting their student ID card at the door and providing the name of their school and music teacher. Masks are required for everyone who attends.

Christmas in Farmington:Festival of Trees in Farmington returns with live events in December

A full day of activities is planned Saturday, Dec. 4. The festivities begin with the Salmon Ruins Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at McGee Park, 41 County Road 5568 between Farmington and Bloomfield. Admission is $1, free for children 12 and younger.

The Farmington Recreation Center, 1101 Fairgrounds Road, presents its annual holiday open house, Jingle and Mingle, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. The free event features games, refreshments and holiday characters.

San Juan College will present simultaneous holiday events Saturday evening. The college's annual luminarias display opens for walkers at 5 p.m. and drivers at 6 p.m. The event features thousands of luminarias lining the college's rooftops, sidewalks and other structures while all the lights on campus are turned off. Drivers are asked to enter the campus from Sunrise Parkway and turn off their lights while driving through the campus.

Calendar of events:Things to do in Farmington for the holidays

Astronomy professor David Mayeux will lead the free AstroSaturday Luminaria Stargaze from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday outside the Planetarium. If weather permits, Mayeux will offer visitors the chance to peek through telescopes to view Saturn and Jupiter, as well as the Andromeda Galaxy, the E.T. Cluster, the Great Nebula in Orion and the Double Cluster in Perseus.

The weekend's festivities will wrap up on Sunday, Dec. 5 with a pair of concerts by the Bar D Wranglers at the First Baptist Church of Aztec, 700 Navajo Ave., at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The legendary Colorado group will provide a holiday twist to its usual menu of cowboy songs and humor. Concert goers will have the chance to meet the group and enjoy cookies, coffee and hot chocolate after each show. Admission is free, but seats must be reserved in person at the church office.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription.