Kiwanis historical walk returns to downtown Farmington this weekend

Re-enactors will portray notable characters from city's past

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — In much the same way that the annual Dining with the Dead fundraiser has become a highly anticipated, late-summer tradition in Farmington, Rio del Sol Kiwanis will present its second annual Downtown Farmington Historical Walk this weekend, complete with re-enactors who will portray some of the town's notable characters.

The event was held for the first time last year and became an instant success, quickly selling out. Joan Hamblen-Monninger, who is serving as the chairwoman for this year's version, said another sellout is expected this year, and she encouraged anyone interested in taking part to get their tickets quickly.

The event features walking guided tours of the downtown district, with various stops along the way, and takes approximately an hour. There are 10 stops in all, and at each location, a costumed re-enactor will greet the group and share information about the location or the person he or she is portraying.

Hamblen-Monninger said the event is designed to appeal to longtime residents and new folks alike. She said the walk will focus on downtown Farmington's past, present and future, with particular emphasis both on its historic features and the new investment that has been made in the district in the form of the recent Complete Streets renovation.

Scott Michlin portrays shop owner Alex Bowman during the 2021 Downtown Farmington Historical Walk.

The tour will call particular attention to the new gateway arches that have been constructed at both ends of Main Street through the district, which she said are a nod to similar arches that existed there in the early 1900s.

"There are a lot of things in the built environment of downtown that give clues about the past," she said.

The list of re-enactors includes Tom Taylor, who will reprise his role as former state lawmaker C.C. Mumma, and Roman McCabe, who will portray Jacob Morgan, the first elected chairman of the Navajo Nation. Judy Castleberry will portray pioneer Julia Ann Gould Miller.

"We're going to have a very fun event," Hamblen-Monninger said. "People are going to learn some things about our history that will make them feel proud of this community and its residents, the interesting folks who came out of here."

Tour guide Doug Dykeman leads a group on the Downtown Farmington Historical Walk during last year's inaugural event.

The tour will start at the Artifacts Gallery, where Robyn Woodard and Amber Swenk will be performing music, while the Bake Shoppe and Wines of the San Juan will be selling refreshments. The event also features an antique car show at nearby Orchard Park.

An antique car show near Orchard Plaza once again will be part of the Downtown Farmington Historical Walk taking place this weekend.

The Downtown Farmington Historical Walk takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 30. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Artifacts Gallery, 302 E. Main St., or Howard's Cleaners, 1601 N. Dustin Ave. in Farmington. Proceeds raised from the event will support Rio del Sol Kiwanis programs.

Nikki Taylor brings Fannie Paxton to life during this year's Downtown Farmington Historical Walk as she poses next to an image of Paxton.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.