San Juan College will hold annual luminarias display in drive-thru format

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — San Juan College still plans to glow in the darkness with its 42nd annual luminarias display, but in a drive-thru format only.

The route will begin at the intersection of Education Drive and Sunrise Parkway on the northwest end of the campus. 

Surrounded by individual luminarias, which are brown paper bags filled with sand that have candles pushed into the sand, vehicles will stream through that pathway before exiting the campus via College Boulevard.

“It’s just grown and grown over the years,” said Amanda Robles, SJC’s Director of Student Engagement and Campus Life. “When you enter on Sunrise Parkway to the campus, you will be guided through the campus by luminarias. The driving route will be marked, and all of the parking lots that are adjacent to the driving route will be full of thousands of luminarias each (side)… you’re driving with luminarias glistening on each side of you.”

Although the event will feature just 10,000 of the 25,000 luminarias, Robles said the luminarias event is among the college’s top traditions alongside graduation.

Robles also said it was important to provide some normalcy for families.

Luminarias will be lit at San Juan College in Farmington on Saturday, Dec. 5, starting at 6 p.m. as part of the school's annual display, but this year's celebration will be a drive-thru-only event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We really had to revamp and modify so many things, and everyone was so willing to do the extra mile to make sure that this happened,” Robles said.

The luminarias display will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday and will wrap up in the wee hours of Sunday morning when the candles burn out.

“Our health orders have changed over the course of the time, so we’re really just doing everything we can to abide by that… it was certainly a priority, but only if it could be done in a safe condition,” said SJC spokesperson Lucy Haber.

SJC also seeks volunteers to help organize the occasion at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday and help light the luminarias at 3 p.m. Saturday. 

Masks and gloves will be provided for the volunteer workers.

For more information on volunteering, call 505-566-3403 or email

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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