Patagonia, AZ is a hamlet of a little over 800 people situated in the valley grasslands near the Patagonia Mountains. It was officially founded by a Pennsylvanian Rollin Richardson in 1896. He'd made his fortune in oil Back East and bought the San Rafael de la Zanja land grant in 1880. Three years later Rollin went into business with some friends as the San Rafael Cattle Company. They were a big deal back in the day. Rollin originally named the town after himself, but residents weren't impressed with that bit of ego. In 1899 they petitioned the Postmaster General for a post office, and decided it was the opportune time to change the town's name to Patagonia, after the beautiful mountains that dominate the valley. The name stuck.
Like most places in this part of Arizona, Patagonia's heyday was a ways back. The railroad, mining, and cattle businesses have disappeared over time. It's now a quaint village with an expansive town square in the middle of it, flanked by restaurants, antique and artisan shops. It's not too far from Nogales, that famous or infamous border town. Today the little town was celebrating its annual Fall Festival with 125 vendors of every type. The weather was perfect with blue skies, 75 degrees, and no wind. It was a good day to skip out on household chores and go have some fun.
First--the food. I wish Blogger had a scratch and sniff button because it was wonderful. Roasting chilies, fresh kettle corn, Apache fry bread, grilled corn, burgers. And that's just a sample of what was happening in festival cuisine.We started off with a sarsaparilla because after that hour long ride we'd built up a thirst.
Second--the music. The Busted Cowboys performed in the turn-of-the-century bandstand. They entertained us with old time western swing and bluegrass. The brochure tells me they were originally The Harper Brothers and had a 40s radio show. It was a footstomping good time and the brothers obviously still love to perform.
Third--the vendors. This is a real western flavored arts and crafts show as you can see by the pictures below. Where else can you buy antler bowls and tortilla warmers? It was fascinating to watch the lady spin Alpaca wool into yarn. The Alpacas are lovely, quiet creatures who seemed unbothered by the crowds. I especially admired one of the artists whose drawings are done in No. 2 pencil. He captures the texture and motion of horses, leather, and cowboys effortlessly in his pencil strokes.If you'd like to see his artwork go to www.glenpowellart.com. My husband quickly dragged me out of that booth. Drawn by the smell of roasting chilies, we visited the Gutierrez Farms booth with red riestras dangling from ropes on racks. The red chili decorations are a traditional southwest welcome at the front door. There's now a new riestra hanging by the front door at Casa Wallace.
Fourth--the friends. While eating lunch we starting talking with a couple at the table and found out they live just down the road from friends we'd seen this morning. It's always fun meeting new people and finding out why they left the East for the West. The wife was originally from Albany so we congratulated ourselves at escaping the winters of New York. Then we met up with a group of friends from Sierra Vista who were playing hooky today too. We enjoyed catching up on the latest news for a few minutes and then it was time to call it a day. I wonder what we can do to get out of those weekend chores next Saturday.......
|Spinning Alpaca Yarn|
|Colorful Alpaca Yarn|
|Roasting the Chilies|
|Bags and Pots|