Since the first Summerfest came to Civic Plaza in 1980, the city wide event has returned each year featuring free community events, children’s activities, an artisan market full of handcrafted goods, and discounts from local businesses.
From their Summerfest has only grown in size with now four local Summerfest events widespread across Albuquerque. The first of the events kicked off on June 9 with Heights Summerfest located in North Domingo Baca Park. Still three more events have yet to come with Route 66’s Summerfest located in Nob Hill on July 21, Downtown Summerfest located on Civic Plaza August 4 and Westside Summerfest at the Cottonwood Mall on August 18.
“The goal of the event series is to offer free, family-friendly safe events for the community,” said Bree Ortiz, Events and Operations Manager with the city of Albuquerque, Cultural Services Department.
A large part of summerfest includes music from performers who are both national and local. One performer is Grammy Award-winning singer, Irma Thomas who will be the headliner for Route 66’s Summerfest.
“For the national acts, we work with talent agencies to get an artist within our budget that is available at the time of the event,” Ortiz said. “For the local artists, we have most bands reaching out to us for an opportunity to perform.”
With hundreds of local businesses involved in each of the Summerfest events attendees can expect artisans, food trucks, and breweries at the event. Additionally, each Summerfest will have its own unique atmosphere such as Route 66’s Summerfest which will be showcased on the streets of Nob Hill.
This allows for attendees of the event to support local businesses while enjoying the outdoors and other events offered. With this, all of the Summerfest events are different and continue to be a quality event series that the community can look forward to, Ortiz said.
“This series had grown and evolved over the years by taking best practices and current desires into consideration,” she said.
Owner of Nob Hill Bar and Grill, Nicole Kapnison describes Summerfest as an event that truly supports local. This done through local food, local drinks, local art,and local talent., she said
Her business has been part of Summerfest for as long as she can remember, Kapnison said.
“It (Route 66’s Summerfest) really is the best summerfest in the city because it incorporates so many local businesses,” Kapnison said. “It’s rare that we get to shut down central and set up a party in the middle of the streets. It’s a great event for family and friends and great for the local economy.”
Anything that drives business away from large chains, even only for a night to Nob Hill and historic Route 66 is something Nob Hill Bar and Grill loves to be a part of, Kapnison said.
As a local business owner herself Kapnison emphasizes the importance of local business as they are what keep Albuquerque alive and flourishing, she said.
“Events like this, where almost all the businesses are local, give us all a chance to showcase our hard work, talent, and dedication to the city,” Kapnison said.
Kapnison hopes this year’s Summerfest will be bigger and better than ever as past Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) construction has caused many to avoid downtown Albuquerque, she said.
However with the upcoming Summerfest stretching down Nob Hill, Kapnison urges attendees to come and enjoy the event while drinking responsibly, taking Uber or Lyft, and spending their your local dollars on Route 66. “Construction is over, the streets are beautiful, and we want people to remember that supporting local is what drives our economy,” Kapnison said.