Gila River Festival Extravaganza set for Saturday, September 21 in Gough Park, Silver City

For Immediate Release

September 16, 2019

Contact:        Allyson Siwik, Gila Conservation Coalition/Gila River Festival

                        575.538.8078 office; 575.590.7619 cell


Gila River Festival Extravaganza set for Saturday, September 21 in Gough Park, Silver City

The 15th Annual Gila River Festival hosts the Gila River Extravaganza on Saturday, September 21 from 4 – 10 pm in Gough Park in Silver City, New Mexico.  A celebration of New Mexico’s last wild river, the event features a variety of interactive, family friendly fun, including community art projects, photo booths, chill zone, time capsule, games, food, face painting, merchandise sales, music by Las Cruces –based Caliente and Bisbee’s Auld Lang Syne, the San Carlos Apache singers and dancers, and the Fort Sill Apache dancers with the Gooday Family. The event is free.

This year’s festival calls attention to the climate crisis and explores the future of the Gila River in relation to the changing climate, as well as our responsibility to act as responsible earth stewards.

The Gila River Extravaganza kicks off with a special Monsoon Puppet Theater Parade from 2:30 - 4pm, full of fun costumes, music, dance, and giant puppets! At 2:30 p.m., at the Murray Ryan Visitors Center, we’ll do mask making with all materials provided, and line up for the parade at 3:30. The parade will lead participants from the Murray Ryan Visitor Center to Gough Park where the party continues with more kid- and family-centered fun from 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm.

The Extravaganza features music and dance throughout the entire event. At 4pm, Bisbee-based Auld Lang Syne plays their lyrically incisive songs, firmly rooted in the earth, yet backed by arrangements that are utterly transcendent. Enjoy Timothy and Kathy’s earth-hymns to impermanence, accompanied by soaring instrumentation and intricate vocal harmonies. 

When the temperature starts to drop at 5:45 pm, we’ll kick up the heat with Caliente, a Las Cruces-based band that will get you moving with rock, Tejano, Cumbia and more!

At 7:45, Christian Pike of the San Carlos Apache will sing songs of the Nde, honor songs of the sacred waters of the Gila, and social songs bringing the people together to celebrate.

At 8:30 pm, the Fort Sill Apache Dancers with the Gooday Family will perform "the Dance of the Mountain Spirits." This dance is performed yearly and during other sacred occasions to drive away sickness and evil and bring good health and good fortune.

There will be several art projects at the Extravaganza. Brazilian artist-in-residence João Galera, who is in Silver City for one year in a cooperative program between WNMU and the Town of Silver City, will facilitate a community art project that represents the memory of places and people.  Silver City-based artist Zoe Wolfe will facilitate a temporary installation called Gila Wish. Other art projects include face painting, t-shirt painting, time capsule and more.

Art work by Silver City-based artist Tasha Cooper and Aldo Leopold Charter School students will welcome people to the Extravaganza through the Gough Park Ramada.

Participants can hang out with friends in the Chill Zone, play games, like Corn Hole, and take home an Extravaganza memory with photos from the Photo Booth.

Local organizations and businesses will have booths with information on how to make a difference as we confront the climate crisis, as well as engaging, interactive fun, such as Spin the Wheel – Eat a Bug! with the Upper Gila Watershed Alliance, build a model of the Gila watershed with the Silver City Museum, and interact with a native grey-banded kingsnake or a gophersnake with Advocates for Snake Preservation.

Burritos, sweet breads, refreshments, homemade ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, and paletas will be offered by La Bonita and The Mint Chip.

The 15th annual Gila River Festival provides an opportunity to learn more about the Gila River and the climate crisis through four days of presentations, field trips, workshops, community art projects, and more!

There are still spaces available for field trips and workshops. More information and registration at


Allyson Siwik