Celebrate the Hummingbird at Annual Mimbres Festival


Did you know there are more than 300 species of hummingbirds alive today — and they're only found in the Americas? 

These are two of many facts people can learn at the annual Hummingbird Festival in Mimbres on Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30. 

It's a free family affair that takes place in one of the most picturesque regions of New Mexico, the Mimbres Valley near Silver City. 

An estimated 29 vendors will participate, including the Duck Stop food truck, and the organizers will be selling ice cream and hummingbird supplies. Most of the vendors are local artists and craftspeople, and local musicians will be performing throughout the 2-day festival.

"It's small but it's really nice," said Kathy Hill, an event organizer and volunteer with the Imogen F. Wilson Education Foundation in Mimbres Valley. She says they've been hosting the event for the past eight years, but the hummingbird festival itself dates back many more years.

Events take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30, starting at around 8 a.m. (although hardcore birders usually show up earlier). There will be opportunities for children to hold and study hummingbirds in the mornings, before temperatures get too hot. There will also be speakers and other children's activities.

"We try to do hands-on activities for kids," Hill said. 

The Starlight Theater, a local acting and comedy troupe, will put on a children's skit on Saturday. Organizers ask that visitors refrain from brining dogs into the vendor area, out of respect to the artists and sellers. (Service animals are an exception.)

At the event, guests can also tour the Mattocks Archeological Site, an important Native American settlement that dates back a thousand years. It once housed the Mimbres people, a sub-group of the Mogollon, known for their distinctive pottery designs and culture. 

The Imogen F. Wilson Education Foundation is a non-profit tasked with preserving the Mattocks site and two other historic areas in the Mimbres Valley. They're supported by the Grant County Community Foundation and other resources, including help from the community.

"We are all volunteers," Hill stresses. "The Hummingbird Festival is part of the Imogen Wilson Foundation, which is made up of all volunteers. We do this event, but the rest of the year, we do tours."

Hill says the organization feeds the hummingbirds in designated areas to attract them for the event, so visitors will get to see -- and photograph if they want -- a variety of species. Overall, she says, the event will offer something for people of all ages.

"We've come a long way," Hill said. "And I think everyone will enjoy seeing the place."

For more info, call (575) 536-3333 or visit www.mimbrescultureheritagesite.org