Damsite Day

Delight, adventure at the lake


Butte Lake’s Damsite Day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 18, is at the Damsite Historic District just 5 miles east of Truth or Consequences. Festivities include the annual Polar Bear Plunge at the marina, 20+ arts and crafts vendors, local food, displays and demonstrations by the Sierra County Rock and Gem Society, 1,000 luminaria, historic Damsite tours, and music. Admission is free.

The day kicks off with more than 20 vendors offering items such as one-of-a-kind art, punched tin art, jewelry, various fiber arts, botanicals, and more. Vendors will be housed in the 1940s-era casitas as well as rooms in the historic lodge. For those who enjoy jumping into the inviting waters of Elephant Butte Lake in February, sign up for the Polar Bear Plunge by calling Damsite at 575-894-2073, go to the Elephant Butte Historic District events page on Facebook, or simply show up. Free hot dogs for jumpers and watchers alike.

When you’ve thawed out, check out the minerals on display and rock tumbling demonstrations by the Sierra County Rock and Gem Society (SCRAGS). Posole, potato soup, and pastries will be on hand for purchase at the Geronimo Springs Museum booth, and Big Lou will sell kettle corn.

Throughout the day, free mini-tours will fill you in on the extensive history of the dam. For example, Elephant Butte got its name from a volcanic formation in the lake that resembles an elephant—your tour guide will point it out.  Also, the lake is New Mexico’s largest body of water, and the dam is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a tour and find out why.

From 5 pm to 8 p.m., stroll the grounds of the Historic District to ooh and ahh at 1,000 luminaria, accompanied by music from RGee Duo. Hot chocolate, hot dogs, and soft pretzels await at the Welcome Center.  

It’s a three-day Presidents Day weekend, so book your favorite soaking spot in T or C and be part of the dam festival.