Planning started in 2003. From the outset, we saw this as a World’s Fair type of celebration, with grand events that could put Albuquerque on the map, have a lasting impact for the city, and renew citizens’ pride in their city. By the end the momentum and enthusiasm had drawn in hundreds of volunteers and sponsors for a series of events.
We had such ambitious efforts as the Education Project, which put history, lesson plans and teaching tools in the hands of hundreds of city teachers. The History Project made Albuquerque’s colorful history easily available on the Tricentennial Web site. Each of the first twelve months had a different theme and related activities, such as Visual Arts Month, Dance Month, Music Month and Science and Technology Month.
Among the high points of the year were an art exhibit of the Spanish masters at the Albuquerque Museum and the opera commissioned by the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. The Festival of Illumination grew brighter on Christmas Eve, 2005, when Albuquerqueans set out more than 8.2 million luminarias and lights.
Birthday weekend on April 22 and 23, 2006 had something for everyone – marathons, balloons, visits by the Duke and Duchess de Alburquerque of Spain, a two-day re-enactment of the original settlers’ arrival, a parade, an all-faiths service, music and food in Tricentennial Tiguex Park, an opera, and a giant birthday candle with cake.
The spirit of the Tricentennial will move forward. Historical information passed from the Tricentennial Web site to the Albuquerque Historical Society, and the Education Project will continue in the schools. A series of community conversations will describe what values we think are important. We expect the results to inform future planning decisions.
The Tricentennial will also live on in fond memories and the friendships of people who joined in various projects. The Tricentennial has been an illuminating experience for us all.
We thank the many people whose contributions were instrumental in making this celebration a success. The Albuquerque Historical Society is pleased to have been authorized to host the archive Tricentennial Matrix, Teacher Study Guides and Tricentennial Factoids.