Main Street in Red River is more than 1,200 miles from Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but on February 20–25, downtown Red River throws down like Bourbon Street for six action-packed days and nights themed “50 Shades of Red.” For nearly 30 years, Red River has done its best to let the good times roll, Louisiana-style with krewes, parades, Balls, copious amounts of Cajun food and live music all over this fun little ski town.
Krewes in New Orleans—private organizations staging festivities during Mardi Gras—are known for trying to out-do each other. Krewes in Red River continue to grow and thrive with their “no rules,” “Un-Krewe” Krewes. Krewes participate in the parades, bead launching, Krewe Balls, contests and feasts in many of the local restaurants and waterholes in and around downtown.
The event begins on Thursday, February 20, 2020, with the Krewe Krawl and Glow Stick Parade on Main Street. The “Burning of the Tchoupitoulas”—a fictional character that serves as a mascot for Mardi Gras in the Mountains, pronounced “CHOP-ah-too-lus”—follows the foot parade and leads the Tchoupitoulas to his final moments, where gatherers write down their troubles and worries and toss them into the fire as the Tchoupitoulas burns. Once this is done, Mardi Gras can officially begin with the Party Krewe throwing the first Ball and Cajun Feast at the Motherlode. This Krewe is mostly locals with a few Texans and Coloradoans mixed in.
- Friday, February 21, 2020—the Drink Making Contest and Mardi Gras Ball
- Saturday, February 22, 2020—Mardi Gras Parade, Gator Plunge, and Grand Ball and Costume Contest, featuring the naming of the Rex
- Sunday, February 23, 2020—Children’s Ball and Ski De Face Krewe Ball
- Monday, February 24, 2020—Krewe De VooDoo & Krewe De Los Muertos Ball Fat Tuesday, February 25, 2020—is celebrated with the Pirate Krewe Ball
All the bars and restaurants are filled with live music nightly and additional Mardi Gras festivities.
The town of Red River lies on New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle. With a population of just under 500, the town is host to more than 350,000 visitors annually. This small town is big on family adventure year-round. Summers boast temperatures in the 70s and blue skies, as well as a huge motorcycle rally during Memorial Weekend, followed by parades, festivals, live music, fishing, hiking, OHVing, biking, ziplining, good old-fashioned fun and ending with oom-pah of a polka band at Oktoberfest. Skiing and Riding on lifts and runs that begin and end right in town is just the start to winter fun. Acres of snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, followed by a craft brew or mug of hot chocolate beside a crackling fire are just a sampling of what Red River winter has to offer. Every Saturday night during the ski season, you can catch a torchlight parade and fireworks. Live music fills the bars and restaurants nightly, so don’t forget your dancing shoes!