ALBUQUERQUE NM- No one knows what the actual temperatures will be on the weekend of September 15th and 16th, but we do know the level of heat will be high at two major events in Albuquerque that weekend when back-to-back events featuring chiles will take place.

First in the 'hottest weekend' events is the highly popular and FREE Old Town Salsa Fiesta on Saturday, September 15th. Featuring a highly competitive Homemade Salsa contest, live salsa music and dance, and fun activities for kids, the Salsa Fiesta draws thousands of visitors to the Old Town area each year.

The event kicks off at 1 p.m. as entrants in the Homemade Salsa Competition begin preparing their secret recipes. The aroma of cooking chile will draw in the crowd to watch the preparations. Salsa tasting will take place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Visitors may purchase a wristband for $5 that allows them to taste as many of the homemade salsas as they want, then vote for their favorite. The top three winners receive cash awards.

Live salsa music on the Plaza will include performances by Mala Maña, Havana Son Cuban Salsa, Charanga Del Valle, and En-Joy Salsa Band. The 11-piece 'salsa dura' sensation La Excelencia will close the event. Salsa dancing to 'hot' music will be a great way to spend the day.

Visitors to the event are encouraged to take public transportation to take in all of the events of the afternoon and evening, which will include the opportunity to shop and dine in historic Old Town.
Old Town, New Fun, a program that presents many events in Old Town and works year-round to support the continued success of Albuquerque's historic treasure, is part of the Cultural Service Department, City of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, Mayor. For more information on this or other events, please call 311 or visit TTY users call 711.

On Sunday, September 16th from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. the first ever Sandia Green Chile Festival will be held at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum. Presented by O'Hare Serna Farms and the Balloon Museum, the event is a celebration of New Mexico's famous green chile industry. O'Hare Serna Farms, a local chile farm located near Peralta, is actively engaged in supporting the return to a completely localized market for green chile.

In the past few years the chile growers of New Mexico have faced significant out-of-state and international competition, and this event is designed to engage the public in the revitalization of the local chile market. Featured entertainment includes the Squash Blossom Boys, Felix & Los Gatos, JezzLaWeez, the Buckarettes, Le Chat Lunatique and more. With educational presentations by experts, the event will combine entertainment and learning opportunities in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

Purchase the best of the best, fresh roasted green chile here! A number of local vendors will offer delicious chile-themed food, with local breweries offering a variety of micro-brewed beers. Cooking demonstrations and chile roasting will add to the experience. A KidsZone with face painting and inflatable jumpers will be part of the fun, as will interactive exhibits on farming, chile and farm-to-table eating.

Inside the Balloon Museum will be educational programming and the opportunity to tour the entire museum and enjoy the many fascinating exhibits on display.

Tickets are only $7 per person (includes admission to the Museum) for a great afternoon of entertainment and focus on famous New Mexico green chiles. Children 12 and under attend at no charge. Tickets are available at the door.

The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is a division of the Cultural Services Department, City of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, Mayor. Located at 9201 Balloon Museum Drive NE just south of Balloon Fiesta Park (North of Alameda), the Balloon Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round (closed Mondays).

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