Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood will host a Pirate & Viking Summer Bash Aug. 20 and 21.
Event organizer Eric Vigil said he’s trying to bring bigger events to New Mexico using a Renaissance Fair theme.
“Renaissance festivals and pirate festivals have been going on around the country for about 30-something, almost 40 years,” Vigil said. “New Mexico has had these events, but not as big or grand as other states.”
Vigil’s last event at Wildlife West, in March, brought 8,000 people through the gates of the park, and raised about $9,500 for the venue, he said. The group’s estimate had been 3,000 people.
“What I’m trying to do is bring all of the different cultures during the renaissance era,” he said.
While some might call it cosplay, he calls it “celebration of being a nerd.”
People attending the event don’t have to wear a costume, but it adds to the fun, Vigil said. “Everyone dresses up in costumes at Halloween. Why not other days of the year? Everybody loves dressing up. This is the same thing, just bigger kids.”
Advance tickets are available online and are cheaper than gate prices, he said. For a 20% discount on adult day passes, use the coupon code ABQ.
A few notes Vigil mentioned: Only service animals are allowed at the park, not pets. An ATM will not be available onsite.
The event runs from 12 to 9 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
It features five stages in five taverns and 26 performances; “real live mermaids”; storytellers, sword dancing, more than 80 vendors, including crafts, beer and food; games; axe throwing; mermaid dunk tank; water balloon fight and cooling station; and more.
Kids 17 and under are free with an adult, limited to three kids per adult. Parking is also free.
The Festival includes a quest, in which participants gather treasure, solve puzzles and face a series of challenges. The quest requires separate tickets, which are redeemed at the “Time Travelers Trading Post.” The quest will be the same both days. Organizers recommend starting the quest no later than 2 p.m. to finish before the event ends.
Vigil launched his business in 2018 after doing volunteer work for similar events. The inaugural event was set for March, 2020.
In 2021, Vigil tried again. “You could go to a shopping mall, but not to an outdoor event,” he said. A few small events in Albuquerque were on the way to the Celtic Renaissance Festival in March at Wildlife West.
Edgewood has “room to grow” this event, and Vigil loves Wildlife West as a venue, in part because the money the park gets helps maintain its population of rescued New Mexico wildlife.
“Edgewood is a small community, and it’s a humble community,” Vigil said. “And Wildlife West Nature Park is a gem for Edgewood.”
Vigil’s events attract people from around the country, and he said that in March Edgewood’s hotel was booked, with overflow heading into Moriarty to book rooms.
“We chose Edgewood because Edgewood is a small enough community that there’s space to grow, and [visitors] will be able to see an area of New Mexico that maybe they don’t know.”