Hundreds of people gathered at North Domingo Baca Park on Saturday to mingle with friends and family, shop from local vendors, eat, and dance the night away during Heights Summerfest 2022. Heights Summerfest is the first of four Summerfests sponsored by the city this summer and the first to be held since 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s nice to be able to do this again,” one attendee said while walking near the booths set up by local vendors.
Dozens of businesses were selling a variety of products on the east side of the grass field, ranging from T-shirts and hats to popcorn and pastries. Le París Bakery out of Cedar Crest offered homemade tartes and other goodies while Mihwa Dawson brought her titanium jewelry from Santa Fe to sell at the festival. K and C Naturals out of San Acacia was selling Certified New Mexico True skin care products, and Born & Raised Clothing Co. had shirts and hats made with Zia symbols and alien abductee designs.
The Chamoy Bar was a popular hit with people waiting in line for watermelon or cucumber agua frescas and Tajín-covered gushers, among other sweet and spicy refreshments. Lines were even longer by the food trucks, where carne asada burritos and tacos were being sold by Blacxican Cocina and nachos offered by The Munchie Truck.
Kids could be seen running through the park with their faces painted as music blasted in the background. After a cool selection of songs were played by DK & The Affordables and then Felix y Los Gatos, Chillhouse with Hillary Smith took the stage. The band jammed out until the sun went behind the horizon, leaving a warm orange glow in the sky. The crowd began to settle on the grass eating and enjoying the night before the main headliner, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, took the stage.
The smell of marijuana drifted through the air by the time PHJB’s Branden Lewis stunned the crowd with his trumpet solo. A crowd of 40- to 50-something hipsters and jazz fanatics were dancing near the stage through the smoke as the band continued to blare out their funky tunes.
As the older hipsters cheered for one last song by PHJB, a crowd of teens meandered near the food trucks, including Stranger Things actor Alex Wagenman, who was spotted near the Papa Cano’s Woodfried Pizza truck. The 17-year-old La Cueva High School student plays the mean boy in season four of the Netflix hit series “Stranger Things.”
No mean boys or girls could be seen at the festival, although there were a few rowdy folks who could be heard making some noise after drinking a couple alcoholic beverages inside the beer garden. At around 10 p.m. the crowd began to disperse, ending the first of the city’s 2022 concert series Summerfests without a hitch.