MILAN – Hundreds of people stopped in Milan for its annual Fall Festival on Saturday.
The event included a car show, chile cook-off and lastly, the burning of Lummis, The Malpais Man, at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Marlene Toivanen won first place in the cook-off. Norma Jaramillo took second place.
Toivanen also placed in the salsa contest. Ann Marie Garcia won first and Toivanen took second.
It was Garcia’s first year joining the contest and Toivanen has participated since the festival began three years ago.
More than 20 cars and ten vendors were at Kearns’ Field. The vendors ranged from jewelry to horse rides. The cars ranged from modern muscle cars to oldies but goodies. George Knotts’ 1929 Model A Ford was the oldest at the festival.
However, only Tony Mace’s 1954 Ford Victoria was spitting out flames as he revved the engine.
“It’s great to come out and visit with residents,” said Mace, Undersheriff for the Cibola County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s always fun to mingle with all these car and truck lovers.”
Approximately 300 people withstood the cold brisk air and waited for the burning of Lummis, The El Malpais Man.
It was the sixteenth annual burning of the Lummis effigy.
Robert Gallegos, Cibola Arts Council director, started the cultural burning in Grants in 1996.
Gallegos is the creator of The Malpais Man. He recently published a book, which some say is written in the genre of magic realism, on the subject called “The Malpais Man” which is available for purchase at Rocky’s on Route 66, on Santa Fe Avenue in Grants.
Lummis, this year, stood more than 40-feet tall and he burned in perfect fashion, witnesses said. Flames made their way through his nose and eyes before his head collapsed toward the end of his life.
“He returned to his elements,” screamed the announcer as spectators clapped and whistled, “To the dirt and Malpais he has returned.”
The flames from the Malpais Man lit up Milan’s sky for miles. He smiled inside of flames as hundred watched him burn.
The burning, similar to Santa Fe’s Zozobra and Albuquerque South Valley’s Cucui, is about people’s dreams, according to Gallegos.
“People are encouraged to write down their dreams on a piece of paper,” explained Gallegos. “The messages burn with Lummis; hopefully one day becoming a reality.”
“I like the way Milan added carrots to the structure,” said Gallegos. “Everyone had done something throughout the years, and that is fine. He is what you want him to be.”
Val Roybal, Manuel Arellano and Francisco Ramirez built the 2012 Malpais Man.