Big bucks for art – and big fun at the Buckaroo Ball

SANTA FE, NM – The Buckaroo Ball lives, thanks to gala chairwoman Fiddle Kirk.
Folk Art Market Preview Opening Night

After 37 years of connubial bliss, my husband threw me a surprising curve! He gave his Folk Art Market Preview ticket to our daughter-in-law, to accompany me, to take his place! He said he already owns everything he wants! Not me! Not her! We’re always ready for the treasure hunt and this is a world shopping tour compressed into one little ecosphere on Museum Hill, where the best of the best International Folk Art has been selected and collected in one place.

The Opening Night Preview Party quickly sold out, at $225 a ticket, to 1,700 patrons clamoring for first chance and a good look at the dazzling array of blue ribbon merchandise from all around the world. This night is a chance to avoid the big crowds, when you can actually see what is in the booths, touch the merchandise, try on a jacket or a necklace, or a hat, and hold a painting up to the light, chat with the artist.

This is not the Marrakech Souk, madam, where you sift through good quality and bad. There’s no bad here, or fair, or good … only excellent. This is a juried show. They can’t just sign up for a booth. No, their work must compete for a coveted place in this show … all handmade items by local craftsmen, all beautiful, all exquisitely made.

From pottery to baskets, ikat to indigo, these are considered by museum judges to be the supreme examples in the world, with only a short window of opportunity to purchase – two days and an evening in Santa Fe, 21 hours of sales. It may be your only chance ever to buy these things – new artisans will come next year, from other places, with different wares. So snap it up! Now or never!

Clare Hertel from the Folk Art Alliance told me it’s not just about the sales, or the money (although the 90 percent the artists take back home sure goes a long way toward improving their lives in underdeveloped countries). It’s the camaraderie and the networking, the education and business training, and the L-O-V-E that are promoted here that will change the world, through art.

The whole event is art! The ambiance is eye candy – 22,000 flowers decorated Museum Hill, while dancers and musicians on stage from many world cultures, as excellent as the goods on the tables, vied with the vendors for your attention.

Pale green apple vodka libations flowed on Friday night – wheeew! – and specialty foods from various cultures. But who wants to stand in line for food when being offered such a fabulous shopping opportunity? With 173 artists from 57 countries to check out and only four hours, who can think of eating? These four hours generated over $700,000 of the weekend’s total $3 million in revenue, maybe Santa Fe’s biggest fundraiser of the year. And fun raiser.

21st Buckaroo Ball

Every year they say it and, so far, every next year it’s turned out not to be true: “This is going to be the LAST Buckaroo Ball.” They say there’s no one willing to chair it; that it doesn’t make the big bucks it used to; and it’s too much hard work and with not enough worker bees on the committee.

So, every year, the struggle to decide … do we keep going? Yet, like the phoenix, every year, it rises again with a big cowboy gala. The party this year was a huge success.

They sold out. Nearly 300 fringed and Stetsoned supporters came out to Las Campanas for the gourmet barbecue dinner and high-end merchandise in the auctions. The music was top notch and set a very festive atmosphere, with lots of folks western dancing to the fabulous Buckettes,

The question of the evening, “What are THEY doing here?”, referring to the gaggle of uniformed policemen stationed throughout the party “for our safety,” made for a jolly ambiance, you can be sure. One bon vivant said she was going to copy the idea at her next fun party. “It will help save so much on the booze bill!” she said.

In spite of the crowd of cold sober husbands, enough revenue came in to serve a LOT of desperate and hurting people. The $35,000 raised will be distributed among four serious charities in town: the Esperanza Battered Families Shelter; Youth Shelters; Gerard’s House. which helps children deal with a death in the family; and the Adelante child advocacy center.

I heard they’re already planning for the 22nd … yee haw!

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email


The Buckaroo Ball lives, thanks to gala chairwoman Fiddle Kirk.


Alan and Cindy Austin enjoy the Buckaroo Ball.


John and Gloria Silver flash smiles at the Buckaroo Ball.


Linda Cohen, Katie Gordon and Margo Rebel were decked out for the Buckaroo Ball.


Toasting the Buckaroo Ball were Randy Felker, Barbara Stromquest, Rosemary Rowell and Dennis Pep.


Rachel Goodman and KarenWolfe Mattison get close at the Folk Art Market’s opening night.


Rejoice Macbudafhasi and Leonor Mashiyi came from South Africa for the Folk Art Market.


Jose Ramon Lopez was artfully attired for opening night at the Folk Art Market.


Leah Seigal and Sheila Ellis ran the Best of the Best booth.


Lexie Shabel, Sparrow Campbell and Anne Wrinkle gathered at the Folk Art Market preview.


Peggy Gaustad greets former state Cultural Affairs chief Stuart Ashman at the Folk Art Market event.


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