Town to celebrate 36th Annual Marfa Lights Festival this weekend

The annual Marfa Lights Festival will take place this weekend from Friday to Sunday, complete with the customary parade, vendors, food and music the event is known for. Photo courtesy of the Marfa Chamber of Commerce.

MARFA — The Marfa Lights Festival, a beloved local event now in its 36th year, will take place this weekend from Friday to Sunday centered around its customary location, the Presidio County Courthouse. 

Food vendors, shops and local organizations will be tabling on the streets lining the courthouse lawn starting noon Friday, and a variety of musical acts will take the stage on Friday and Saturday. There will also be a parade, 5K run benefiting Marfa ISD Athletics, performance by Ballet Folklórico and a Marfa Live Arts play.

The 5K stampede will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, taking off from the golf course and ending at the courthouse. The entry fee is $30. 

The spirited small town parade — which often features Shorthorn class reunion floats, school mascot Bullette, athletic teams, local first responders, businesses and more — will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Marfa Elementary and make its usual route toward and down Highland Avenue. This year’s grand marshals are the Blackwell School alumni. 

Abby Boyd, president of the Marfa Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the three-day affair, said they were looking forward to welcoming the community back for the festival this year and were proud to present one of the only events in town that focuses on serving locals rather than tourists. 

“It always has been and always will be a really important tradition for Marfa that we want to keep alive, that we want to keep the momentum of,” said Boyd. “Every year we try to make it special.”

Boyd encouraged attendees to support the chamber by purchasing beer, Marfa Lights T-shirts designed by Edgar E. Armendariz, or donating. The organization was stretched thin this year, she said, due to unexpected costs like having to rent a stage, and needs to shore up funds to ensure the festival will continue next year. 

Marfa Lights will feature both new and returning vendors, she said, including Mrs. Taco and Line Thai food trucks. Bands include The Marfa Municipal Alliance for Dead Country and Folk Singers, The Solis Brothers, Zona Mutante, and Primo y Beebe as well as Saturday’s headliners, Los Pecadores and Ricardo Castillon y La Diferenzia. 

The musical stage will be set up facing the courthouse lawn similar to last year’s set up, said Boyd, which allowed for families to post up and enjoy the day protected by shade. 

“On Saturday, people just kind of camped out all day and there was entertainment, there was food. People just sort of chilled and spent time with family. It was a really nice atmosphere. We’re hoping that that’ll happen again,” said Boyd. 

The full schedule for this year’s Marfa Lights festival can be found in this week’s print edition of The Big Bend Sentinel. For more information, visit