A Heritage Fest Without the “Fest”By Valeria QuezadaHeritage Fest is a cultural celebration that has been held annually since 2017 by Carlsbad Pearl of the Pecos. Heritage Fest is not just an event-it has every aspect,history, culture, art, etc. It’s an opportunity for the community to learn about Carlsbad’s history and proudly display their favorite aspects of where we live. This celebration began by inspiration of the IAIE World Conference that was held in Carlsbad, New Mexico in 2017. Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway thought we needed a similar celebration to be held here in Carlsbad to display the history and culture of Carlsbad. Heritage Fest usually displays farming, roping, local vendors, historical figures such as Billy the Kid, fun games, and an emphasis on live art demonstrations. In general, showcasing the rich community in this area.Kat Davis, executive director of the Pearl of the Pecos Arts and Cultural District said, “I like that it is an event that is friendly for everyone, it accommodatesand caters for all. Overall, it’s a well-rounded even that has something for everyone. Typically this event is held at the beginning of October and is a huge celebration that attracts multiple people from within the CarlsbadCommunity and surrounding areas. Due to COVID-19 and safety protocols, the 2021 Heritage Fest is going to be held as an art contest. It will be an art contest celebrating the history and culture of our town. The entries can be submitted in different art mediums, such as digital, painting, graphics, etc. The contest is open to anyone, the artists do not have to be a Carlsbad resident.Artists are asked to capture what they think are the building blocks of the culture in Carlsbad. It’s an opportunity to display what their favorite part, place, or aspect of Carlsbad is. Anything that can be associated with Carlsbad can be submitted in a unique art piece. The members of the Creative Carlsbad Arts Council wanted to blend together the cultural aspects of Heritage Fest with the artistic aspect. Kat explains, “There’s different award categories and different age groups that will be judged. A person from the Pearl of Pecos, from Creative Carlsbad, and other people from local businesses will be judging the contest.” The contest is currently open until the end of April 30th. Submissions can be made through email or dropped off at Carlsbad Main Street.Winning entries will be selected after April 30thas a live judging. The winning entries will receive cash prizes courtesy of Carlsbad Arts Council and a certificate of achievement. The grand prize for “Best in Show” being $500! The winning art will be featured on the Creative Carlsbad Arts Council and Pearl of the Pecos Arts and Culture District website and marketing. All recognized art pieces will receive recognition by being displayed for a limited time in our online Art Gallery. For now, a virtual art contest is an amazing way for the people in the Carlsbad community to create art that represents Carlsbad and the culture in it. In the future of 2021, Kat and her associates hope that if conditions under COVID-19 improve, that a live, COVID-safe Heritage Fest can be held. Kat concludes, “I hope there will be good community engagement this year. Since it is very different and online, there’s been a lot of interest but not as much entries as we hoped.” Even though there is no “fest” in Heritage Fest this year, people within the community can still Celebrate Carlsbad with their artistic representation!