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El Paso Festivals Guide

El Paso Festivals Guide — Find out what’s going on!


  • El Paso Puzzler Endurance Weekend  – Calling all masochists! Ever wanted to run a half or full marathon then get up the next day and compete in a bike race? If you go for the half marathon followed by a thirty-five mile bike ride, you are Half Mad (the organizers made up these names). Those opting for the marathon and then the fifty-mile bike ride are Completely Insane. Anyone not needing meds is welcome to enter either a biking or a running event.


  • Truck Pull – It only takes twelve people to form a truck pull team. Try dragging a 55,000lb fire truck during this fundraising event, which benefits the Special Olympics.
  • Michelob Ultra El Paso Marathon – El Paso makes marathon running a smidge easier (although definitely not easy). This course features a 1584 foot drop in elevation, which might prove enough to qualify you for the Boston Marathon. Grab your sneakers and go!


  • Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam – Head to UTEP Sun Bowl Stadium for a night of car-crushing destruction.
  • Hueco Rock Rodeo – Held in Hueco Tanks State Historic Site and Park, this is actually a rock climbing competition. Other highlights include rock art tours, mechanical bull rides and a raffle.
  • Siglo de Oro Drama Festival – Plays from Spain’s Golden Age (1580-1680) are performed in both Spanish and English. The festival focuses on three main types of drama: short religious allegories, one-act farces, and three act dramas in verse. El Paso’s Siglo de Oro is the longest running Spanish drama festival.
  • Sunland Derby – Place a few bets on this annual derby then hit the on-site casino to try to win over Lady Luck.


  • Florafest – Centennial Museum and Gardens hosts this native plant sale every year.
  • Mighty Mujer Triathlon – Athletes competing in this all-female triathlon must swim 300 yard, cycle for 15km and then run for 2 miles. The event is a fundraiser for the Center Against Family Violence.


  • KLAQ International Balloonfest – This balloon festival has been running for twenty-five years and is accompanied by live music. It is held at the Santa Teresa Country Club.


  • Viva! El Paso – This event tells the history of El Paso through a musical. The outdoor show takes place in the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre and performances also run through July and August.


  • El Paso Downtown Streetfest – Catch live performances by bands (some of which you’ve actually heard of) by day and firework displays by night.
  • El Maida Shrine Circus – Roll up, roll up. The Shrine Circus features performing elephants, clowns and high wire artists.
  • Ysleta Mission Festival – Held at the historic Ysleta Mission, this three-day festival is a celebration of the Southwest. Expect traditional dances, food, music, arts and crafts, cake walks, and carnival rides.


  • Plaza Classic Film Festival – This festival takes place at the Plaza Theatre – a historic venue that was built in 1930. Entirely run by volunteers, the event includes film talks, offerings from local indie filmmakers and, of course, classic movies.


  • Shakespeare on the Rocks Festival – Play performances run from September through October and include elements of music and dance, not to mention modernized scripts.
  • Fiesta de las Flores – Explore Hispanic and Latino art and culture at the Fiesta de las Flores. The celebration features live music, bands, dancing and a Huacha Tournament.
  • Chihuahuan Desert Fiesta – Head to Tom Mays Park to learn about the plants and animals that call the Chihuahua Desert home. Expect speakers, easy, guided hikes and hay rides.
  • Eagle in the Sun Triathlon – Folk of all ages embark upon a 400-yard swim, 20k bike race and 5k run.
  • Elephant Festival – The El Paso Zoo gets elephant fever during this two-day festival that emphasizes education and the preservation of elephant habitats in the wild. Thirty-minute tours are available for those wanting to check out the elephant enclosures and hide their food (it’s not mean, it’s an enrichment activity)! Otherwise there’s a breakfast buffet (reservations and tickets are necessary), elephant demonstrations and a parade.
  • Southwestern International PRCA Rodeo – This rodeo has the honor of being the city’s longest running sporting event. There are themed nights, a carnival and a parade.
  • Sun City Music Festival – This electronic music festival has three stages and attracts about 20,000 attendees for two nights of dancing in Ascarate Park.


  • Chalk the block – Sidewalk art is elevated to a whole new level as attendees watch art take shape on the ground in front of them. The event also includes temporary art installations, food, live music, art vendors, and performances by aerialists. Added bonus: it’s free.
  • Amigo Airshow – This show has been running for more than thirty years and the acts don’t just focus on planes. There are also hang gliders, sail planes – oh yeah – and a fire breathing school bus that travels at more than 350 mph!
  • Boo at the Zoo – Trick or treat with your furry friends at the zoo. Animals get to chow down on pumpkins, while kids tuck into candy.
  • Concordia Walk Through History – If learning local history in a classroom seems too dull, try doing in a cemetery. Billed as El Paso’s answer to Boot Hill, the cemetery is the final resting place of gunslingers, Texas Rangers, Civil War soldiers, lawmen and pioneers. For one night each year, actors fill the cemetery, bringing its best-known residents back to life (in a non-zombie manner).
  • Flying Horse Half Marathon and 5k Run – The half marathon race has a slight twist: as it starts and finishes at the Sunland Park Race Track and Casino, the last mile follows the actual racetrack. Live video tracks this portion of the competition.


  • A Taste of El Paso – Kiss FM sponsors this two-night culinary experience, which features offerings from more than fifteen restaurants, along with beer and wine pairings. There are also cooking demonstrations, live music and mixology classes.


  • San Jacinto Plaza Tree Lighting – Head to San Jacinto Plaza for tree lighting and a holiday parade.

Lane & Juliet

The writing and photography team behind Southwest Compass, the travel blog for the American Southwest.

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