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Don Criss talks with Tim Roberts about Old Lincoln Days in August

CRISS: This is Southwest spotlight on the KENW Public Radio Network. With me now is Tim Roberts, Deputy Director of New Mexico Historic Sites, and Tim something special is going to happen in Lincoln in August. Can you tell me about it? 

ROBERTS: Absolutely Don yeah. So, we're very excited to be welcoming, welcoming people back to Lincoln, New Mexico for old Lincoln Days, which is our annual festival that just celebrates the entire heritage of the region. But really is anchored with the three-day performances of the last escape of Billy the Kid Folk Pageant, which is going into its 80th year this year. 

CRISS: That's wonderful. Now the people that live around the town are many of the actors in that show. Is that correct? 

ROBERTS: That is correct. It is completely community driven performance, it's been going on since the 1940s. and it's just- It's a- It's a piece of Americana that you're not going to see anywhere else. And the festival around it is filled with all kinds of additional reenactments and vendors and performances, Lectures, and of course the museums and historic sites are open. children's activity all culminating each evening with the other performance of that pageant. 

CRISS: Awe, that sounds like a good time for a family. can you tell me a few of the things that really stand out historically there in in Lincoln? I know that many of the buildings were there when Billy the Kid did make his last escape. Is that correct?

ROBERTS: Oh, that is that is extremely correct. And that's really why Lincoln is so special. It's kind of a time capsule of sorts. It's one of the most, if not the most preserved Old West towns, frontier towns in America, and you really get a sense of what life was like that then, because you can literally walk along the same street. And the same buildings that Billy the kid and Pat Garrett and John Chism and L.T. Murphy and all of the characters from that time and other characters of New Mexico history walked at one point. 

CRISS: And you can visit for instance the courthouse. and I now when I was there last, you could still go upstairs and stand in the room and look out the window that Billy the Kid used a shotgun to shoot the deputy who was coming across the street. Is that still possible? 

ROBERTS: Oh absolutely, you can stand right where he stood and looked out the same window that he saw Bob Olinger running across from the Ortley hotel. Yes Sir. 

CRISS: Ah that that is that that's really good and there will be lots of music too. Is that correct? 

ROBERTS: Absolutely we have live music all throughout the day throughout town, and there's actually a concert each night, on Friday and Saturday night that goes on right before the pageant as well, starting at 7:00 o'clock. 

CRISS: And Lincoln is very centrally located so people from Carlsbad all the way up to Raton, which is our coverage area, would not have a hard time getting there, would they? 

ROBERTS: No, we could we kind of joke. Yet Lincoln is just about 3 hours from everyone in New Mexico, so it's a nice gentle drive into the now very green and wet Benito Valley. And it's beautiful this time of year. So, it's a great time to come down and visit. 

CRISS: And the rivers that that. that they're driving there, they're going to drive along some of the rivers, especially if they come from the eastern part of the state, those Played a big part in having the people who were living on the farms here now, didn't they? 

ROBERTS: Oh, absolutely the Benigno Valley was first settled in the in the mid-1850s, largely by immigrants from the Limatar and Minot area and they really came to do, you know, farming in the valley and then later on cattle ranchers moved into the area. But really it started off as a as a small-scale farming community all through that beautiful valley. 

CRISS: OK, well tell us one more time when the dates are and what times the performances will be.

ROBERTS: Sure, so the festival is August 6th, 7th and 8th. and the historic sites open at 10:00 AM in the morning and the festival gets going. and then on Friday and Saturday night the pageant starts at 8:30. But there's a concert at 7:00 o'clock. And then there's a matinee show on Sunday at 1:00 o'clock. With the concert in three o'clock, the actual performance. and we also have our community played at 11:00 o'clock on Sunday as well. 

CRISS: That sounds wonderful. I hope you have great attendance and thank you very much for talking with me. 

ROBERTS: Alright and thank you. 

CRISS: This is Don Criss and this has been Southwest Spotlight.

Billy the Kid Pageant and Old Lincoln Day

  • Historic LincolnHighway 380 Mm 97.5
  • Lincoln, NM 88338
  • United States

Friday, August 6th at 8:30 PM

Saturday, August 7th at 8:30 PM

Sunday, August 8th at 3 PM

Tickets are available at the gate beginning at 10 am each morning.


$10 for adults

$6 kids 6-12

Kids five and under are free.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/Billy-the-Kid-Pageant-380986848666265/