August 14, 2022

Hualienrainbow

We Bring Good Things to Life

Santa Fe family showcases their annual Fiesta dress best

“There’s nothing like twirling in your fiesta dress,” Sylvia Montoya Chavez says.”Oh, when I wear my fiesta dress, I feel pretty,” Beth Wojahn reflects.Fiesta dresses: a tradition for this Santa Fe family dating back more than 70 years.”The dresses for our family started when we were born,” Diana Montoya Capshaw tells KOAT. “I have more closet space than anybody in Santa Fe!”She’s not kidding.Diana has more than 300 fiesta dresses in her collection.The tradition started with Diana’s grandfather, when she was a little girl.He was the office manager at Gans, the store in Santa Fe, that sold fiesta dresses.The patriarch of the family would give each of his grandchildren, including Diana, a brand new dress to wear to the Burning of Zozobra and the Santa Fe Fiestas; the events used to be on the same weekend before crowds at Old Man Gloom got too big.Now, fast forward to the 2000s. Diana throws huge parties for the Fiestas and the Zozobra every single year. All the women in attendance wear her dresses. “The party started 70 years ago for the Capshaw family,” Diana says. “There has been a party at this house ever since.”Along her backyard gate is where Old Man Gloom goes up in flames.Diana says her house is the closest property to Fort Marcy Park.This year, for the first time, that party tradition won’t happen because of the pandemic, but this tradition will: sharing her fiesta dresses with friends and family.She will still pass the dresses on, so women can wear them as Zozobra burns. Women like Jenny, Diana’s niece.”They have a Smithsonian level collection of these dresses,” she says. “I’m lucky enough to be able to wear them. It’s like part of the deep rooted history of Santa Fe.”Diana’s sister, Sylvia, collects the dresses, too.”We’ve never missed a fiesta,” she says. “If you keep the traditions alive, they’ll stay alive.” Keeping tradition alive; that’s what Diana is doing every year.She catalogs every single dress, worn by every single person, in books; a tradition she’ll continue this year, even during the pandemic.”Our world is not quite as beautiful as it has been in other years, but I think the Burning of Zozobra lets you know it’s a new day,” Diana says. The pandemic cannot stop her, her family, and her friends from proudly wearing their fiesta best as Old Man Gloom burns this year.”It feels good to have roots. Some people might think a dress is silly,” Diana says. “It’s not. It shows what you were raised with.”

“There’s nothing like twirling in your fiesta dress,” Sylvia Montoya Chavez says.

“Oh, when I wear my fiesta dress, I feel pretty,” Beth Wojahn reflects.

Fiesta dresses: a tradition for this Santa Fe family dating back more than 70 years.

“The dresses for our family started when we were born,” Diana Montoya Capshaw tells KOAT. “I have more closet space than anybody in Santa Fe!”

She’s not kidding.

Diana has more than 300 fiesta dresses in her collection.

The tradition started with Diana’s grandfather, when she was a little girl.

He was the office manager at Gans, the store in Santa Fe, that sold fiesta dresses.

The patriarch of the family would give each of his grandchildren, including Diana, a brand new dress to wear to the Burning of Zozobra and the Santa Fe Fiestas; the events used to be on the same weekend before crowds at Old Man Gloom got too big.

Now, fast forward to the 2000s.

Diana throws huge parties for the Fiestas and the Zozobra every single year. All the women in attendance wear her dresses.

“The party started 70 years ago for the Capshaw family,” Diana says. “There has been a party at this house ever since.”

Along her backyard gate is where Old Man Gloom goes up in flames.

Diana says her house is the closest property to Fort Marcy Park.

This year, for the first time, that party tradition won’t happen because of the pandemic, but this tradition will: sharing her fiesta dresses with friends and family.

She will still pass the dresses on, so women can wear them as Zozobra burns.

Women like Jenny, Diana’s niece.

“They have a Smithsonian level collection of these dresses,” she says. “I’m lucky enough to be able to wear them. It’s like part of the deep rooted history of Santa Fe.”

Diana’s sister, Sylvia, collects the dresses, too.

“We’ve never missed a fiesta,” she says. “If you keep the traditions alive, they’ll stay alive.”

Keeping tradition alive; that’s what Diana is doing every year.

She catalogs every single dress, worn by every single person, in books; a tradition she’ll continue this year, even during the pandemic.

“Our world is not quite as beautiful as it has been in other years, but I think the Burning of Zozobra lets you know it’s a new day,” Diana says.

The pandemic cannot stop her, her family, and her friends from proudly wearing their fiesta best as Old Man Gloom burns this year.

“It feels good to have roots. Some people might think a dress is silly,” Diana says. “It’s not. It shows what you were raised with.”