Fiestas de Taos

Taos Fiesta Council

Photo by Chuck McLaughlin of Sean Kelly Portraits – Taos, NM

Back Row (L to R): Wilbert Vigil (Auxiliary); Elma Vigil; Hon. Don Francisco Trujillo II, Vice-President; Hon. Judith 'Judi' Cantu; Joseph Quintana, Treasurer; Leslie Vigil

Front Row (L to R): Anna Herrera, President; Sonya Vigil-Torres; Kathleen Branchal, Immediate Past President; Christine Barela, Secretary; Sonya Romero; Hon. Evangeline ‘Vangie’ Romero

Not Pictured:  Renee Medina Lavadie; Donna Jo Martinez (Auxiliary); Tina Jo Martinez;  Manuel Medina; Thelma Montez; Annabelle Garcia Noga; Helio Sanchez; Bernadette Trujillo; Theresa Trujillo; Auxiliary Members: Christina Rose Martinez; Roger Martinez; Durin McCash; Elizabeth Peralta; Celsa Vigil; Patrick Vigil. 





Anna Herrera

2017 President; Former Secretary; Member Since 2011

BIOGRAPHY: Anna is a native Taoseña. She was born to Erlinda and the late Ruben Herrera of Arroyo Hondo. Family is of most importance to her, she has two sons — Juan Andres and Jose Ruben Romero, daughter in law Soveida Garcia Romero and three beautiful granddaughters: Ashley, Alicia & Andrea Romero. Anna grew with two sisters and four brothers and is an active member of Holy Trinity Parish. She is employed by the US Department of Labor as a Caseworker and enjoys the outdoors, and spends all her spare time with her family. Anna joined the Fiesta Council to ensure that these centuries old traditions are passed on for future generations.


Kathleen Y. Branchal

2017 Immediate Past President; Former Vice-President, Secretary and Taos Fiesta Princesa 1982; Member since 2007

BIOGRAPHY: Kathleen is a lifelong Taoseña and 1982 Taos Fiesta Princesa. Kathleen is the Chief Procurement Officer and Bureau Chief of General Services Division for the New Mexico Corrections Department. She is a Choir Director for San Francisco de Asis Church, and a Confirmation Teacher. She is the mother of three daughters Sonya, Sarah and Raylyn and the proud grandma of five. Kathleen points to the fact that serving in different capacities in the community gives her a sense of pride and satisfaction. Meeting and working with different people creates lifelong friendships and is the main reason she enjoys giving of her time.


Hon. Don Francisco Trujillo II

2017 Vice-President; Former President, Vice-President and Treasurer; Executive Director and Public Relations Director; Longest serving Fiesta Council Member since 1982


BIOGRAPHY: The Honorable Don Francisco Trujillo II is a native Taoseño, a descendent of two long standing, time-honored Spanish families with deep roots documented to have settled in northern New Mexico in approximately 1563.  He is employed in corporate management at Gerald A. Martin, Ltd. and serves as an elected School Board Member for the Governance Council of Tierra Encantada Charter Schools in Santa Fe, currently as Board President & Chief Executive Officer. Don Francisco previously served as New Mexico's Deputy Secretary of State and Director of the New Mexico State Bureau of Elections (2007-2010), an elected Taos County Commissioner (2003-2006), Director of Sales and Marketing for the Town of Taos, and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Council of the Enchanted Circle in northern New Mexico. He served two consecutive terms on the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Board of Directors (2005-2011): appointed Chairman of various committees, elected Board Secretary and completed his tenure as National Vice-President.  He has held positions with several local, state and national boards and holds many prestigious honors, most notably: Henry Toll Fellow, Kentucky Colonel, New Mexico Colonel Aide De Camp and Guardia de Honor del Orden del Mar Oceano (Madrid, Spain). Additionally, he is Chairman of the Taos Regional Airport Board, this year celebrates his 36th year of tenure with the Taos Fiesta Council.


Joseph Quintana

2017 Treasurer; Past-President; Member since 2009

BIOGRAPHY: Joseph is a lifelong Taoseno. He was the third son born to Evangeline and Carlos Herman Quintana in Albuquerque, New Mexico and resides in Taos, New Mexico.  Joseph has three children Soledad and Ana-Alycia of Taos , Xavier of Washington DC. He is the proud grandfather of Zaria, and is expecting a second grandchild in January 2014.  His passion is helping people, and is an Insurance Agent with the Thomas E. Gutierrez Farmers Insurance Agency. Joseph previously pioneered commercial outdoor recreation with his company Native Son Adventures until 2006, and still loves the outdoors. Fiesta’s has always been a part of Joseph’s life and he will continue to work to maintain the traditions and cultures of the Taos that he loves.


Christine Barela

2017 Secretary; Member since 2010

BIOGRAPHY: Christine Barela is a lifelong Taoseña.  She was born to Trinnie and Luis Barela of Talpa.  She is the proud mother of two boys, Francisco and Mateo, that are the core of her being.  She is the youngest of her sibling group, two brothers and her favorite “sissy”.  She has been employed by the Children, Youth & Families Department for the past 20 years.  She previously worked at Centinel Bank of Taos for 9 years.  She loves to laugh and strives to live a happy life.  Christine has always loved Fiestas and being part of the Fiesta Council gives her the opportunity to try to make others as happy as Fiestas make her. 




Hon. Judith 'Judi' Cantu

Member since 2014

BIOGRAPHY: The Honorable Judi Cantu is a native daughter of Taos and in 2014 was elected to the Town of Taos Council. Judi is a great, great-great grand daughter of the legendary Padre Antonio Martinez.  She is the daughter of the late Mayor Philip Cantu Jr. and Angie Cantu, granddaughter of Josie Montaño-Cantu and Felipe Cantu Sr.  She has four children who are all members of the Jemez Pueblo: Christy Loretto-Erkins, Julie Loretto-Daw and twins, Joshua and Monique Loretto; along with four precious grandchildren: Xochitl and Jaden Archuleta, Savaante Erkins and Jaydah Martinez. Judi feels blessed to have been born in the sacred valley of Taos and is fiercely protective over what she considers to be the unique gem on God's fantastic earth. Judi explains, "My people are indigenous in themselves. Mestizo is what many people native to Taos truly are. My family has traced our roots back to Portugal, Italy and Spain. My Mother's family were Jewish and expelled from Portugal in 1496 making their way to the western hemisphere. My Father's family were Cowens out of Italy and came to this western hemisphere in the days of Oñate. My History is quite complex with many fascinating facets. I think it is so important in this 21st century with so many changes in this world that we preserve and protect, our history and culture. Assimilation in this fast moving world of technology, takes away from the celebration of life. We can’t lose who we are, so celebrating Taos Fiestas by getting together with our friends and family at this time is crucial to staying connected to our roots as life changes so quickly.


Renee Medina Lavadie

Former Taos Princesa 1987; Member since 2013

BIOGRAPHY: Renee Medina Lavadie is a native Taoseña whose documented ancestors settled in Northern New Mexico over four hundred years ago. She is extremely proud of her roots, culture, and traditions and diligently strives to maintain them, and instill their value in her own children. She loves being a mom and cherishes her family time. Cooking traditional foods, the outdoors and supporting local events is her fun time. Growing up she was an active member of 4-H for many years. Renee attended Taos Municipal Schools and graduated from the University of New Mexico. She is employed by Molina Health Care as a Care Coordinator II, which falls in line with her passion for helping people, especially those in need.  Renee was previously employed by Tri County Community Services and spent 10 years with them. Renee is the daughter of Robert Medina and Quirina Cordova Medina and the eldest grandchild of Philip E. Cordova and the late Cordy Cordova of Arroyo Seco. She has a brother Felipe R. Medina and is the proud Mother of Raul, Katrina, Andrew, and Melanie Gonzales. 


Tina Jo Martinez

Member since 2016


Manuel Medina

Member since 1992

BIOGRAPHY: Manuel is a 20 year Board Member of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative in Taos. He and fellow council member Theresa Trujillo have a daughter, LeAndra, who was the 1992 Reina de las Fiestas de Taos. They also have two grandchildren, Durin and Bree. Manuel is self employed and runs his own business, MTM Crane Service. In addition, he and his siblings share the responsibility of running their parents company with a 50 year plus history, Robert Medina & Sons.


Thelma Montez

Former Taos Fiesta Princesa 1981; Member since 2014

BIOGRAPHY: Thelma Montez is a native Taosena, she is the mother of two sons Ronald and Jacob, and the proud Nana of Alexis, Antonio, Aubrielle, and Marcus. Thelma has been owner/stylist/nail tech at Reflections of Beauty for 28 years. She is a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and, has served as mayordoma, assisted with Saint Micheal's youth group, and was part of the choir. Thelma enjoys being part of a positive group that all have a common interest, to preserve the culture and traditions of this beautiful town we call home.


Annabella Garcia Noga

Member since 2016


Hon. Evangeline ‘Vangie’ Romero

Member since 2001

BIOGRAPHY: The Honorable Evangeline ‘Vangie’ Romero is a native Taoseña and is the former Taos County Treasurer. She is a graduate of Taos High School, a member of NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and a member of the Ranchos Guadalupanas for over 20 years. She became involved with the Fiesta Council, when her daughter Sonya Francesca was crowned the 2001 Reina de las Fiestas. She strongly believes that it is very important for our community to maintain our traditions, culture and heritage for future generations. Evangeline has been married to Toby Romero for 46 years and they have two children, Antonio and Sonya who are the love of her life.


Sonya F. Romero

Former Taos Fiesta Reina 2001; Member since 2001

BIOGRAPHY: Miss Sonya F. Romero is a native Taoseña. In 2001, Miss Romero was crowned La Reina de las Fiestas de Taos. Since her reign she has remained involved with the Taos Fiesta Council as the Royal Committee Vice-Chair and Royal Pageant Coordinator. Miss Romero is a 2009 graduate of the University of New Mexico. She has an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts, a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Elementary Education. She is honored and proud to be a member of this community and feels that the true beauty of Taos is in the traditions that lie within the hearts of its wonderful people. 


Helio Sanchez

Member since 2016


Bernadette 'Berna' Trujillo

Member Since 2012

BIOGRAPHY: Berna is a native Taoseña, daughter of Wilfred and Rebecca Trujillo. She is the youngest of 8, 4 brothers and 3 sisters. Ms. Trujillo also has 3 children. Former Taos Fiesta Princesa Bianca Silva and 2 sons, Derek and Nicholas. She is employed at Walmart as a overnight Support Manager. She is honored to be a member of the Taos Fiesta Council. She believes that it is important to preserve and teach the next generations about our culture and traditions.


Theresa Trujillo

Member since 1992

BIOGRAPHY: Theresa is a native Taoseña stemming generations. She is employeed with Holy Cross Hospital and is very involved in charitable organizations that support the local hospital. Theresa and fellow council member, Manuel Medina, became officially involved with the Fiesta Council when their only daughter, LeAndra, was crowned Reina de las Fiestas in 1992. She has two grandchildren that are the joy of her life, Durin and Bree. Theresa has served on the Executive Committee of the Fiesta Council and for many years has chaired the Vendor Booth Committee.


Elma Vigil

Member since 1990

BIOGRAPHY: Elma Vigil is a native Taoseña and a graduate of Taos High School. She is married to her high school sweetheart Wilbert Vigil. They have three wonderful sons. Elma has been employed in retail most of her life. She worked at J.C. Penny’s for thirteen and a half years and has been employed at Wal-Mart for the last twenty-one and a half years. She has served as a Mayordoma at San Francisco de Asis church. Elma joined the Fiesta Council in 1990 and has served in various committees. Her family and preserving traditional values are very important to her.


Leslie Vigil

Former Taos Fiesta Princesa 1992; Member since 2015

BIOGRAPHY: Leslie is a native Taoseña and a 1992 Princesa de las Fiestas de Taos. She is the proud mother of Sonya Torres, a 2014 Princesa de las Fiestas de Taos. Leslie was a St. Francis de Assis School Board Member and Committee Chair, as well as Co-chair of Taos Relay for Life. She is proud to assist in the preservation of the traditions and culture of the Taos Fiestas.


Sonya Vigil-Torres

Former Taos Fiestas Princesa 2014; Member since 2016




Christina Rose Martinez

BIOGRAPHY: Christina is 16 years old and the daughter of Josephine Martinez; granddaughter of Theresa and Rueben Martinez. As a toddler and young girl she participated as a little Fiesta Princesa accompanying the Royal Court to all activities celebrated in New Mexico since 2001. Christina Rose enjoys being able to assist the court as an ambassador for Taos and her fellow members on the council whoh ave become family to her.


Donna Jo Martinez

Former Vice-President; Member since 2005

BIOGRAPHY: Donna was born and raised in northern New Mexico. She is the third child of four, married to Juan E. Martinez, mother of two sons, one daughter and step-mother of three daughters. Donna is the Human Resources Assistant at Holy Cross Hospital and is actively involved in various wellness/charitable committees within the hospital. She enjoys the outdoors and spending time with family, and friends. She feels that by being a Fiesta Council member, she and her family may give back to Taos, a community that has given so much to them.


Roger Martinez

Member since 2014

BIOGRAPHY: Señor Don Roger Martinez y Mondragon’s family has been in Taos since its Spanish beginnings. Roger has been involved in culture in many aspects, from his photography, photographing Northern New Mexico in its finest adobe colors, and painting and writing cultural short stories. Even while living in Santa Fe for 20 years, Roger was fully involved in our local Fiestas of Northern New Mexico, always faithful to Taos and the feasts of Santiago and Santa Ana. He has also served as a Caballero de Vargas in Santa Fe and more recently as a Caballero de Colón where he has served as Grand Knight in Taos and currently as District Deputy, New Mexico Conferring Officer and Color Corps Commander. Continuously living culture in every aspect has brought Roger back, to be more deeply involved with our Taos Fiestas, tying our history to our future. ¡Vivan las Fiestas!


Durin Medina McCash


Elizabeth Peralta

Former President; Member since 1980

BIOGRAPHY: Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Peralta has served in almost every position during her 28 year tenure as a Taos Fiesta Council member. She enjoys volunteering at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and fishing with her husband of 45 years, Alfred Peralta. They have been blessed with two children and six grandchildren and enjoy spending time with them all.


Celsa Vigil

Former Secretary; Member since 2008

BIOGRAPHY: Celsa Vigil is a native northern New Mexican, who moved back to her family’s historical home site on the Ranchos Plaza four years after graduating from Eastern New Mexico University with a double major in Microbiology and Spanish. Celsa is currently employed as a Lab Analyst through the Town of Taos Wastewater Treatment Plant operated by CH2M HILL OMI. She is the daughter of Gilbert & Eileen Gallegos, sister of Claire Gallegos, aunt of Lilliana Gallegos, and married to fellow Fiesta Council Member Patrick Vigil. She joined the Taos Fiesta Council in an effort to help preserve our culture and heritage, which has been instilled in her through keen understanding and sense of heritage.


Patrick Vigil

Member since 2008

BIOGRAPHY: Patrick Vigil is a native Taoseño with families who have resided in the Taos Valley since the first Spanish settled the area. His roots stem from two strong bar prospector families: Vigil and Trujillo. He recently retired, after 28½ years from the Town of Taos where he served as Public Utilities Director. Patrick is the son of the late Edmundo Vigil and Aurora T. Vigil. He is the fourth of six children: Carla Castle, Francisco Vigil, Antonio Vigil, Lourdes Martinez and Jose Benito “Joey” Vigil (deceased). He is married to fellow Fiesta Council Member Celsa Gallegos-Vigil. He joined the Fiesta Council to give back to his beloved community and help preserve its roots. 


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