Fiestas de Taos

Taos Fiesta Council




Hon. Don Francisco Trujillo II

2019 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 37th year of tenure with the Taos Fiesta Council.


Thelma Montez

2019 Vice President; Former Vice President; 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.


Renee Medina Lavadie

2019 Secretary; 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. 


Kathleen Branchal-Garcia

2019 Treasurer; Former President, Vice-President, and Secretary; Former Taos Fiesta Princesa 1982; Member since 2007

BIOGRAPHY:Kathleen is a lifelong Taoseña and 1982 Taos Fiesta Princesa. Kathleen is the Financial Manager for the Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State. She is a Choir Director for San Francisco de Asis Church, a Mayordoma 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.  


Previous Councils: 2018, 2017, 2016




Christine Barela

Former Secretary; Member since 2010

BIOGRAPHY: Christine Barela is a lifelong Taoseña. She was born to Trinnie and Luis Barela of Talpa, New Mexico. She is the proud mother of 2 sons, Francisco Vigil and Mateo Vigil. They bring much joy to her life. She is the youngest of four children, Carlos Barela, Pat Barela-Rael and Luis Barela, Jr. Christine worked for Centinel Bank of Taos for nine years. Then, Christine was employed by the State of New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department, Protective Services Division where she retired with 25 years of service. Family, friends and this community are very important to Christine. She is an active member of The Eagle’s Club #3489, where the motto is “People Helping People”. This is what Christine enjoys doing, helping people. She has always loved going to the Fiestas. She joined the Fiesta Council to see these traditions continue in our community. 


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.


Isabel Chacon

Member since 2018


Charles Lane

Member since 2018


Tina Jo Martinez

Member since 2016

BIOGRAPHY: A Native Taosena, born and raised attending Taos Fiestas with family and friends. She is born to Polito E Martinez and Tina V Martinez from Talpa. She is the mother of three successful Son’s namely Mark T Flores II, Teodoro D Flores and Andrew J Flores. She is blessed with daughter in law’s Rosa Flores, Elena Struck and Sandy Flores. She has five granddaughters, Alexis, Juliana, Natalia, Tatiana and Feliz. Tina enjoys the outdoors specifically skiing, camping, hiking and fishing. She loves to travel and experience other places and other cultures. Tina has over 30 years’ experience in local, state and federal government. In an effort to preserve local traditions and teach the young to do the same, she is a member of the Taos Fiesta Council. She encourages everyone to embrace their heritage and teach our youth the language, traditions and ways of our Ancestors.


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.


Annabella Garcia Noga

Member since 2016

BIOGRAPHY: Annabelle Garcia Noga, although she is not a native Taosena, she has called Taos her home for 29 years. She has two daughters, Deseree and Ashley that have been raised with the traditions and culture of Taos. She also has two grandchildren Estevan and Angelia. Annabelle is active in helping the people of Taos by actively participating in Fraternal Order of Eagles # 3489 where she serves as an officer, Taos Helping Hands and Taos Fiesta Council. She is a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. Annabelle is very passionate about the rich culture of Taos and wanted to be part of continuing the Fiesta de Taos in the traditional way la gente has grown to love and enjoy. Y que viva la Fiesta.


Melecia Ortega

Member since 2018


Philip Ortega

Member since 2018


Marlene Rael

Member since 2018

BIOGRAPHY: My name is Marlene Rael I was born and raised in Taos New Mexico. I graduated from Taos High School 1999. I am honored to be a mother of four kids three boys (Adam, Braxton, Sean) and 1 girl (Alyssa).. I graduated with honors from the University of New Mexico. I have a degree in Early Multicultural Childhood and in Pre-Science. I specialize in Microsoft. I currently work for Taos Schools and MVD and Money Now in Taos. I have always wanted to be part of the Fiesta Council and I am honored to be a part of the Fiesta Council today!


Helio Sanchez

Member since 2016

BIOGRAPHY: Helio Carlos Sanchez was born in Brawley California to Guadalupe Orosco Sanchez and Victor Manuel Sanchez the 7th of 8 children. Raised in El Centro California, he later re-located to Angel Fire NM where he raised his family. Living in Angel Fire and Taos for over 25 years, he owned and operated Tres Amigos Restaurant in Angel Fire featuring native Mexican and New Mexican Cuisine. In addition, to the restaurant business he owned and operated Apex Drafting and Home Design Construction and Consulting. He is the father of five, Alejandra, Helio, Abel, Vanessa and Carlos. He is a proud grandfather sharing his gifts with his family and friends. Helio enjoys listening to Mariachi music and playing his Congas. Being gifted and musically talented, he can play any instrument by ear. Helios goal in life is “to be a good person” and that he is. With 42 years of experience in the construction industry and dry wall expertise, he has the art of making any construction project a Beautiful Masterpiece!!! He is dedicated to keeping Culture and Tradition alive for futures to come!


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.




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.


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. 


Sonya Vigil-Torres

Former Taos Fiestas Princesa 2014; Member since 2016


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