The city is taking an unusual twist on the mayor’s annual political speech on Albuquerque’s future.
This weekend, instead of just giving a typical “state of the city” address, Mayor Keller’s Office is hoping to turn a crowd out by making the speech into more of a citywide party.
“We’re doing a little bit of all things different this year for the state of the city,” said Carlos Contreras, Marketing and Innovation Director for Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.
For the first time in years, the city is spending $25,000 on the “state of the city” address by holding a family-friendly festival and partnering with local breweries to host several watch parties for the yearly speech.
State of the city addresses are common for most Albuquerque mayors. Mayors Marty Chavez, Richard Berry and Tim Keller have all taken part in the tradition, outlining accomplishments, challenges and goals for the city going forward in the next year.
While Keller is still planning on giving that traditional speech Saturday at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Mayor’s Office has also added the “celebration” event that will precede the speech.
“We’re just aiming as often as possible to engage with the community at large,” said Contreras.
The city is planning for family-friendly activities like face painting, balloon animals and a rock climbing wall to name a few. The city is also promising live music, food trucks and more at the event. They’re expecting about 1,000 people at the event, which has free admission.
The city is also partnering with local breweries to host watch parties for the speech. Tractor Brewing in Four Hills and Wells Park, along with Nexus Brewery’s taproom on Coors near I-40, will all be showing the televised speech at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“When they approached me and asked whether or not I’d be interested in doing it, I jumped on it,” said Ken Carson, owner of Nexus Brewery. “It’s with the people and I think that’s really good.”
The city says its aim is to get more people involved in local government.
“I would just point at a trend of aiming to turn City Hall inside out and look at those in our community that want to have some engagement and opinion in the matter,” said Contreras.
Mayor Keller’s Office tells KRQE News that the $25,000 event is being paid for with a combination of community raised funds and “some city funds,” however, the city wouldn’t specify exactly how the cost is being split.
The city says it has partnered with the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce to put on the event.
In a statement, the city added, “as opposed to past years, the Chamber is not profiting from this year’s event so we can ensure the event is free to the public.”