ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Summertime events are kicking off all around the state. The City of Albuquerque’s Open Space Division and Parks and Recreation Department held their Open Space Safety and Education Day event at the Elena Gallegos Open Space. With warmer weather drawing people out for hiking and biking, the departments hope to educate the public about how to do that safely.

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Kyle Bality of the city’s Open Space Division said they want people to come out and come prepared. “The idea is, throughout the last year we did have a severe increase of the amount of people out on the trails, and a lot of people had never been out on the trails before. Because of that, the sheriff’s office had a lot more rescue missions to take on,” Bality said. “The point of today is to try to minimize the amount of rescue missions that the helicopter has to get deployed on. We want people to go out and be safe.”

Parents were encouraged to bring their kids to get them exposed to the safety procedures in the open spaces. Troy Taylor brought his family to the event and said it’s very important to know safety precautions in outdoor spaces. “This event was just a really good opportunity to bring the family out so they can kind of see law enforcement, see our conservative rangers and be able to meet them face-to-face. So if they’re ever out in the wilderness, they at least have an idea of what to do and who to talk to and where to go if they need help,” Taylor said.

On the other side of town, vendors and visitors alike got their first vendor market event on the west side of Albuquerque. The Westside Market was created by the owners of No Coast Goods in Rio Rancho.

Cori Luzietti is one of the owners and said she and her husband have always been involved in hosting events, and wanted to create an event to support small business owners on the west side of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. “Rio Rancho never really has anything, and we love Rio Rancho, so we’re hoping to shine light on the city and show that it can have fun things too,” Luzietti said.

Vendor Courtney Del Toro said having the event means a lot to the local business owners on this side of town who might not have as many opportunities to participate in these kinds of events normally. “It means a lot. It shows that Albuquerque as a whole is really supportive of small business. A lot of people are making their living through small businesses because of 2020 and how much of a crazy year it was,” Del Toro said. “The fact that there’s that support through events like this is really great.”

In Old Town, more people have been gathering to shop now that most of the state is in the Turquoise Level. Two Volcano Vista high school seniors said they were excited to shop and be part of the community. “There’s people walking around without masks. It’s refreshing and feels more human-like,” said Madison Moreno.

“It’s great to see a lot of people around Old Town again, it’s been a long time coming. I feel like it’s getting back to normal,” said Doug Higgins who was strolling around the town square.