A decade ago I agonized between purchasing a home off Calazada de La Luz or underneath the mirador in Valle de Maiz. Both homes were about the same size, with aqueduct fountains. The big difference was the views. The home off La Luz was Colonial so the views were within so one could keep your eyes on your family versus your neighbors. The home in Valle de Maiz focused outside the home with high up views of town, the lake and sunsets over the mountains. This house also didn’t have a dishwasher which as sole caregiver to my three children I found unimaginable. We moved to La Luz and enjoyed the comforts of being in centro with a dishwasher.
Before dishwashers were the greatest gift from God, Valle de Maiz (Valley of the Corn) was one of the four original neighborhoods set aside by the Spanish with crosses for the indigenous hunter gathers, the Chichimecas. Today the neighborhood no longer grows corn and is bordered by the mall, the highway up the hill to the mall and the street, Real de Queretaro. Valle de Maiz remains home to many descendents of the Chichimecas that host the end May festival to the Sacred Cross.
The Valle de Maiz festival has long been my favorite faith based event of the year. With bands from around the country playing nightly the last Saturday to the Sacred Cross I danced at yearly. The stage was a makeshift affair I lived in constant fear of breaking through and disappearing like the melting Wicked Witch of the West. Add to that fear the battle reenactments between Conquistadors and Chichimecas featuring torches pushing smoke in my eyes making it easy to toss my partner over the stage’s edge. Then, naturally, the Locos would dance by while men in their skivvies climbed a greased pole to reach booze at the top. Cripes, the Valle de Maiz end of May party was exciting even when not performing on stage!
Until recently Valle de Maiz was what real estate agents term “transitioning”, or not an area to prance about after dark. For years I had dance classes there at night that even the resident teacher that grew up in the valley didn’t gambol around in the evening.
Then this year something happened. Valle de Maiz’ yearly festival caught the eye of the mayor’s administration and became a lottery winner. By lottery winner I mean one of those areas that host annual festivals that have now become officially worth promoting.
This year’s week long concerts and Saturday night fiesta has been promoted beyond my imagination. To be in San Miguel today and not know about about the Sacred Cross festival in Valle de Maiz means you try hard to keep your head in the sand.
But it isn’t just good PR Valle de Maiz has gained, the area itself has received funding to improve the roadway from the Real to Queretaro to the chapel/village square into a lovely walking area. Also the area alongside the center of town is the home of a new walkway leading into a stone arch laden park a stone’s throw from where evening zumba classes are held.
Real estate has boomed also with what were once back of beyond dirt roads are now laced with high end homes. Being one of the few areas in town one could go “into the woods” if only for moment, I fear these tree-laden dog walking adventures are coming to a close.
Improvements don’t end with civic and real estate projects, even the stage itself has been upgraded to include large screen monitors and a floor an elephant could safely dance upon.
So as the crosses that border Valle de Maiz get their yearly paint upgrades for the festival the village is ready for May’s blow out party I hope you get to enjoy! I’ll be leading a walking tour at 5PM Saturday if you want to enjoy learning more about all the characters you’ll meet in the Valley!
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin