Organizers were hoping for a much larger crowd this year for SocorroFest.

If The Chieftain parking lot is any indication, they succeeded.

Usually our parking lot is empty during the most well attended events at the Plaza. That makes it convenient for our reporters who drop in on those events.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled up early Saturday afternoon and found only one small place. I parked next to Chieftain reporter John Larson, who was finishing up the early coverage of the event.

I admit to dropping in on SocorroFest about three times during breaks in my college football watching.

Hats off to all of those involved in the planning and carrying out of such a wonderful event. It was a really nice affair.

The musical acts at the gazebo, the Capitol Bar and Sourdough Mine Restaurant during the two days were first rate, especially the headlining band Hotel California.

I confess to being an Eagles fan both in music and in football. The music Saturday night brought back memories. I’d rather not talk about the game on Sunday.

I believe the car show was a good addition. I think that helped bring out the crowd. I also wonder if the extra promotion also helped with those who were in town for the rare chance to visit Trinity Site, which was open to the public on Saturday.

I also wondered if any of the folks in state for the International Balloon Fiesta happened to make their way down.

I don’t know if there is any way to measure that.

Anyway, it was a pretty busy weekend with Oktoberfest at the Hammel Museum and the VLA open house also going on.

And it continues this week.

By the time the paper comes out today I may have already been on top of South Baldy at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory for an event during the Enchanted Skies Star Party which is going on this week in Magdalena.

I’m also planning to be high in the sky at the Balloon Fiesta.

I’m planning on marking a balloon ride off the bucket list in the next couple of days, weather permitting.

I’m keeping an eye on the weather forecast to see which day might be best for the early morning journey up Interstate 25.

And then there’s the Indian Days at the Alamo Navajo Reservation this weekend. The parade is always one of my favorites around. It happens as it traditionally does on Saturday morning.

I do believe we also have a major rodeo in town this weekend at the Socorro Rodeo Arena.

It will be worth checking out.

We are also a week away from 49ers weekend. As we mention in a story today, there will be a few changes. University officials are hoping for the whole community to be involved in the event that serves as the school’s homecoming.

There’s no football game, at least not the American version. There will be the world version — soccer — and a couple of rugby matches.

There will also be a parade, block parties and a street dance this year.

We’re already planning for one of the biggest events of the year – the Festival of the Cranes at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge on Nov. 14-17. It’s one day shorter this year.

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve been on the refuge, but I’m pretty sure the first cranes will arrive any day now, if they’re not already there.

I’ve seen reports they’ve already arrived in the Albuquerque area and saw a photo on Facebook of a flock flying over Lemitar.

With them, of course, come the birders who contribute so much to our local economy.

I’m hoping residents are taking advantage of all of the events and are in the process of submitting entries to the video contest we are co-sponsoring with the Middle Rio Grande Economic Development Association, the City of Socorro, the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce, Vertu Fine Arts Gallery, First State Bank, Socorro Best Western and C&K Automotive.

The $1,000 grand prize could fill quite a few stockings on Christmas morning.

The top videos will be featured at a film festival at the end of the Festival of the Cranes at the Best Western Conference Center at 4 p.m. on Nov. 17.

If you’re interested in information about the contest, drop me an email at editorial@dchieftain.com.