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Taos, NM
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May 17th, 2010, is a date that lives in glory in the minds and hearts of New Mexico movie buffs. Then-governor Bill Richardson, a movie aficionado, proclaimed the day (Dennis Hopper’s birthday) as Dennis Lee Hopper Day. Hopper died just 12 days after Richardson’s proclamation, at age 74.

“It is fitting and an honor that the State of New Mexico extends appropriate recognition and deep appreciation to Dennis Hopper, a cultural icon and friend to many, for his artistic and cultural contributions to our state and to the entire world,” Bill Richardson noted at the time.

In 2014, Taos Pueblo also recognized May 17th as Dennis Hopper Day. A proclamation of the people of Taos County and of the Town of Taos followed, proclaiming May 17th “to be hereto annually known as, Dennis Hopper Day.” The town even promised to name a street after the counterculture icon.

Since then, the event has become known as Dennis Hopper Days because the event was extended by three additional days.

“Taos has a rich history of attracting accomplished artisans of all talents, and Dennis Hopper is one of the most exceptional. Our Town is proud to host this important and timely recognition of such a distinguished award-winning artist, actor, director, writer, philanthropist, and art collector who called Taos home,” said Taos Mayor, Dan Barrone.

Hopper “discovered” Taos while filming the 1969 movie Easy Rider. In many ways, the film reinvented and rebooted the Western genre, and Hopper found himself returning to Taos where he lived on and off for most of his life, and is buried.

Taos Celebrates Dennis Hopper in Style

To celebrate Hopper’s life, hundreds of bikers and fans converge on Taos for the annual event. The bikers cruise along the Easy Rider Route through Northern New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle, across The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, then head to the annual Buffalo BBQ catered by Tiwa Kitchen of Taos Pueblo.

Featured during Dennis Hopper Days are Hopper’s old friend Ron Cooper’s Del Maguey Mezcal, cuisine the late actor favored, the hand-rolled cigars he (and his friend, Dean Stockwell) were seldom without, and much more: parties, balloon rides, river rafting with Los Rios River Runners, and music!