TAOS, N.M. (AP) -- Never mind that the original Summer of Love was 42 years ago and almost 1,000 miles away: Taos is offering its own version this year.
The summerlong celebration marks the 40th anniversary of the iconic counterculture film "Easy Rider" — some of which was shot here — and the influx of hippies that added yet another spicy ingredient to Taos' multicultural stew.
Scheduled events include a "hippie homecoming" parade, art shows, concerts, costume contests and lectures about Taos' bohemian edge and "Los Hippies."
Country Joe McDonald will recreate his performance from 1969's Woodstock festival at a June 6 concert.
"Our approach to the whole thing was to really have fun with it," said the town's public relations director, Cathy Connelly.
But for a town of 5,000 that officials say gets 2 million visitors a year, tourism is serious business.
Mayor Darren Cordova said Taos "has been a unique travel destination for over 1,100 years," a reference to Taos Pueblo, which anchors the northern New Mexico community.
The Spanish settled here in the early 1600s, and Anglo artists began coming 300 years later.
Cordova credited the area's natural beauty, isolation, exotic architecture, lifestyles and "a spirit that has not been ... paved over" for attracting waves of newcomers.
The Taos Summer of Love kicked off Monday when actor and artist Dennis Hopper, a former resident who is a frequent visitor, was made honorary mayor.
He moved to Taos for 12 years after discovering it while directing and starring in "Easy Rider."
Hopper shot scenes that featured Taos Pueblo, a local hot spring and the interior of the jail where Billy and Wyatt — played by Hopper and Peter Fonda — famously meet up with George, played by Jack Nicholson.
He wanted to film at the nearby New Buffalo commune but the residents wouldn't allow it, so he recreated it in Los Angeles for the film's commune scenes.
"Easy Rider" — which came in 88th in the American Film Institute's top 100 American movies — was his attempt at capturing the political climate of the country at the time.
The 1967 Summer of Love in San Francisco was over, the '60s were drawing to a close, "and nobody's ever made a movie about it," Hopper said.
On the Net:
Taos Summer of Love: http://www.TaosSummerOfLove.com
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