Although there are arts festivals in spring and fall, the biggest event of the year in Magdalena is the Magdalena Old Timers Reunion, held for three days in early July. The festival, which draws about 5,000 and has the biggest parade in New Mexico after the state fair's, began quietly 30 years ago. With the end of cattle drives and the shutdown of the rail spur in the early 1970s, cowboys began returning at the same time each year to greet each other and reminisce. Over
the past three decades, the reunion has grown into an event-packed weekend including both kids' and adult rodeos, Western swing dances on Friday and Saturday nights, a fiddling contest, a barbecue dinner, and an authentic chuck-wagon cook-off. The parade takes place Saturday morning, and the crowned reunion queen must be at least 60 years old. Most events are held at the Magdalena Fairgrounds, and admission is free.