US Stamps

Pinatas to break out Sept. 8 on four U.S. stamps

Aug 24, 2023, 12 PM

By Charles Snee

The 36th annual Pinata Festival in Roswell, N.M., will host the United States Postal Service’s Sept. 8 first-day ceremony for its new definitive (regular-issue) stamps illustrating four pinatas, the vibrantly colored candy- and treat-filled containers often covered with papier-mache that are broken apart during celebrations.

An official first-day ceremony is scheduled for the opening day of the festival, Friday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m. local time on the lawn of the Chaves County Courthouse, 400 N. Virginia Ave., in Roswell.

Presiding over the ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will be Isaac Cronkhite, chief processing and distribution officer and executive vice president of the Postal Service.

Collectors desiring to attend the ceremony are encouraged to register with the USPS. According to the USPS, each attendee may invite up to nine additional guests.

A pinata will be on display at the ceremony, Albert Ruiz, a senior public relations representative for the Postal Service, told Linn’s Stamp News.

Ruiz said he wasn’t sure if the pinata will look like one of those pictured on the stamps.

“We thought of breaking [a pinata] open, but for safety reasons were cautioned that children or adults could get hurt in the process,” Ruiz said.

Before the ceremony begins, Asi se Baila, a local dance group, will perform a baile folklorico (folkloric dance), according to Ruiz.

Aside from the Pinata Festival, Roswell is perhaps best known for a particular UFO event that occurred in 1947, a brief summary of which may be found on the See Roswell website (

“It was the report of an object that crashed on a ranch several miles northwest of Roswell on July 7, 1947, allegedly an extraterrestrial spacecraft and its alien occupants. Since the late 1970s the incident has been the subject of intense controversy and of a conspiracy theory regarding classified government programs. Many UFO proponents maintain that an alien craft was found and its deceased occupants were recovered, followed by a military cover-up.”

Roswell is also where Felix Baumgartner landed Oct. 14, 2012, after successfully completing a jump to Earth from a helium balloon at a height of 128,100 feet. During that feat, he set world records for skydiving distance (approximately 24 miles) and speed (about 844 mph).

Baumgartner also became the first person to break the sound barrier without power from an external vehicle.

Postal Service art director Antonio Alcala worked with Victor Melendez of Seattle, Wash., who provided the artwork for and designed the Pinatas stamps.

A USPS preliminary image of the four stamps, arranged as a block of four, is shown here. The top left and bottom right stamps illustrate a donkey pinata. A pinata in the shape of a seven-point star is featured on the top right and bottom left stamps.

All four pinatas are set against different colored backgrounds with a spray of confetti. “FOREVER USA” is lettered across the bottom of each stamp, and a small “2023” year date is printed in the top right corner.

Postal customers will have ample opportunity to use the Pinatas stamps on their mail because printer Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. in Williamsville, N.Y., produced a total of 150 million stamps in 7.5 million double-sided panes of 20.

Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., is not automatically distributing the Pinatas stamps to post offices, which means they won’t be available in some locations on the Sept. 8 first day.

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