Adrianna Acosta, 7, of Portales, and her Clovis cousins Julie Garcia, 8, and Serena Garcia, 5, giggled and showed off their green and pink hair as they described the doughnuts, snow cones and all the other food they had eaten during the Roosevelt County Heritage Days celebration.
“I got these at the paint thing-a-ma-bob area,” said Adrianna, pointing out the brown horses painted on her leg and cheek and the pink heart on her left arm.
Several thousand people joined the three girls under blue skies and bright sunshine Saturday to enjoy a day of food, fun, face-painting, live music, games and special events at City Park.
“I just think it shows we have more to do in Portales than people realize,” said Portales City Council member Ron Jackson, who also participated in the day’s activities, placing third in the inaugural Roosevelt Rough Rider Challenge. “We do offer fun things to do. It looks like the turnout is great.”
About 80 vendors staked out locations inside the Memorial Building and outside in City Park, offering everything from snow cones, fruit smoothies and hamburgers to homemade salsa and candy apples.
“We’re selling a lot of raspberry and cherry cider and kettle corn,” said Patricia Barreras, who was working in the Ma and Pa Kettle Corn booth from Clovis.
Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega was among the many people who said they enjoyed having Heritage Days at City Park, where families could picnic on the grass and find shade.
“It’s great,” Ortega said. “We wanted to bring this to the park because of the temperatures. If you look around, you can see it’s a great success. It’s a real slice of small town America right here.”
Saturday morning began with people of all ages lining both sides of Second Street waiting for the approach of the annual Heritage Days Parade. The parade wound its way from Eastern New Mexico University to City Park with an array of tractors, horses, classic cars and other entries.
Lili McBride, 5, kept busy picking up candy thrown by parade participants and filling the bag she had brought along. Nearby, Kaitlyn Schuster, 4, of Muleshoe, and Trey Frazier, 5, of Rowlett, Texas, who were in Portales visiting grandparents, clapped eagerly as about 20 tractors rolled past.
Jim and Joanne Dann rode their motorcycles down from Clovis to visit Heritage Days and see friends who were involved with the Rough Rider Motorcycle Rally Poker Run and games.
“It’s nice and peaceful here,” Jim said, as he and his wife ate barbecue sandwiches in City Park. “It’s nice to see so many kids here, too. Kids need stuff like this to do.”
Helping with children’s activities brought Montana Maupin, 13, to the park.
“My church, Victory Life, was having a Kids’ Crusade with skits and singing and prizes and the jumping thing you can jump on,” she said.
Her sister, Jessica Maupin, 14, and their friends, Alaura Robertson, 13, of Lubbock and Shareesa Nusser, 14, of Portales said they were enjoying all the booths and the food.
Kim Huffman, executive director of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce, said he was thrilled with the level of support the community showed by coming to Heritage Days in such large numbers.
“This is fun,” Huffman said. “The number of vendors was more than we could ever fit in at the square downtown. Our variety of vendors was great, with lots of food, games and crafts. So, it’s something for everybody.”