Royce Montgomery, 10, sat on the hill outside Eastern New Mexico University’s Greyhound Arena watching Friday night’s fireworks display. His words painted a vivid picture of the crowd’s reactions to the colors and sounds.
“Gee. Hey, cool. I like those ones,” Royce said to his friends, after the fireworks show began at 9 p.m. in a field across from the arena. “I like the ones that go whooosh. That one’s like a weeping willow. Those fireworks look like fireflies. Oh, did you see that? When is the grand finale?”
His enthusiasm was shared by hundreds of other spectators, who were sitting in cars and pickup trucks and along several streets and parking lots surrounding the fireworks site.
For Cody Guss, who grew up in Portales, watching the fireworks display with his wife Kristi and their 16-month-old son Justin carried a deep meaning about the Fourth of July and what it takes to maintain freedom.
“The Fourth of July celebrates our independence — or it’s supposed to,” Guss said. “I hope this year people remember that again, especially since all our troops have been fighting overseas. This is really for them, in my opinion. Our troops are what keeps us free.”
Betty Rinderman, who lives in Roseville, Mich., and made her first visit to Portales to visit family, said the show was great.
“I like the ones that are like waterfalls,” Rinderman said. “And, of course, the ending was spectacular.”
Raquel Trujillo, who traveled from Washington to visit relatives, sat on a blanket at a prime fireworks-watching spot, surrounded by children of all ages who could not contain their excitement until the big show started.
“I just like watching the big ones go up and go poof,” said Trujillo. “Not so much the loud ones, as the pretty ones.”
Megan Kabrick, 15, sat on the edge of a pickup truck bed in the parking lot of Greyhound Arena as she looked forward to her first Fourth of July fireworks show in Portales.
“It’s a day to celebrate, a day for fun and fireworks,” Megan said.
She and her parents, ENMU head athletic trainer Ed Kabrick and his wife Jackie, said Independence Day celebrations were similar in Glenpool, Okla., a town about the same size as Portales where they lived before moving to New Mexico.
Portales resident Chris Carter, 17, said he thought Friday’s fireworks show surpassed the event last year, and he appreciated the move back to the Greyhound Arena site. The show was held at a softball complex just west of Portales the past few years.
“This was awesome,” Carter said. “I saw it last year and this was better. It was a lot better having it here, too. People like being able to sit on the hill and park a