By Michael Harrell: Freedom Newspapers
Explosions of color will flood the skies this July Fourth in celebration of the nation’s 230th year of independence. Lucky for locals, they won’t have to travel far to see them.
Clovis, Portales, Elida, Ute Lake and Sumner Lake will all hold events for this year’s Independence Day holiday.
Clovis will host its annual Smoke on the Water fireworks display at Green Acres Park on Tuesday. The fireworks will go off at 9 p.m. and last about 20 minutes.
“It’s probably going to be the third largest display in New Mexico,” said Tom Martin, the event’s organizer. He and his wife have been running the show for about 11 years.
This year’s show will be choreographed to music. Local radio stations KSMX and KRMQ will broadcast a musical program timed to the fireworks. Viewers can tune in while they watch the display to get the full effect, said Martin.
An estimated 5,000 people are expected to watch the display from the park, where they’ll be at their best, according to Martin, “though the fireworks will be visible from about two miles away,” he added.
Vendors selling a variety of things from food to sunglasses will also be at the park during the event, according to Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce officials.
Portales will shoot off fireworks Tuesday evening from the Eastern New Mexico University football practice field. The explosions in the sky will fire high enough to be visible from anywhere within city limits, according to Portales Chamber of Commerce officials.
Ute Lake State Park, located near Logan, will host its annual Fourth of July celebration early this year on Saturday. Events will be scattered throughout the park, according to Kathy Leal, the Logan-Ute Lake Chamber of Commerce secretary.
Events begin at 10 a.m. with an open-themed parade.
New this year will be a “Mud Bog,” an event where participants compete to drive the farthest on a slippery track of mud in their car or motorcycle, according to Leal.
A big attraction this year is an $8,000 cash drawing. Winners are drawn at a free dinner at the park, the annual “Bar-b-que Bean Feed” at 4 p.m. Raffle tickets sell for $20 each, with all proceeds going to pay for the fireworks.
Fireworks go off at dusk from the park’s “Windy Point” area.
“They will be bigger and better than ever,” said Leal, with more donations for this year’s event.
Other events include a horseshoe pitching contest, a dance lasting until 1 a.m. at the roping arena, and arts and crafts exhibits throughout the day, according to Leal.
For more information call Leal at 487-2722.
Sumner Lake, located 15 miles outside Fort Sumner, will have its annual fireworks display on Tuesday over the water at 9 p.m.
“It’s a big event,” said Richard Terell, park superintendent. “We are expecting a couple thousand people there.”
Park entrance fees will be waived from 7 p.m. until the show is over. Sponsors will walk through the crowd asking for donations for the fireworks, according to Terell.
Elida will hold its annual “old-timey” celebration on Saturday at the city park. The day will include a free lunch, games for all ages, vendor booths and a fireworks display at night followed by a dance.
The event is an annual fund-raiser for the fire department, according to Sandra Monks, the town clerk treasurer.
A free lunch of brisket, beans and bread will be served at noon, though the fire department will ask for donations, according to Adam Anthony, the local fire chief.
“We’ll have a lot of games for the kids,” Anthony said.
The annual turtle race, an event the city has held for more than 50 years, will come first, he said.
A three-legged race, sack race and a stick-horse race will follow.There will also be a horseshoe pitching contest and an egg toss that evening, according to Monks.
The fireworks display will commence at dark from the Elida High School track. The show will probably last about 30 minutes, Anthony said.