Holiday festival features food, fun, friends

By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer

For the first time in several years, the people of Portales had a place to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with food, fun and friends — all in a family atmosphere at the Smokin’ 4th of July Bash at Greyhound Arena Wednesday afternoon.

The first-of-its-kind festival featured live bands, barbecue, a dunking booth, face painting and loads of fun — all leading up to the annual fireworks extravaganza.

Portales residents Pat and Corrine Gonzales brought their granddaughters to the event and appreciated the family friendly atmosphere.

“I’m glad,” Pat Gonzales said. “This gives people something to do. Everywhere you see families together, that is what it should be about.”

Pat and Corrine say they brought their granddaughters to watch the ‘Splash’ puppet show, but Pat also said that celebrating the holiday also honors a family member who is serving in Iraq.

“We’ve got a nephew that’s in Iraq right now,” she said, “and while we don’t know what’s going on over there, this is a way to support him.”

Eastern New Mexico Zia basketball coach Linden Weese and his wife Gay were also under the big tent in the Greyhound Arena parking lot enjoying a full plate of nachos.

“I think anytime in a community like this, if you can bring everybody together it’s great and it looks like everybody is having fun to me,” Linden said.

“I think this is great, it’s a great community event. It brings everybody out, everybody gets to meet each other and have some entertainment and great food,” Gay said.

In addition to registering people to vote, Geni Flores of the Roosevelt County Democratic party says a Portales Fourth of July bash is well overdue.

“I’m glad that Portales is finally doing something for the Fourth of July since most of the surrounding communities do lots of things and have many events. I’m excited that Portales is actually having an event this year and I hope it continues.”

John Haio’s family set up a dunking booth at the bash and agrees that it’s something the whole family can enjoy.

“This is a good event because it brings the family out and gives them something to do,” Haio said.

Along with plenty of food and games, the bash also provided live music that ranged from Christian rock to heavy metal and everywhere in-between.

“They’ve got a wide variety of music,” Haio said. “I think there’s something for everybody.”

The bash led up to the city of Portales’ annual fireworks show Wednesday night.