Celebrating Independence Day in several new ways


By Terri Lynn Oldham House

Over the past few months, we have missed out on several traditional events due to the pandemic. One thing that this pandemic has made clear to us is that we value and appreciate those traditions; however, there are still many reasons to celebrate our many freedoms throughout the upcoming weekend.

This year’s celebration looks a bit different than those of the past several decades. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our traditional Fourth of July Parade and Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo had to be canceled, but that won’t stop the spirit of Pagosa Country citizens. 

Festivities kick off today at 2 p.m. with a parade for the residents of Pine Ridge Extended Care Center. 

On Friday, another new event is planned. The Back the Blues Cruise will be held to show support for local law enforcement agencies.

You will find new twists on an old favorite this year. Park 2 Park Artisan and Food Market has been refashioned and spread out even further to allow for ample social distancing. 

The American Legion Post 108 will be holding its flag ceremony on the Fourth of July. This ceremony will include the running up of the flag with a bugle call and retiring it with “Taps.”

A rifle salute on the foot bridge and a flyover by the San Juan Squadron is also planned for 10 a.m.

The daring men in their flying machines, the San Juan Squadron Formation Flying Team, will continue the flyover to Pine Ridge and then to the Veteran’s Memorial Park.

The New Thought Center for Inspirational Living will be holding an Independence Day Music Breakout Concert event at the Best Western Lodge on U.S. 160 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Fourth of July. This will be a ticketed event.

One of the coolest new events will be the Freedom Float. For the Fourth of July, residents and visitors are encouraged to float down the San Juan River, when it’s warm enough, and show off some patriotic pride and colors.

Saturday is the Fourth of July, the day we celebrate the birth of our nation. It’s a day of backyard barbecues, reunions and, when darkness falls around 9:30 p.m., the traditional fireworks will light up the sky downtown near the athletic fields at the high school in South Pagosa. Of course, this event is dependent upon fire restrictions and weather conditions. A map of parking areas can be found in this week’s PREVIEW.

If you haven’t experienced a Pagosa Springs Fourth of July celebration before, locals will be the first to advise you to be patient as thousands of people descend upon our town to discover just what it is that makes Pagosa Springs the best place to be for Independence Day. 

Traffic will be heavy and slow. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going. It’s similar to arriving early to the airport, except TSA agents won’t be there to frisk you. 

And, if you prefer to get away from it all, there is always hiking, fishing, biking and camping in the mountains and wilderness surrounding our beautiful town.

With all activities, please maintain social distancing. Masks are strongly encouraged and appreciated, but not everyone can wear one. Please be understanding of others; practice patience and kindness. 

For additional details on these events, please see this week’s PREVIEW. 

We hope that some of these new events can come back next year when the Fourth of July Parade and Red Ryder Roundup return. 

We have plenty to celebrate this Independence Day, and Pagosans certainly know how to celebrate America’s birthday.

Let’s make it a fun, happy and safe celebration.