Fourth of July: It takes a village

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Weather reports calling for rain on Monday morning were thankfully inaccurate, with the annual Fourth of July parade set to begin at 10 a.m.

The parade route took some creative effort to realign with the McCabe Creek road construction in place, but the show did go on. 

The one local group that doesn’t have to follow the traffic flow is the all-volunteer San Juan Formation Squadron which was accompanied this year by members of the formation team of Chile Flight from Albuquerque, N.M. These beloved pilots have become an integral part of our hometown parade. 

There’s not a dry eye around when they take to the sky to kick off the parade.

Crowds were treated to a true hometown parade with families gathered along the route to cheer and wave at friends and neighbors in the parade lineup and to honor our country in celebration.

Town staff, the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club and many dedicated volunteers came together to pull off the best possible event considering the shortened route through town. We left the parade with a warm feeling brought on not only by the sun coming out for the event, but for the true sense of community that our hometown parade provides.

While many were disappointed that the fireworks had to be canceled this year, no one was disappointed when the monsoons started delivering the precipitation that this drought-stricken area has needed so badly.

The Fourth of July celebration included the perfect opportunity to cool off during the Freedom Float down the San Juan River.

The afternoon was topped off with the Pagosa Springs Community Band Patriotic Concert featuring classic marches, military themes and local favorites at The Springs Resort. 

The all-volunteer band is open to any musicians in the community. It features wind, brass, percussion and string players who come from many different musical experiences.  Some of the band members have played in public school bands, others have degrees in music, some have published music and others currently play in large symphonies. The group’s common bond is a love of music and the joy of many people coming together to make beautiful music at various performances throughout the year.

The Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo is produced annually by volunteers of the Western Heritage Event Center (WHEC). The organizers should be proud of the event that has become known as the best traditional American rodeo around. Cowboys and cowgirls from multiple states competed for prizes and prize money as part of the sanctioned rodeo series over three days around the Fourth of July.

It is no easy feat pulling off a three-day event that includes the presentation of flags waving from westerners on horseback, the national anthem, rodeo clowns who are both entertainers and bullfighters, the traditional Daisy BB gun giveaway, the mutton bustin’ contest and traditional rodeo competition. WHEC volunteers make producing such an event look easy. We know firsthand that it is a labor of love preserving the tradition of this rodeo with a long history in Pagosa Country. 

The event was named after Red Ryder, who is the feature cowboy character in the popular long-running western comic strip created by Stephen Slesinger and artist Fred Harman. Red, with his horse Thunder, was a tough cowboy who lived on Painted Valley Ranch in the Blanco Basin right here in our San Juan Mountains.

Volunteers and local employees also made sure that multiple markets were up and running throughout the weekend. The Park to Park Artisan Market included local businesses as well as vendors from outside the area, with the Pagosa Farmers Market and East Side Market providing additional shopping opportunities.

Volunteers with Curtains Up Pagosa have produced over 85 shows in Pagosa Springs for more than a quarter of a century. Since 1989, CUP has been in service to our schools and community as the cornerstone of performing arts production in our schools and in bringing the best of community theater to our mountain town.

Curtains Up Pagosa’s presentation of Pagosa the Beautiful: A Star Spangled Evening featured performances in honor of the community, country, and past and present service members.

Other community members could be found volunteering for Thingamajig Theatre Company and Chimney Rock Interpretive Association over the weekend.

It takes a village to pull off a successful Fourth of July weekend, and our hat is off to all of those who made the Fourth of July such a memorable event.

There are plenty of opportunities for more people to get involved and share in the love of volunteering for our local events throughout the year.

Terri Lynn Oldham House