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Festivities will continue throughout holiday weekend

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FARMINGTON — Local residents turned out by the thousands to celebrate American independence during Farmington's Freedom Days festivities on July 4, enjoying a day-long party, a concert and, of course, a parade.

The events were all part of Farmington's annual Freedom Days celebration, which started July 3 with the city's fireworks display from Sullivan Hill. The festivities will continue throughout the weekend.

First up on July 4 was the annual Party in the Park at Brookside Park. The event ran from morning through late afternoon and featured food and drink, live music, children's activities and vendors. The event unfolded under cloudless skies and a bright sun, leading many visitors to seek shade under the numerous trees that line the park's borders.

Among the visitors were Crystal and Jarrell Mason of Farmington, and their dog, Wonder. The Masons said they are regulars at the city's Freedom Days celebrations, and they had a full day planned on July 4. After the Party in the Park, they were headed to a movie and were contemplating heading downtown at dusk for the Farmington Rotary Electric Light Parade.

Wonder, an 8-year-old shelter rescue, sporting a pink bandanna around her neck, wasn't bothered by any of the commotion around her. Crystal said Wonder feels more at home among humans than her own kind.

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"She's a people dog," she said, smiling. "She doesn't like other dogs so much. She likes people."

The Masons were headed to the various food and drink tents at the event, with Crystal in search of lemonade and Jarrell interested in finding something to eat. A variety of choices awaited him, including roasted ears of corn, hamburgers, pizza, Navajo tacos, kettle corn and more.

Anissa Powers and her children also were in attendance. She was pushing William, who will be 1 next week, in a stroller while searching for her daughter, who had scampered off when members of the Farmington Fire Department positioned atop an extended truck ladder turned a light spray from a hose on children gathered below.

"Today, our activity was the water," Powers said, smiling.

After locating her daughter, Powers said she and her children would be off to find snow cones.

"We had them at Riverfest, so we're pretty excited they were here," she said.

By the middle of the afternoon, a large crowd had migrated to the First Presbyterian Church, where "A Musical Tribute to America," the latest installment in the Showcase on Dustin concert series, was taking place. Listeners were treated to tunes written by some of America's more accomplished composers, with a variety of musicians taking part. The program included martial music by John Phillips Sousa, ragtime tunes by Scott Joplin, jazz music by Charles "Buddy" Bolden and more.

Proceeds raised from the event, which also featured an ice cream social, were donated to the local nonprofit organization People Assisting the Homeless.

The day's activities were scheduled to conclude at dusk with the annual Farmington Rotary Electric Light Parade on Main Street through downtown Farmington.

Several other holiday activities are planned over the weekend, including the San Juan County Gem and Mineral Show, volleyball and soccer tournaments, an outdoors family fitness festival at Farmington Lake, and more fireworks displays. Check The Daily Times calendar for complete listings.

MORE: Looking for a safe place to shoot off fireworks? McGee Park's parking lot is available

MORE: Four days of Fourth of July firework displays you do not want to miss this year

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610.

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