Fourth of July celebrations spread out over entire weekend in San Juan County

Fireworks shows will take place each night from July 2-5

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Nearly a dozen holiday events ranging from fireworks displays to a parade and a 5k run are scheduled around San Juan County this weekend as residents prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The action gets underway at dusk Friday, July 2, when the Navajo Nation presents a fireworks show from the Northern Navajo Nation Fairgrounds. Viewers are asked to enjoy the show from inside their vehicles as a social-distancing measure.

Several activities are planned throughout the day on Saturday, July 3, beginning with a new event in Bloomfield. The BlackHeart 5k/fun run is scheduled for 9 a.m. beginning from the Bloomfield Police Department, 711 Ruth Lane, and winding through the streets of Bloomfield until it ends in the parking lot at the Wooden Nickel bar, 900 W. Broadway, where a cornhole tournament will get underway at noon. Registration for each event is $25 at the site.

The Electric Light Parade presented by the Farmington Rotary Club will return to Main Street through downtown Farmington on the night of Sunday, July 4.

The events are being organized by Darrell Priddy, a former Navy corpsman and member of the U.S. Marine Corps' elite BlackHeart infantry unit, with the proceeds benefiting the BlackHeart Group. Priddy intends to turn the events into an annual competition called the BlackHeart Challenge, which would serve as a reunion of sorts, attracting former BlackHearts from across the country.

He plans on using the proceeds raised from this year's inaugural event to build an obstacle course near Bloomfield's Liberty Park that will be part of future competitions. The course would be laid out on rugged terrain and feature such obstacles as mud pits, presenting a significant challenge for participants.

The BlackHeart Challenge would help increase tourism in the area and promote San Juan County's push to emphasize its outdoor recreation potential, Priddy said. It also would encourage the idea of team building for participants in the competition and capitalize on the espirit de corps among BlackHearts, which is the name that members of Fox Company from the 5th Marine Regiment of the First Marine Division gave themselves.

Priddy is hoping to attract 50 to 100 runners for the 5k/fun run and 40 to 60 participants in the cornhole tournament, which will continue throughout the day on Saturday and feature live music from 2 to 11 p.m. There also will be a number of vendors on hand, including food trucks selling everything from Cajun fare to tacos, Frito pie and snow cones.

Priddy said he has heard from former BlackHearts from as far away as Albuquerque and Colorado who may take part in this weekend's festivities, and he hopes that by the time next year's events take place, he is drawing BlackHearts from all over the country.

In the meantime, he said he was gratified by the response of the Bloomfield business community, with dozens of entities stepping forward to sponsor the events and/or offer prizes. Call 505-215-2083 for information about the run or the cornhole tournament.

The City of Farmington's annual Freedom Days celebration will be capped by a fireworks display Saturday at dusk from Sullivan Hill. This file photo shows a cluster of fireworks bursting in the sky during the July 3, 2015 fireworks show.

Freedom Days return

Saturday's schedule also marks the kickoff of the City of Farmington's annual Freedom Days celebration. A Park Play Day will begin at 2 p.m. at Brookside Park, 1801 Brookside Drive in Farmington. Staff members from Farmington's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department will be on hand to lead a variety of lawn games and hand out goodie bags, while there also will be food trucks on hand. Visit fmtn.org/PRCA or call 505-599-1484.

The day's activities will conclude at dusk with the City of Farmington's annual fireworks show from Sullivan Hill west of the intersection of 30th Street and College Boulevard in Farmington. The event will be simulcast on KWYK-FM 94.9. Call 505-326-7602.

San Juan College officials are encouraging residents to watch the show from the college campus at 4601 College Blvd., where the parking lots will be open to visitors beginning at 3 p.m. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, but grills, alcohol, skateboards and bikes are not allowed.

Also taking place at dusk Saturday is a fireworks display from the parking lot of the Ute Mountain Casino Hotel, 3 Weeminuche Drive in Towaoc, Colorado. The event is free and features vendors from around the area. Call 1-800-258-8007.

B-Square Ranch owner Tommy Bolack displays one of the 12-inch shells he will use in his annual fireworks show on the night of July 4 from the cliffs south of Farmington.

Parade and more fireworks on Sunday

The celebrations continue on the evening of Sunday, July 4. The Farmington Rotary Club's Electric Light Parade takes place at 9 p.m. on Main Street through downtown Farmington, with entries expected from dozens of civic and nonprofit groups. Call 505-516-7364.

As the sun goes down, Farmington's Tommy Bolack will present his annual fireworks extravaganza from the cliffs south of Farmington and his B-Square Ranch. The show typically lasts 35 to 40 minutes and attracts a horde of spectators, who watch from the shoulder of U.S. Highway 64 or Crouch Mesa.

At the north end of the county, the Tico Time River Resort just south of the Colorado border on U.S. Highway 550 also will present a fireworks show at dusk on July 4. Full-day passes to the resort are $24 and half-day passes are $15. Call 970-903-0681 or visit ticotimeresort.com.

The holiday festivities will conclude the next day with the Bloomfield Fifth of July Celebration taking place at 7 p.m. Monday, July 5 at the Bloomfield High School practice field. Music will be broadcast on 93.5 FM, and a fireworks display will take place at dusk from the BLM land west of the B Hill.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.