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Annual Freedom Days celebration takes place in Brookside Park

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FARMINGTON — Community members celebrated the Fourth of July with activities, entertainment and food at the Party in the Park.

The annual event, which is part of Farmington's Freedom Days celebration, was held at Brookside Park today.

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Among those showing their patriotism by wearing red, white and blue were Farmington residents Damian Chevarillo and Suzy Lee.

"Fourth of July for me is family, freedom, fireworks and food," Chevarillo said. "Just experiencing this here. You see all these people here, a lot of them with the American flag."

Lee, whose ensemble included patriotic lady bug earrings, said the holiday is intended to remember America's forefathers and those who continue to serve the country.

"It means freedom. It means being able to enjoy life as we want to do it," she said.

Numerous activities were offered at the event, including live music, games, a water balloon fight and a pizza-eating contest.

While many people visited information and vendor booths, others sought comfort from the high afternoon temperatures underneath trees and umbrellas.

Farmington resident Cherilynn Benally was attending the event for the first time with her daughter and her son while her husband was at work.

Photos: City of Farmington's annual fireworks display

"We're enjoying Fourth of July," Benally said.

She stood in the shade and watched her son, Christian Benally, attempt to roll on the grass while inside a giant inflatable ball.

Afterward, Christian Benally said the activity was fun but it was hot inside the ball.

When asked why he decided to try it, the 9-year-old said, "Well, because my friend told me to do something like this. He said I had to do it to see if I was tough or not."

At the all-ages skateboarding competition, Braden Johnson started his final 40-second run with a trick on the vert ramp.

Johnson's demonstration of skill, which included a front side 180, earned him first place in the 10 and younger category.

"I worked super hard to get here," he said.

The contest had 23 skaters competing in three groups — ages 10 and younger, ages 11-14 and ages 15 and older — and each contestant completed two runs.

Natalie Spruell, the Sycamore Park Community Center manager, said the competition is one way the center shows support for skaters, and the contestants were judged on wow factor, creativity, skill and heart.

"You like to see somebody go out there and give it all they have, so I like to judge on heart," Spruell said adding no stipulations are given for the type of tricks performed.

"Whatever they give us, we judge," she said.

Joshua Johnson, 8, has been skateboarding for eight months, and this was his first time in the competition.

"I like that you can learn new tricks," he said about the sport.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

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