Fourth of July fireworks erupt in the sky during the Roswell Sertoma Mike Satterfield Memorial Fireworks Extravaganza at Cielo Grande Recreation Area, Wednesday night. Mark Wilson Photo
All across Roswell families and friends gathered to celebrate the birth of the nation and the Declaration of Independence. Groups as large as 20 to 30 set up seats along North Montana Avenue in anticipation of the fireworks.
Wednesday night’s Sertoma Club Michael Satterfield Memorial Fireworks Extravaganza at Cielo Grande Park went off with a bang.
Even the weather seemed to be cooperating, with patches of blue sky and clouds holding back the worst of the heat and a few fat rain drops, full of promise.
The Elks held its annual Veterans Barbeue at Elks Lodge No. 969 to honor our area veterans and their families. They started serving barbecue beef, rolls, beans, potato salad and all the fixings at 4 p.m., and by 5:30, they had fed more than 400 people.
Pam Levendoski said, “My husband and I have been coming here for years. My husband is a Vietnam vet. I don’t see how they do it. They are so generous to feed all these people.”
Not even the rain dampened the celebratory spirits. One man who stood in the door greeting people as they came into the Lodge marveled, “Look at the rain. Isn’t it great?”
Two young gentlemen braved the brief downpour and held the doors to the Lodge open for new arrivals.
Around 5:30 p.m., the heavens opened when the Chaves County Community Band & Youth Band were scheduled to play, but most people remained huddled in roofed picnic areas and continued to eat their holiday fare.
When the rain subsided, Cielo Grande Park was decked out with bouncy castles, concession stands and slides, fun for everybody. The skateboard area was filled with youthful talent.
Local bands took over the entertainment at 6:30 p.m., with a wide selection of music, from Mariachi to country and western, and rock, with Santana’s “Evil Ways” and “Kansas City” belted out with enthusiasm.
Roswell not only celebrated Independence Day, it also commemorated New Mexico’s Centennial. Roswell Parks and Recreation Department brought in singer and recording artist and Miss New Mexico 2009 Nicole Miner. Miner works with the organization Saving Lives: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Miner‘s mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2003 and she has devoted herself to the cause ever since.
Mayor Del Jurney provided the introduction. “When we celebrate, we’re not just celebrating here in Roswell, the whole nation is celebrating.
It’s how we got here. We are still one nation under God.” He expressed his appreciation to veterans and all the men and women fighting overseas.
As Miner sang “God Bless America,” fireworks across the town lit the night sky, amid occasional bursts of lightning.
The only sour note was that some forgot the city’s request not to bring personal fireworks, much to the dismay of their neighbors who found themselves under a shower of sparks and ash.
By 9 p.m., people were streaming into the park for the main event, which began to the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ of the audience. This year’s Extravaganza was a joint effort sponsored by the Roswell Sertoma Club, and the Roswell Fire, Parks and Recreation, Police and Street departments.