FARMINGTON — For the first time since 2019, San Juan County residents will be able to enjoy a full lineup of Freedom Days events this year as the city of Farmington’s annual Fourth of July celebration kicks back into full swing following restrictions. during the COVID-19 the pandemic ended.
The festivities run from Friday July 1 to Monday July 4 and include concerts, fireworks, children’s activities, art exhibits and, of course, a parade.
The celebration begins with the San Juan County Gem & Mineral Show, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at McGee Park, 41 County Road 5568. Organizer Tory Bonner said that around 30 vendors are expected for this year’s event, which he said will attract a crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 visitors over three days.
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The show was held at the Farmington Civic Center, but Bonner said it was moved to McGee Park when the Civic Center underwent a renovation and found a new home at the fairgrounds.
While the show is a magnet for rockhounds and jewelry aficionados, Bonner said it also offers plenty for kids to do, including glow-in-the-dark mineral exhibits, rock polishing exhibits and even a gold panning activity in which children are encouraged to search for crystals.
Food vendors will also be present, he said.
In downtown Farmington, the celebration begins with a TGIF concert at 11 a.m. Friday at Orchard Plaza by Nina Sasaki. The Summer Art Walk will follow at 5 p.m., with galleries, shops and restaurants throughout the neighborhood showcasing the work of dozens of artists and live music presented at Orchard Plaza.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, the E3 Children’s Museum & Science Center, 302 N. Orchard Ave., will host an ice cream social presented by the Farmington Museum Foundation. Event chair Jill McQueary said the event was revived this year after a five-year absence.
“It was so popular and everyone loved it,” she said. “No matter who you talk to, they’re happy you’re reporting it.”
The social includes an ice cream eating contest hosted by KSJE-FM’s Scott Michlin, magic tricks by Barryn Vaughan, yoyo demonstrations by Luke Renner, face painting, hay rides, a raffle, guest appearances by Disney Princesses, a DJ, performances by the cast of the Four Corners Musical Theater Company’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance” and a dip tank that will offer visitors the chance to drop off County Manager Mike Stark , Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett, Police Chief Steve Hebbe and others in a water tank.
McQueary said the event will feature both soft and hard ice cream, the latter offered by Baskin-Robbins, as well as a variety of toppings.
“Hopefully we’ll have several hundred people,” she said.
Next on the list is a free outdoor concert by Chevel Shepherd on the lawn of the Farmington Civic Center, 200 W. Arrington St., on Saturday. The event begins at 5 p.m. with food trucks and a splash pool before Shepherd takes the stage at 7 p.m. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or a blanket and basket, and enjoy a picnic before the show.
Another concert will take place on Sunday at 7 p.m. with Kissmah Brass 2.0 performing a 75-minute program of patriotic and uplifting tunes on the terrace of the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St, according to organizer Mick Hesse. The 10-brass band will perform music by John Philip Sousa, Scott Joplin and others, while the Sacred Voce Choir will join the band to perform “America the Beautiful,” a Ukrainian prayer, and “Always Look on the Bright Side. of Life” by Eric Idle of Monty Python.
At 9:25 p.m. Sunday, the annual Town of Farmington fireworks display begins on Sullivan Hill at the corner of 30e Street and College Boulevard, with the event simulcast on KWYK-FM 94.9.
The slate of Freedom Days activities ends at dusk Monday when the annual Electric Light Parade kicks off around 9 p.m. on Main Street through downtown Farmington. Dozens of floats and walkers will light up the night with colorful and imaginative entrances from Wall Street to South Schwartz Avenue. The event is presented by the Rotary Club of Farmington.
For more information on Freedom Days, call 505-326-7602.
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or [email protected] Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.