For some, Independence Day is nothing but a 1996 Will Smith sci-fi flick (here's to you, Randy Quaid), but for most others it's a chance to celebrate anything and everything


and let their inner red, white and blue shine. Be it a backyard grill fest, or a full-on fireworks bonanza, 4


celebrations are as American as rhubarb pie (you though I'd say apple, right?) and regional options are not just aplenty, but also chock-full with patriotism, cow milking and oh, yeah...pancakes. ---

Here we go:

Santa Fe

In mid-June, Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties banned the sale and use of most fireworks, which means no flamboyant displays in town this Fourth of July. Party poopers—just kidding. Anyway, the annual Pancakes on the Plaza, now in its 37th year, is still operating for seven bucks a head (six if you buy tickets in advance). Also, visit the History Museum to see the unofficial 47-star flag that  commemorates our state's centennial. The exhibit runs through November.

Rio Rancho

Independence Day kicks off with a float parade and a bike decorating contest for children at 10 am, followed by a ceremony at the Veterans Monument Park. Youth teams  also prove how American they are by competeing in the 4th Annual Corbin Hayes Flag Football Tournament, which is held in Rion Rancho High School from 9 am to 8 pm. In the afternoon, a veteran's recognition ceremony takes place at Loma Colorado Park, followed by a free fireworks display.


Wake up early and tire yourself out in the Annual Smokey Bear Fun Run, which runs from 7:30 am until noon. Then maybe take a nap before dropping by Valle del Sol in nearby Carrizozo for barbecue at 5 pm. When dusk arrives, look up to see fireworks illuminating the sky. Or if all of these seem tiring, just spend all day in the Rainbow Derby Trails in the Ruidoso Downs Race Track. General admission is free.


Taos Ski Valley hosts a float parade at 2 pm, in which kids who arrive early can ride a fire truck running full lights and sirens. Afterward, Kathy and the Cruisers plays live at Sierra del Sol during a rubber duck race for kids and kids-at-heart. And after postponing it last year, Taos brings back its fireworks display, which starts at 9 pm. It's sponsored by the Volunteer Fire Department, so it's definitely going to be safe.


The 90th Annual Maverick Club Rodeo, which features roping, barrel racing, bull riding, wild cow milking and other cowboy-ish things, takes place all day in the Maverick Rodeo Grounds. This event is perfect for both experienced or aspiring cowboys and cowgirls. Don't forget your hat.


Barbecue, local beer, regional Americana music, bands, hot dog-eating contest, watermelon-eating contest, cookie-decorating contest, more bands, dancing, pies. July 4 at Lamy Railroad and History Museum. Seriously, what more can you ask for?

Las Cruces

Northern New Mexicans have two reasons why they head south. First is to celebrate Independence Day by partying in Las Cruces' Electric Light Parade the night before, relaxing in La Vina Winery's annual Fourth of July Country Picnic from 11:30 am to 6 pm, listening to musical performances in the Street Fest during the afternoon, and viewing fireworks at night. The second? Who cares when the first one is more than enough?

Additionally, parades run in Red River and in Arroyo Seco, alongside fireworks displays in Santa Rosa, Chama and Angel Fire. No matter where in New Mexico you are, enjoy your celebration of America's Independence.

And there you have it. How will you be celebrating the Fourth this year?

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.