Bloomfield celebrated our nation’s independence with a bang. For the first time in the city’s history, there was a 20-minute fireworks display that culminated a 2-day Fourth of July celebration.
The fireworks, which were shot off from Foutz Gravel, have been lauded as some of the best in the Four Corners. They were presented by Acme Fireworks and paid for by various sponsorships.
The Fourth of July weekend, however, began with a celebration that recognized our independence. The Four Corners Historic Monument Project dedicated its fourth large granite monument on the lawn at Bloomfield City Hall. The two-slab monument has the Bill of Rights on one side and the Pledge of Allegiance and Liberty Bell on the opposite side. The non-profit organization also added landscaping, including benches, trees and flowers in large potted planters.
“It’s a nice little place to go and read these documents,” said Kevin Mauzy, coordinator of the group. The other monuments include the Ten Commandments, The Gettysburg Address and The Declaration of Independence.
The group is working on a fifth monument in cooperation with the Daughters of the American Revolution. Mauzy said the plan is to honor the Navajo Code Talkers and those who were in the Bataan Death March.
Each monument has been paid for with private dollars donated to the Four Corners Historic Monument Project, and the city of Bloomfield allowed the monuments to be displayed on the city’s lawn.
The latest installment of the Bill of Rights cost $14,000, and the project is still working to raise the funds to cover the costs. According to Mauzy, contributions can be sent directly to Family Craft Memorials c/o Four Corners Historical Monument Project, 6475 East Main St. Farmington, New Mexico 87402, .
The monument was dedicated the morning of July Fourth complete with a visit from George Washington. “Talk about hard to schedule,” Mauzy said, adding it was area resident Keith Bishop, who portrayed the nation’s first president.
After the monument dedication, Bishop led the walking and bicycle parade down Bloomfield’s First Street.
Mayor Scott Eckstein judged the parade, which included area residents walking their pets. Then it was off to the park, where non-profit organizations had informational booths set up, along with activities for children. This was organized by the Bloomfield Civitan, led by Lisa Gomez, who brought the idea of an Independence Day celebration to Eckstein.
“I always wanted to do something to celebrate our independence,” said Eckstein, who with the help of Civitan managed to pull together a celebration that received a lot of support from the community and its neighbors.
Eckstein contacted Acme Fireworks Company, which was doing a show in Albuquerque on July 4, and agreed to come to Bloomfield on July 5. “They promised to do a great show for us, and you cannot believe the positive response we got,” the mayor said. “It was overwhelming.”
He worked with the fire department to set up a safe area from which the fireworks could be launched, and when it was given a thumbs up for safety, the show went on. “What was unique is most residents of Bloomfield could view it from their home,” Eckstein said. He envisions this growing into a bigger event next year, with food vendors in the park and at the soccer fields, so families can make an evening of it.
“We’ve already started working on sponsors for next year,” Eckstein said.
Mauzy also hopes to carry on the tradition of independence with another historical monument, and if all goes as planned the Code Talker monument will be unveiled on July 4, 2015 as well. “Our purpose is to recognize the significance of and preserve these documents in our nation’s history,” he said.