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A Wonder-ful Fourth of July

Wonder Woman – aka Jennifer Verhoog – rides a unicorn named Smokey down Corrales Road during the village's Fourth of July parade on Thursday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Wonder Woman – aka Jennifer Verhoog – rides a unicorn named Smokey down Corrales Road during the village’s Fourth of July parade on Thursday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

The Statue of Liberty celebrated the Fourth of July by going on a horseback ride through the village of Corrales on Thursday morning.

A smaller version took a couple of alpacas for a stroll – Wonder Woman and a pint-sized Captain America were there, too.

Fireworks light up the sky at the Freedom 4th celebration at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque on Thursday evening. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Fireworks light up the sky at the Freedom 4th celebration at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque on Thursday evening. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

“I heard it was a really good parade, that it had animals and a little bit of everything,” first-time attendee and Albuquerque resident Veronica Abeita said of the village’s annual Independence Day parade.

She wasn’t the only person among the hundreds lining Corrales Road who celebrated the holiday by escaping the big city for a little fun.

“It’s the Fourth of July. We come here every year,” said Bobby Sisneros, another Duke City resident who took in the display with his wife and children. “We used to go to the Rio Rancho parade and somebody told my wife about the Corrales parade. We came out here to check it out and we liked it. It just seems more family friendly. Other parades just seem really big. Here everything’s in a small vicinity, every thing seems so close quartered. It’s a small-town parade. We enjoy that.”

Alexis Lucero-Trujillo, 9, right, and her sister Davina Lucero-Trujillo, 11, play in the Drumfest at Balloon Fiesta Park. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Alexis Lucero-Trujillo, 9, right, and her sister Davina Lucero-Trujillo, 11, play in the Drumfest at Balloon Fiesta Park. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

“It’s the nostalgia of small-town living,” Albuquerque resident Matthew Linson added. “It feels like you step back in time almost.”

In addition to multiple people dressed as Lady Liberty and patriotic superheroes, there were Civil War re-enactors, a few mountain men and a person wearing Revolutionary War regalia. There were no tanks, but there were several firetrucks, many of them vintage. And Girl Scouts and clowns walked the route, as did dogs and other animals.

Seeing the Shriners riding around in small cars was something Albuquerque resident Jacob Pointer and his kids took a shine to.

His wife, Shauna, said watching the event “was better than sitting at home” on the holiday. She liked the music – and there was plenty to be heard.

A woman sang a rendition of “God Bless America” from the flatbed of a truck, while a band from a local music school played classic rock tunes from a trailer being towed.

Diana Lane makes some last-minute adjustments to her 1955 Thunderbird before the parade gets rolling.

Diana Lane makes some last-minute adjustments to her 1955 Thunderbird before the parade gets rolling.

And – as one would expect in Corrales – plenty of people were on horseback, including Val Miera, whose wife, Clara, and son Edmund were among the spectators.

“This is my second year to come to the parade,” said Edmund Miera, an Albuquerque resident. “I came to watch my dad ride in it.”

Indeed, the horses were part of the attraction for Rio Rancho resident Casey Fitzgerald and his 6-year-old son, Aaron.

They liked “the western feel to it, the cowboy stuff.”

“It gives you that small-town action,” he said. “They bring back trucks from yesterday’s generation, things like that. It’s a good thing for him to see, how things used to be, the culture of the West.”

Watching the procession was only the beginning of the day’s activities as many people were ready to fill their bellies with barbecue and have a blast watching fireworks.

“We have 25 coming to my house for a barbecue,” said Clara Miera, who moved to Corrales a couple of years ago. “We’re going to watch the fireworks from Balloon Fiesta Park from our house.”

And while Seddah Moya was attending the Corrales parade for the first time, her family had its sights set on the Albuquerque Isotopes ball game later in the day, something she said they do every year on the Fourth.

Christen Grey, left, and Lisa Smith wear their patriotic hats while attending the Freedom 4th celebration on a hot day.

Christen Grey, left, and Lisa Smith wear their patriotic hats while attending the Freedom 4th celebration on a hot day.

For those who preferred to spread out, lie down and dig into some deep-fried fair food, Albuquerque decked out Balloon Fiesta Park in red white and blue for the Freedom 4th celebration.

Kids and their families swarmed around bounce castles at the south end of the field before tumbling their mesh doors and running to get their hands on funnel cakes and fries.

Before sunset, 8-year-old Arianna Mace stayed cool by tossing a cup of cold water on her head behind a rock-climbing wall in the middle of the sweltering field. She had started her holiday celebrations early in the morning.

“I heard a firecracker boom and made a tiny American flag,” Mace said as she waited for the famed fireworks show to light up the sky.

The fireworks finale at Thursday night’s Freedom 4th celebration illuminates the crowd covering Balloon Fiesta Park.

The fireworks finale at Thursday night’s Freedom 4th celebration illuminates the crowd covering Balloon Fiesta Park.

“I come here every year,” said Aaron Toledo, who was decked out in festive attire adorned with flags.”This is the safer place to enjoy the fireworks. I like it here. Great food, great stuff.”

Kim Hardy was hanging out near some of that stuff, including police officers on horses and food trucks that lined up along the park, with a tall cup of cold juice.

“It’s not just the finale – the fireworks are great the whole time,” she said. “To sit here on the grass and everything, and just look up at them, it’s wonderful.”

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