By Emilie Hornak: CNJ CORRESPONDENT
Gearing up for four days of fun, fireworks and food, the Clovis-Curry County Chamber of Commerce is setting final plans for this year’s Fourth of July festivities, dubbed “2004 Cannon and Clovis Salute to Freedom.”
“We’re calling the celebration the ‘Salute to Freedom’ because we’re welcoming home about 200 of our troops in June,” said Chamber Executive Director Ernie Kos. “They’ve been defending our freedom, they’ve been fighting the war for us, and now they’re coming home.”
Slated to get the celebration started is the all-active duty U.S. Air Force entertainment group Tops in Blue. Taking the stage at Cannon Air Force Base’s Doc Stewart Park at 8 p.m. on July 1, the group will offer a bit of everything through its variety show performance, Kos said.
“Their mission is to perform for the military and their families throughout the world. And they’re really amazing,” Kos said. “The military has opened the show up to the community.”
Following the Tops in Blue performance, a fireworks display will light up the sky for onlookers.
More entertainment will take place on the base July 2-3, but access is limited to base personnel and their families.
Family Fun Day, set for July 4, is open to the community.
Live bands, food vendors and plenty of games for the kids will be on hand starting at 5 p.m. in Greene Acres Park.
The Chamber is in the process of recruiting a variety of local bands to entertain folks during the event. “Salute to Freedom” committee member Pam Atherton said she is seeking local musicians interested in performing 20-minute sets between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on July 4. Eight bands with family-oriented sets will be chosen she said.
“This is (the bands’) way of saluting the troops, a way they can give their thanks,” Atherton said.
Spreading a little light and joy that evening, the Chamber is also presenting the annual “Smoke on the Water” fireworks display.
The 20-minute fireworks show will feature an illuminating arrangement of electronic fireworks synchronized with music that will be simulcast on KTQM, said Smoke on the Water coordinator Tom Martin.