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Cortez council approves July Fourth fireworks show

Fireworks light up the sky over Parque de Vida in Cortez. (Journal file photo)
Four Corners Community Band will perform; residents urged to not set off personal fireworks because of fire danger

The Cortez City Council has approved the town’s largest celebration of the year – the July Fourth fireworks show at Parque de Vida.

Fireworks will be set off a little after sundown about 9 p.m., and the Four Corners Community Band will perform at Centennial Park at 6 p.m. Food and drink vendors will be on hand.

The council also approved a fireworks permit for the Pinto Bean Classic golf tournament at Conquistador Golf Course on Aug. 20.

Cortez Mayor Rachel Medina and City Manager Drew Sanders urged residents to not set off personal fireworks on July 4 because of the extreme fire danger in the region.

“We have a great show at the park, so come on out and enjoy a safe and family-friendly event,” Medina said. “We welcome everyone to enjoy the display.”

A map with information, including specifics about food vendors and the beer garden, where to park and closures will be released in the near future.

The fireworks show is put on by the Cortez Fire Protection District. Irrigation makes the parks a safe place for the fireworks, fire department officials said.

The popular event attracts people from the Four Corners states, and the large Parque de Vida and Centennial parks fill up with thousands of people having picnics, playing ball and barbecuing.

The cost of the fireworks last year was about $18,000 and is covered partially by donations from local businesses, the Cortez Fire Protection District said.

Arranging the sequence of the hundreds of rounds of fireworks is an art form. The show typically lasts about 45 minutes.

The fire department was handed the job from Keenan Ertel in 2021, who ran the show for decades, and has been mentoring the new fire department crew.

Last year, there were 432 different sequences, totaling 1,000 rounds, said Cortez Fire Protection Chief Jay Balfour. Preparation takes three weeks. The fireworks show was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.