4th of July in Ruidoso

4th of julyActivities Abound on the 4th of July

4th of July. The mere mention of that date brings to mind ice cream socials, barbecues, and – of course – fireworks!

There are places to see fireworks this year on the celebration of the birth of our nation, but there are so many other things to see and do, as well. Dances, rodeos, art festivals and parades clog the calendar for the 4th of July weekend, both in Lincoln County and a little bit beyond.

The big marquee event, of course, is the annual fireworks display at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero. As always, get there early, because parking is at a premium. Things kick off at 3 p.m. with concessions, jumping balloons and live music. It’s free to watch that night’s fireworks, but it costs $10 for concessions and jumping balloons. Even if you can’t get your car in, there’s a shuttle service running to the inn from the Casino Apache Travel Center on Highway 70 and other locations.

The only other place you can see fireworks legally in this fire-wise county is Carrizozo, with the pyrotechnics provided by the Carrizozo Volunteer Fire Department starting at dusk. Get to the corner of 11th Street and D Avenue for a barbeque with all the fixin’s. Tickets are available at 12th Street Coffee, Heart of the Raven, Ruidoso Chamber of Commerce and Carrizozo Visitors Center. Cost is $7 pre-sale, $8 at the gate.

From one American summer tradition to another, we’re talking about rodeo. There’s two going on during the Fourth – The Smokey Bear Stampede in Capitan and the Mescalero Apache Ceremonial and Rodeo. Both are part of wider events that feature several things to see and do besides the rodeo. In Capitan, there’s the both the rodeo and ranch rodeo, a youth ranch rodeo, a Western Marketplace open daily until 10 p.m., and dances and concerts throughout the weekend.

There’s also the Smokey Bear Fun Run, near Highway 246 North of Capitan. There are divisions for all age groups and the race starts at 7:30 a.m. on July 4. Check in is at 6:30 a.m. For more information, call 575-354-2748.

In Mescalero, things start of July 2 with the Mescalero Celebration Parade, starting at 10 a.m., with the theme of “Honoring Youth Through Culture and Tradition.” Daily and nightly events at the Mescalero arena off of Highway 70 include the Dance of the Apache Maidens, Dance of the Mountain Gods, traditional and modern games and Native American arts and crafts. The rodeo starts at 1 p.m. each day. There’s also a Mescalero Apache Fire Rescue Challenge Run on July 3 at 8 a.m. along the Inn of the Mountain Gods walking path. Registration is at 7 a.m. Call Nate or Dionne at 575-464-3473 for more information.

If it’s just music and food you’re after for the 4th of July weekend, a good place to go is All American Park in Ruidoso Downs for the All American Mountain Festival. It’s free to attend from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 2-4.

Finally, there’s the Art Loop, in which Lincoln County artists open their homes and studios to the public to sell their work and give demonstrations. Everything from jewelry to ceramics, weaving to wood turning is featured. For more information, visit www.artloop.org.

—Todd Fuqua