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By JoAnn Laird
Special to The PREVIEW
The start of an exciting array of events to celebrate the birth of our nation will begin in downtown Pagosa Springs on Friday, July 4, at 10 a.m., as the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club holds its annual Independence Day parade.
Once again, we are thrilled that the daring men in their flying machines, the San Juan Formation Flying Team, will kick off the festivities as they fly over the start of the parade at exactly 10 a.m. This group of experienced pilots with diverse aviation backgrounds is always a thrill to see in the skies above Pagosa. The team will fly over the parade route not just once, but twice. It will reform over the fairgrounds and pass over the parade route on its return to Stevens Field.
The parade entries have been posted, the judges are ready to award prizes in four categories and the town police, Mounted patrol and Rotarians are at the ready to ensure a morning of safety, fun and excitement. If you haven’t registered and still want to place an entry in the parade, you may do so at the registration desk in the high school parking lot. Be sure to get there early to complete the paperwork.
For all those lucky enough to attend this year’s parade, be sure to enthusiastically welcome the grand marshal, Mary Jo Coulehan. You can’t miss her, as she will be at the beginning of the parade, right behind the American Legion flag bearers.
As a reminder, all parade entries must access the high school parking lot for staging and check-in by way of Hot Springs Boulevard to Apache Street or U.S. 160 to 6th Street. U.S. 160 and 8th Street will be closed to all traffic, except to residents of 8th Street and adjoining streets, starting at 8 a.m. All other streets with access to U.S. 160, starting at 2nd Street on the east side of town, all the way through downtown to 8th Street, will be closed to traffic beginning at 9:30 a.m. Hermosa Street will also be closed. Through traffic will once again be detoured through town via Lewis Street.
Per town regulations, flatbed trailers/viewing stands will not be allowed to park along the parade route on U.S. 160 after midnight on July 3. In addition, all parking will be prohibited on the north side of the 400 block of Pagosa Street/San Juan Street from Goodman’s Department Store to the Bell Tower after 2 a.m. on July 4 until the parade is over. Parking on the 100 block of 1st Street and the 100 block of Lewis Street is also prohibited after 2 a.m. on July 4 until the end of the parade. Any parked vehicles will be towed at owner’s expense.
All parade entries have been advised that candy or other items cannot be handed out until the entry passes Lewis Street at the bell tower, to guarantee the safety of any child who may run out in front of the detoured vehicles.
So get out the sunscreen, folding chairs and wave your flag at your favorite entry. This year’s entries should be quite exciting, as the “Service Above Self” theme will surely bring about some crazy examples, as only Pagosa can do. As always, this is a very special event in Pagosa and it would just be awful if you weren’t there.