Fun and funky: A Fourth of July Parade like no other

By Virginia L. Clark
Posted 6/29/18

Arroyo Seco's Independence Day parade is a fun and funky way to celebrate our national holiday.It's a party, pure and simple. And animals are back! Burros, horses, …

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Fun and funky: A Fourth of July Parade like no other


Arroyo Seco's Independence Day parade is a fun and funky way to celebrate our national holiday.

It's a party, pure and simple. And animals are back! Burros, horses, chihuahua-packing motorcycles, dancing dogs, you name it. No spooked youngsters here. If a Seco parade entry includes an animal, we'll get to see it, hip, hip, hooray!

What started as a real doo-dah parade, with the odd bandana and "peace" hand-signs years ago, has graduated to full-fledged flatbed floats, tricked-out hot rods, Harleys, muscle cars, mini cars, tractors and wagons, not to mention youth acrobatics and even stilt-walking fairies, giants and royalty. One of last year's winners (yet again) was a dragon presented by Taos Children's Theater - a total hummer.

"This year we're doing 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and everyone will be in costume," said TCT producer-director Karen Thibodeau. "We're collaborating again with Taos Youth Ballet, and some of them will also be on the float." TCT's summer production will be at the Taos Community Auditorium July 14-15.

Maybe even more exciting than having animals back in the lineup is having The Damn Band's Mina Tank belt out the national anthem at 10 minutes to noon, the spine-tingling signal to start the parade.

"We give out four cash prizes every year for most creative, most patriotic, best children's entry and best on wheels," said Seco parade committee member Patricia Reza. "We're hoping to see marching bands this year."

The parade starts at noon, but at 11 a.m. sharp, everything on wheels from fire trucks, tractors, unicycles, tricycles and motorcycles lineup first at the Seco/Valdez Community Center, followed by two-leggeds, with four-leggeds bringing up the rear - a strategy that keeps cowboy boots and flip-flops free of excremental asides.

This year, too, riders must keep animals at the community center, not roaming the crowd while waiting their turn in the parade.

People can sign up to parade until 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. It's free and registration folks will be at the staging areas at Arroyo Seco-Valdez Community Center and alongside State Road 150, all located at the north end of town.

Artist and co-owner of Santos y Mas with husband Pat Reza and brother Ray Romero, Patricia Reza picked this year's judges and Grand Marshal, Hondo-Seco Fire Chief Edmundo Jaramillo. The judges sit up on a flatbed truck in front of the Arroyo Seco village signage at the Taos Cow.

Parade Judge Marie Bush recently moved from Oakland, California, to Arroyo Seco, where she works as a business consultant, helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach their full potential. In her free time, Bush loves to "travel, cook nourishing food and hike up mountains."

Parade Judge Rose Reza is executive director of Taos Entrepreneurial Network, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting economic growth in Northern New Mexico. In her free time she farms and manages her orchard called "Amelia's Orchard," an Airbnb she says is "the best kept secret in the beautiful Valdez Valley." After being in corporate America for over 30 years, she returned to her native roots and is happy to be home

Parade Judge Marko Schmitt is a Taos family person and a business advisor for the University of New Mexico-Taos. An entrepreneur himself, he grew up in Seattle and later "ran away and joined the circus as a tightrope walker, fire-eater and clown," he said in an email," all handy skills for helping people start and grow Taos businesses.

Wear a hat, good walking shoes, bring some sunscreen and water, and be prepared for a good time Taos style.

KNCE-FM 93.5 radio will broadcast the whole crazy thing. Come prepared for lunch and snacks of hot dogs, Frito pies, chile dogs, Taos Cow ice cream, Freshie's juices, Abe Cantina's snow cones and so much more. Check it out at visitseco.com.

Independence Day around the Enchanted Circle

Many communities throughout the Enchanted Circle have terrific family-friendly events, so don't limit yourself to just one! Arrive an hour early with umbrellas, hats, sunscreen and folding chairs for the best experience. A catcher's mitt for flying, steaming tinfoil wrapped hot dogs wouldn't hurt either.

10 a.m.-1 p.m. Red River Parade

The largest parade in Northern New Mexico, with more than 100 floats, fire engines, four-wheelers, horses, wagons, water guns and more. Live music and good old-fashioned family fun at Brandenburg Park; then the annual July 4th Egg Toss and family games at the Red River Community House. More at redriverchamber.org.

Noon Arroyo Seco Parade

Get here at 11 a.m. for best parking and gawking spots; 11:30 a.m. Highway Detour - State Road 150 closes and detours to State Road 230. Festivities run until 4 p.m. See visitseco.com.

2 p.m. Taos Ski Valley Parade & Duck Races

After the Arroyo Seco parade, head north up State Road 150 to the front side of Taos Ski Valley for live music, the parade and duck races. Noon-2 p.m. Christof Brownell plays the Stray Dog Cantina deck; noon rubber-ducky registration; 2 p.m. Fourth of July Parade at Sutton Place; 2:30-3 p.m. Duck Races & Awards; 2-4:30 p.m. Out of Nowhere plays the Resort Plaza, plus a Firewise-prevention tent, firetruck demos and explorations for the kids. Village shops also open. See taosskivalley.com

2 p.m. Eagle Nest Parade, barbecue (fireworks TBA)

Many Enchanted Circle visitors do as many parades as they can, including Eagle Nest's wild parade. Grab lunch at the Eagle Nest Volunteer Fire Department Barbecue ($11 a plate). Reserving tickets helps fire folk determine quantities for serving). Activities are 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.  And there will be fireworks on the Fourth of July over Eagle Nest Lake, an event approved after a meeting between the three Moreno Valley fire departments, State Forestry and Eagle Nest Chamber of Commerce.  Visit facebook.com/EagleNest.

5 p.m. Town of Taos Picnic & Fireworks

At Kit Carson Park, 211 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, celebrate in the beer garden. Music by The Family Stone, Baracutanga, Nosotros and more. Fireworks at dusk hosted by the town of Taos and the Taos Volunteer Fire Department. Bring your own blanket and picnic dinner. See Page 4 for details. Visit facebook.com/townoftaos.


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