Freedom 4th celebrations return to Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The City of Albuquerque’s “Freedom 4th” is returning in full swing Monday, July 4, with food, fireworks and more.

“It’s even more special this year because we’re finally able to do it together,” said CABQ Chief Administrative Officer Lawrence Rael.

Officials held smaller celebrations, only featuring fireworks, during the pandemic. This year, in-person festivities are making a comeback at Balloon Fiesta Park. Officials say gates will open at 3 p.m.

“We’ve got live music starting at 4 p.m.,” said Dr. Shelle Sanchez, the city’s Director of Arts and Culture. “We’ve got our headliner, which is Shenandoah.”

The event also includes bounce houses, a rock wall, face painting and a beer garden. All of it is free, except for food and parking.

“There’ll be lots of food trucks, but you can also bring in your own food, just no glass–no glass bottles, and you can’t bring in any alcohol,” Sanchez said.

The city will also offer free Park and Ride services in the Cottonwood and Coronado Mall parking lots.

City officials hope this event will deter folks from lighting fireworks on their own. Even with recent rain, the Bosque, Foothills and Open Space areas are currently in Stage Two fire restrictions. That means no open flames, campfires, smoking or fireworks.

If you do plan to put on your own show, officials ask that you do it safely.

“Fireworks should only be used on paved or barren areas away from homes, vegetation, and combustible materials,” AFR Fire Marshal Kris Romero said.

Romero also said, if a firework has a “warning” label on it, it is illegal within the city limits.

“If the label says, ‘caution,’ it’s correct within the city limits,’ he said. “One exception to this rule are the large box of fireworks that can be purchased from the big box stores like Walmart. Due to the quantity of fireworks within those packages. They have a warning label on them. Once you open them up individually, they are legal.”

Romero added that any firework that goes higher than 10 feet, outside a six-foot radius, and are louder than a pop gun, are illegal.”

If you see someone lighting illegal fireworks, officials ask that you report it on the ABQ311 app or website, citing a specific address or the nearest cross streets. They say not to call 911.

“Be aware that if you’re caught using illegal fireworks within the city limits, you may be fined up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail,” Romero said.