As Fourth of July celebrations go, Albuquerque’s Freedom 4th Festival is high on the list of things to experience, whether you’re a visitor to the Duke City, or a longtime resident of New Mexico. Converting the Balloon Fiesta Park into a free red, white, and blue celebration of patriotism, the festival is a full day of entertainment, drawing thousands of spectators with children’s activities, local food vendors, a Microbrew Garden, live bands playing throughout the day, and much more, culminating in a fireworks display to end the evening. Freedom 4th Festival fills the sky with wonder starting at 3 p.m. on Independence Day.
Known locally as “the state’s brightest fireworks event,” the festival captures all the excitement and fun of the holiday, bringing in nationally recognized musical acts, along with local businesses with handcrafted products, food trucks, free activities for kids, and libations created by local and regional breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Among the activities for kids are face painting, inflatable bounce houses, a rock-climbing wall, and more. The highlight of the evening, weather permitting, is a 45-minute fireworks display.
As with anything involving large groups of people, the city’s main concern is safety first. Items permitted into the park are folding chairs, service animals, umbrellas, tents, coolers, and strollers. Prohibited items are alcoholic beverages, glass, drug paraphernalia, weapons, BBQ grills, pets, and personal fireworks. Following these guidelines will ensure that everybody has a great time, and the celebration will be a community event to remember. Just be aware that, though the event is free, you may be required to pay for parking. Free shuttle buses, courtesy of ABQ Ride, run from Cottonwood Mall in northwest Albuquerque and Coronado Center in uptown. Run times are usually between 3 and 7:30 p.m., with return trips starting directly after the fireworks display. For more information about the Freedom 4th Festival, visit the website.