With temperatures reaching the mid to upper 90s, New Mexico’s summer is in full stride. This means that lake days, barbecues and camping trips are upon us. For many Americans, the Fourth of July is a holiday that is key to the summer experience. This week, communities across the nation will be celebrating America’s Day of Independence. 

For members of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho communities, the Fourth of July is a holiday where block parties and backyard get-togethers line almost every street. Explosions light up the air decorating the city skyline. Since aerial fireworks are far from legal, instead of risking the danger of the shells yourself, here’s a couple Fourth of July celebrations to attend: 

Albuquerque — Freedom Fourth 

Located at Balloon Fiesta Park, Freedom Fourth is the largest firework show in the state. Presented by True Health New Mexico, the celebration begins at 3 p.m. and features a variety of activities for people of all ages. Admission in to the celebration is free. 

With music starting at 4 p.m., patrons are invited to bring a blanket and get comfortable on the fresh-smelling grass. Performances include Tylor Brandon, Sister Mary Mayhem, and Joseph General and High Vibration. At 7:35 p.m. Robyn Christian, an Albuquerque singer/songwriter, will perform The Star Spangled Banner to kick-off the festivities. 

Following the National Anthem, the American-roots, country-rock group Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will take the stage. According to the city of Albuquerque, the band's accolades include multi-platinum and gold records, and strings of top ten hits such as "Fishin' In The Dark" and "Mr. Bojangles.” By 9:15 p.m. the Firework show will begin, featuring mortars, flares and shells until 10 p.m.

During the festival, the 21 and older crowd is invited to attend the Microbrew Garden. There, people can try selections from 17 companies including Boxing Bear Brewing Co., Starr Brothers Brewing Co., Tractor Brewing Co., and more. For the kids, jumpers, rock walls, and face painting will be provided.

Rio Rancho — Parade and Fireworks Extravaganza

Beginning at 10 a.m., members of the Rio Rancho community are invited to attend the Fourth of July Parade which starts at the City Center in Rio Rancho, NM. From there, the parade will travel near Santa Ana Star Center.

The parade offers a bike decorating competition for children and their parents.  For anyone interested, bike registration begins at 9 a.m. in the upper parking lot just southwest of the Santa Ana Star Center. The bikes decorated the Best, Most Patriotic, and Most Original will be awarded prizes for three separate age groups.

At 6:00 p.m., the party will move to Loma Colorado Park, Rio Rancho, NM. There live music and food vendors will decorate the park with local sounds and flavors. According to the city of Rio Rancho, blankets and coolers are permitted, but no glass or alcoholic beverages are allowed. 

Fireworks will start at 9:00 p.m. 

Luisa Pennington is the culture editor of the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @_luisapennington_