ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After two years of disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, Albuquerque is back to its regularly scheduled Fourth of July, Independence Day celebration. Headlined by Grammy-winning country music act Shenandoh, the annual Freedom 4th event is expected to draw out thousands of people to Balloon Fiesta Park for food, music, entertainment and of course, fireworks.
The free event begins tonight (Monday, July 4) at 3 p.m. and will lasted until 10 p.m. The 45-minute fireworks show is expected to start at 9:15 p.m., weather permitting. The rain will take place rain or shine, according to event organizers.
How to get to Balloon Fiesta Park
While the event is free, people planning on driving to Balloon Fiesta Park will be required to pay for parking. City of Albuquerque event organizers say all parking is $10, cash only, per vehicle.
You can get ahead of the curve by pre-paying for parking right now online. Visit this link to the city’s parking vendor, PremiumParking.com, to do so.
The city will also be operating a park and ride option between Balloon Fiesta Park and Albuquerque’s two malls. ABQ Ride will operate free shuttle buses from Cottonwood Mall in northwest Albuquerque and Coronado Center in Uptown Albuquerque between 3 and 7:30 p.m. Return trips to the two park and ride locations will begin immediately after the fireworks show ends, which will likely be around 10 p.m. if the show isn’t delayed.
If you’re taking a park and ride shuttle, don’t bring the bulky items. Tents and canopies are not allowed on park and ride shuttles, according to the city.
A bike valet will be provided by Esperanza Bicycle Education Center at the northeast side of the Balloon Museum. Curious about the route you can take to the park? The New Mexico Touring Society suggests the path along the North Diversion Channel as the easiest way to get to the park. You can get on that path near UNM Hospital and many other places, check out this map hosted on RideWithGPS.com.
What else is happening at Freedom 4th?
According to the city, local music, activities for kids, and food and drink are all a part of the “the state’s brightest fireworks” event. The headlining country music legends of Shenandoah will take the stage at 7:45 p.m. However, before that several other local musical acts are slated to perform:
- 4 p.m. – Nathaniel Krantz (Country)
- 5:15 p.m. – Mondo Vibrations (Reggae)
- 6:30 p.m. – Str8 Shot (New Mexican)
A 15-minute, “Fourth of July Ceremony” is slated to begin 7:30 p.m., just before Shenandoah takes the stage. More information about each musical act can be found on the city’s post about the event at CABQ.gov.
Kids activities are slated to include free inflatable jumpers, two climbing walls, free face painting and more. Parents might consider bringing some extra cash with them too, as souvenir selling vendors are also expected on site.
In terms of food offerings, the city says there will be a beer garden called “The Cantina” will local beer offerings. Several other local food trucks are expected to be at the event, offering delectables like burgers, turkey legs, roasted corn, snow cones.
What you can and can’t bring
The city says people are allow to bring the following items:
- Bags (will be searched on entry)
- Service animals
- Tents or canopies (must be staked down into the ground) (not allowed on park & ride buses)
- Coolers (will be searched upon entry)
These following items are prohibited:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Drug paraphernalia
- BBQ grills
Is the city doing fireworks anywhere else this year?
Adjusting for the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the City of Albuquerque held fireworks shows in multiple parks throughout the city. That isn’t happening this year.
Freedom 4th at Balloon Fiesta Park is the city’s only fireworks event happening in 2022.
Remind me again about the music headliner, who is Shenandoah?
Rising from the 1980’s country music scene, Shenandoah (pronounced: ‘shen-nuhn-dow-uh’) is one of the most revered, longstanding country acts of the last 30 years. Some of their most popular songs include “Two Dozen Roses,” “Church on Cumberland Road,” and “Next to You.” The group is currently on its 35-year anniversary tour.
They won a Grammy in 1995. That was for “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart,” a song they performed with Alison Krauss. You can find their jams on YouTube or most streaming music services.