White Sands Missile Range will kick-off the Fourth of July weekend with a “Stars and Stripes Celebration” June 30 at Volunteer Park beginning at 3:30 p.m. and end with a Bell Gym sponsored Independence Day 7K Run July 6 starting at 6:30 a.m.
The Fourth of July kick-off, which features patriotic contests, carnival games and music, has been held for the last three years and is open to the WSMR community.
“It’s been a great way to kick-off the fourth of July,” said Lisa Frankson, Morale Welfare and Recreation coordinator for the event. “It’s just a family-fun event.”
The kick-off will feature a kid’s zone with face painting, crafts, bubble wands, a giant-water slide and two bouncy houses. The WSMR Fire Department will also bring out the large slip-and-slide for the event. Arts and Crafts will be offering free patriotic tie-dye shirt classes and free crafts for kids.
There will also be a hot dog and a giant pickle-eating contest, a “Most Patriotic” contest, three-legged sack and bouncy horse races. Winners from each event will be able to choose from a prize table of patriotic-themed prizes. The prizes vary from jumbo patriotic gliders, a bean-bag toss game, stars and stripes footballs and several smaller prizes. This will be the first year a water balloon fight will also be offered at the event.
“There will be plenty of events and activities available to keep people cool,” Frankson said.
WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin authorized civilian and military employees 59 minutes of administrative leave to attend the event and highly encouraged leave for July 1. Contract personnel should contact their appropriate contracting officer to inquire if the 59 minutes applies to them.
Leadership is asked to keep all range activities to an absolute minimum to allow the entire workforce the opportunity to participate in the kick-off activities.
“All of Team White Sands is invited to participate,” Frankson said. “Directors and commanders are encouraged to fully support this occasion, mission requirement permitting.”
Food will be provided by the Frontier Club at a discounted rate during the event. Guests will be able to purchase a combination package of a hot dog, chips, a drink and a Rocket Pop Popsicle for $3. There will also be beer for sale starting at 3:30 p.m.
Due to heightened security measures, Goddard Avenue will be blocked from Aberdeen Avenue to Ripley Street. The street closure will prevent parking in the area directly around Volunteer Park.
Parking will be available south of Volunteer Park off of Martin Luther King Boulevard, which is located behind the RV campground, and at the Frontier Club parking lot. Vehicles with handicap plates or stickers will be allowed to park in designated handicap spaces in the Volunteer Park area.
Seating and covered pavilions are available but limited, Frankson said she encourages guests to bring their own chairs or they can rent tables and chairs from the Community Center and shade shelters from Outdoor Recreation.
Following the long weekend of celebrations, Bell Gym will offer a way to help get you back into the routine of working out by offering an Independence Day 7K Run for the community July 6. The run will begin at 6:30 a.m. at the desert trail near Bell Gym. Free electrolyte drinks and water will be provided and sign up ahead of time is not required.
“It’s a way for you to be able to run off all of the holiday food you ate over the weekend,” said Demi Lager, Bell Gym recreation assistant in charge of the event.
On July Fourth, residents and community members will be allowed to pop fireworks at Volunteer Park from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The WSMR Fire Department and Emergency Medical Personnel will be on hand in case of an emergency. The fire department urges the WSMR community to always practice safety measures when dealing with fireworks and to stay away from flammable material like dry leaves and trees.
To rent a shade shelter, call Outdoor Recreation at (575) 678-1713.
To rent tables and chairs, call the Community Center at (575) 678-7991.
For additional information on the “Stars and Stripes” event call Morale and Welfare at (575) 678-4654.