What a glorious Fourth of July we celebrated in Cortez! While other communities canceled their annual fireworks displays or substituted drones because of extreme fire danger, Cortez experienced all the wonder and magic that only “real fireworks” can generate. The weather was beautiful, and we had record numbers of folks turn out to picnic in the park and watch the display, which seemed especially spectacular this year.
We all enjoy the fireworks, but do you know the history? In 1961, Bill Hutchinson and fellow Rotarians created the nonprofit Cortez Fair Association (no connection with the Fair Board) for the purpose of purchasing fireworks and setting up the annual display. Twenty years ago, Bill approached Keenan Ertel asking that he get licensed and continue the tradition – which Keenan has done with fidelity over the years.
Keenan, Orly Lucero and Wayne Coleman make up the current Cortez Fair Association Board, and they, along with a number of volunteers, raise funds and set up and ignite the display. Fireworks and the substantial insurance premium required to put on this event are paid for through donations from local businesses, the Cortez Retail Enhancement Association and the city of Cortez.
Cortez Parks & Rec heavily watered the park area to reduce fire danger, the Police Department cordoned the area and patrolled throughout the day and evening, and Public Works and the Cortez Fire Department were on standby in the event there was a problem. My thanks to all for a memorable evening.
Mayor Karen Sheek