This year the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community hosted its Fourth of July Celebration for the first time at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. More than 700 Community members and families gathered on the soccer field to celebrate the holiday.
“The decision to move the event to Salt River Fields was based on the lack of event space [elsewhere] to hold 500 people, the ability to shoot a fireworks show safely, as well as parking,” said SRPMIC Events Coordinator Yvonne Schaaf. “No noticeable changes were made. We still hosted a free hot dog meal, music, promotional giveaways, a veterans program and a spectacular fireworks show!”
The program began with members of Salt River Bushmasters Post 114 posting the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Denise Vincent, president of the Bushmasters Post 114 Auxiliary.
Next on the program were Bushmasters Vice-Commander Rick Dumas, who gave the opening prayer, and SRPMIC Tribal Council Member Ricardo Leonard, who welcomed the families to the event.
The evening’s special guest was U.S. Congressman David Schweikert, representing Arizona’s Fifth District. He told the crowd he was honored to be a guest at the event.
During the program, the Community recognized Boy Scouts of America Troop 550 for their role in providing leadership skills to the youth. Sam Carter, who is with the Salt River Jr. Reserve Officers Training Corps (Jr. ROTC), was recognized for his work with the students at Salt River High School. Community Member and Vietnam Veteran Burleigh Saunders was recognized for his service to the country and the Community in his past role as commander of Salt River Bushmasters Post 114. All were recognized for their service to the veterans and the Community for the past year.
SRPMIC President Diane Enos also recognized Rousseau Farming Company for its 20 years of service to the Community. Every year the company distributes melons for many Community events, including the Fourth of July Celebration.
Hot dogs and prizes were given to the first 500 people who walked through the doors.
As the sun went down, music was provided by Phoenix’s very own John Eric Band, which played country hits from George Strait and Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” This year the fireworks show began at 9 p.m., a little bit earlier than before, because a thunderstorm in the distance was heading toward the Community.
Independence Day, July 4, is the date on which the British colonies of North America declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776.
The families enjoyed the event and the Salt River Fields location, which provided ample space for everyone to enjoy the celebration and the fireworks show.