Food, music start off county centennial celebrations

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Little Texas took the stage Saturday at the Curry County Events Center as the closing show for the day of celebration. County manager Lance Pyle estimated that between 1,000 and 1,200 people attended the concert.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The smell of homemade mashed potatoes and beef tips mingled with the sounds of a country fiddle at the Events Center on Saturday during the Curry County Centennial kick-off.

The event served as the official grand opening for Curry County’s centennial celebrations, which will last all year.

Attendees to the lunch mingled around the concourse, looking at booths from area services and businesses, making their way to the event center floor where a traditional chuckwagon lunch was served.

Danny Gear, who has lived in Curry County all of his 62 years, said the event was a fitting celebration.

“With all the history Curry County has, they need a museum,” he said.

Gear said he has seen many changes in the county in his lifetime. He recalled a time when the city didn’t reach past Thornton Street and the street was gravel.

Becky Gear, Danny’s wife, said many of the changes are due to the city’s growth, but that’s not all there is to it.

“We’ve seen the community expand and grow in a lot of ways,” she said. “Some businesses that were here aren’t and some industries that weren’t, are.”

One of the biggest changes Becky recalled is how involved Cannon Air Force Base is in the community.

“I remember in high school, they weren’t too involved in the community. It seems like people now appreciate what they do for us all,” she said.

Becky said that Curry County has grown, but stayed a community “that is still the best in New Mexico.”

“I think many people forget their roots. Curry County stays very connected to its roots,” she said.

County Manager Lance Pyle said that the event was a success.

“We had a great event and great turnout,” he said. “We wanted the county to have a celebration that included the events center. It is a good way to show the taxpayers how their tax dollars were spent and the multiple uses of the facility.”

The event delved deeper into the history of the county Saturday night with the presentation of Curry County history facts, a slideshow of Curry County towns and performances from various musical and dance groups from the county, representing the decades. The groups served as preshow entertainment before country rock band Little Texas took the stage for the grand concert.

Thirteen students from the Arts Academy at Bella Vista performed a dance remix of songs from the 1980s. The dance included 80s hits such as “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Thriller”. The students dressed in 80s style clothing and hair.

Viola Cano, dance teacher at the Arts Academy, said the students had been working on the show for three weeks.

“It’s important for our students to understand that the county has been official for 100 years. And it’s a great opportunity for them to be a part of such a historical event,” she said.

Pyle estimated between 1,000 to 1,200 people attended the evening show.

Future Centennial events

• June 6 — Pioneer Days Parade.

• June 27 — Dairy Fest. Community-wide party that includes dairy-themed games and contests for all ages, live music and food.

• July 25 — Border Town Days Parade in Texico.

• Aug. 10-15 — Curry County Fair. Celebrating veterans and pioneers, these individuals will be presented with a certificate of honor Aug. 14. Veteran and pioneer names must be pre-registered to receive a certificate. Free entry into the fair for those registered. Contact the County Administration office at 763-6016 to register. Registration deadline is Aug. 1.

• Date to be announced — Breakfast in Melrose at the Melrose Senior Center.

Items available for purchase:

• Centennial Cookbook — More than 600 recipes that bridge the past 100 years and photos reflecting those times. $15 each.

• Centennial Throw Blanket — designed by Chamber Ambassadors and depicting how far Curry County has grown. $50 per throw, limited number available. See Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce for details

• Centennial History Book — published by the Clovis News Journal to include a Pioneer Families edition.

• Centennial lapel pins, coins, Christmas ornaments and Christmas greeting cards featuring the centennial logo will also be available.