The only thing that lit up the sky Wednesday night was lightning.
The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce canceled its annual Independence Day fireworks show around 8:30 p.m. because of concerns for crowd safety after a storm drenched the area.
Chamber director Karl Terry said the lightning and heavy rain posed safety risks for the crowd who came out to Eastern New Mexico University’s Greyhound Arena to see the show. Many awaited in their cars until they received final word that the fireworks had been canceled.
“The reason we canceled was because of crowd safety,” Terry said, at the advising of Stonebraker Fireworks officials. “The winds were strong, and that’s not a good thing when you’re shooting fireworks in the vicinity of the large crowd.”
The chamber will try the show again Saturday night at 9, possibly with no vendors or entertainment.
Earlier rain didn’t deter the crowd from leaving. Portales and Clovis were hit with about 0.43 inches of rain and as much as two inches in some areas Wednesday night between 5 and 9 p.m., according to Accuweather officials.
Fusion Funk Collective belly dancers made sure their show went on earlier in the day. The dancers kept moving after a heavy downpour.
“It was a little slippery but we recovered quickly and the rain cooled things down,” said Yolanda Chaves with Fusion Funk Collective. “We just went for it.”
Chaves said she was excited to bring cultural awareness to traditional holiday celebrations.
The Portales High School cheerleaders tried to pump some spirit into the crowd despite the gloomy weather. They performed stunts and cheers along side the road to attract drivers to join the celebration.
“We were trying to get people to come to our bounce castle,” said PHS cheerleader Anja Tech. “We’re raising money for competition fees and uniforms.”
From the blue polka dots on her dress and red bow that sat atop her head to the festive Independence Day treats she ate, 2-year-old Alice Bellflower awaited her first fireworks show.
She ran around with other children killing the time before the show was scheduled to begin. Bellflower will now have to wait to see some colorful fireworks, along with the rest of the crowd that came out.
For those who do plan to attend Saturday night’s show, there are chances for showers and a thunderstorm but it doesn’t look likely, according to Accuweather officials. Portales has a 20 to 35 percent chance of rain for Saturday.