Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Parade goes on despite cancellation

 

July 8, 2020

Ron Warnick

Three women in red, white and blue regalia ride quarter horses Saturday morning during an unsanctioned Fourth of July parade in Logan. The official parade was canceled in late June because of the governor's public health order.

LOGAN - The Logan-Ute Lake Chamber of Commerce on June 25 announced the cancellation of the village's annual Fourth of July parade, citing Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's health order that bars public gatherings.

On Saturday, dozens of Logan residents defied the order and held the parade anyway.

About 30 entries - including horses, lawn mowers, golf carts, trucks, towed boats and tractors - were part of an nonsanctioned parade that wound down First and Second streets in the village that morning. Dozens more spectators lined the streets to watch and wave.

Several entries affixed signs such as "These Colors Don't Run" and "Don't Tread On Me" and flew several Donald Trump flags, along with many more American flags.

Ken Terry, who stood in a parking lot near Carquest Auto Parts where parade participants gathered and later dispersed, declined to say who organized the event, other than to say, "We the people of Logan."

"When the governor says we can't do it, we're going to do it. This is a community effort," he said.

"When the Logan Chamber of Commerce said, 'We can't do it; the governor said no.' We said, 'Baloney,'" Terry added. "We had numerous, numerous Logan citizens told us, 'We want a parade. It's the Fourth of July.' We said, 'OK, let's have a parade.'"

Sherri Muncy, one of three women dressed in red, white and blue regalia who rode quarter horses during the parade, echoed Terry's resolve to hold an event.

"If they decided we weren't going to have a parade, we were going to ride anyway," she said.

"It was awesome," she added. "It's nice to get out and stand up for your rights, for your community. It's overdue."

Absent from the parade were village or county vehicles, though Logan police cars blocked traffic for several minutes on 540 Loop to allow the parade to pass.

Logan Police Chief Rodney Paris said he and his officers acted only for the sake of safety that morning.

"We're not affiliated in any shape or form," he said. "We're just protecting their rights."

Paris said he'd heard talk about the possibility of a parade in the village but didn't get a firm time until that morning. Chatter on social media about it remained quiet until the day of the event.

Terry said local officials gave tacit if unofficial approval for the parade.

"I talked to the officials - I won't give names - Logan PD, authorities," he said. "They said, 'Get after it.' Officially, they can't help, but they helped a lot."

When asked whether Logan's parade was an "outlaw" event in light of the governor's order, Terry smiled.

"Start arresting," he said. "There's enough of us; I don't think they have room for all of us.

"It's not a law. The governor doesn't have the right," Terry continued. "We, the citizens of Logan, don't conform."

Few parade participants or spectators also conformed to wearing masks, another state mandate where noncompliance could have meant a $100 fine or jail time. An exception was Logan police officers that worked traffic control.

Lujan Grisham has maintained the New Mexico Constitution gives her wide latitude to take action during public health emergencies. She issued hers in mid-March in response to a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 500 people in the state. More than 13,000 New Mexicans have been confirmed with the virus, with six in Quay County.

Tripp Stelnicki, director of communications for Lujan Grisham, stated in an email Saturday the governor would not comment about the parade, but he added: "Our thoughts about endangering their lives and the lives of their neighbors by gathering during a pandemic should go without saying."

 
 

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