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Ripley to celebrate 150th 4th of July with parade, concerts

RIPLEY — The City of Ripley will hold its 150th July 4th festivities this weekend, albeit with a few 2020 twists.

Mayor Carolyn Rader said the city has adapted this year’s celebration to follow health and social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19, also known as coronavirus.

Even so, Rader said, it still will be a celebration to remember.

“It’s going to be a win-win for everybody,” she said. “It’s going to be unusual.”

Ripley’s annual 4th of July parade begins at noon on Saturday and will be televised.

“They can stay home and watch it” if they choose, Rader said.

Friday evening, the city will feature drive-in concerts with attendees parking at the Plaza Parking Lot along Academy Drive on the west end of Ripley. U.S. Kids will perform at 6:30 p.m. and Rick K & The Allnighters will perform at 8 p.m.

“It’s a big parking lot, they can park there in concert style with plenty of room,” Rader said.

Saturday will be the city’s 150th year of America’s Largest Small Town Independence Day Parade. The grandstand will be used for the grand opening at 11 a.m., with the Hometown Heroes parade beginning at noon and ending around 1:30 p.m. Rader said.

Saturday afternoon and evening will feature more concerts, with Rimshot playing at 4 p.m., Ultra Sound at 6 p.m., and Adam Tucker’s Vegas McGraw Tribute at 8 p.m. Fireworks will be held at the same location at 10 p.m., which everyone can view from the comfort of their cars, Rader said.

“They will have a wonderful site to watch the fireworks,” she said.

All residents and visitors are asked to maintain social distance and observe all safety guidelines throughout the weekend’s events.

“It’s still going to give us a reason to celebrate the most wonderful country in the world,” Rader said. “We’re going to try to make announcements of social distancing. I have so much trust in the people in Ripley they’re going to do this social distancing.”

Rader said residents and visitors alike should keep in mind this is a new experience for everyone, including officials and event organizers.

“My plea is for people here to be patient,” she said. “We’ve never done it this way either. This is all new to us.

“This being the 150th anniversary, with the blessing of the state of West Virginia, the state and local health departments know we have tried hard,” Rader said. “We want to show people throughout the state that it can be done successfully and safely. We’re trying hard to be an example and hope that it works.”

Contact Candice Black at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

Contact Michael Erb at merb@newsandsentinel.com.

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