CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Just about every city and town — large and small — here in West Virginia has some sort of Fourth of July event.  But this year, two towns claim to have the very best Independence Day celebration.

In one corner, you have Ripley in Jackson County. In the other corner, you have Alderson in Greenbrier and Monroe counties. Officials in both say their celebrations are the biggest and best.

Alderson draws a big crowd for their 4th of July celebration.

“We have one of the largest parades with horses and fire trucks, floats, old-timey cars. All the good things that are in a parade,” said Greg Eary, one of the organizers of the Alderson event.

Hold those horses! Carolyn Rader, the mayor of Ripley, is convinced her town has the best July 4th festivities.

“On the Fourth of July, it just all comes together and this little, wonderful, beautiful city of 3,500 becomes about 15,000 to 20,000 people,” she said.

Eary said Alderson is expecting around 10,000 for their big fireworks display Friday night, so the crowd totals go to Ripley.

But when it comes to the number of events, Alderson has the upper hand. They started celebrating on Wednesday and the party isn’t over until Sunday. On the agenda a 5-K run, field games, flea market, banquet, fireman’s rodeo, a square dance, health fair, canoe races as well as the parade and fireworks.

Ripley’s parade will draw in 15,000 to 20,000 people.

Whether you choose to go to one, the other or both, you can’t go wrong. The two celebrations have the most important aspect of the holiday in common — that patriotic feeling.

“Oh my gosh, you can just feel the excitement in the air! American flags everywhere, store windows are all decorated, everybody joins in,” said Rader.

As for Alderson, Eary said, “Our community just joins together and does a terrific job!”

For more information about Ripley’s Independence Day celebration log on to And you can log on to to find out what’s happening in Alderson.

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  • darth viking

    Ripley, West Virginia has the greatest small town Fourth of July celebration in America. The Today Show, President Bush, numerous Hollywood stars, all have come to join in the festivities over the years. Ripley also has a distance run, pancake breakfast, the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair, fireworks, and flea markets. You can't beat Ripley on the 4th!

  • Richard

    Martinsburg in Berkely County has the worst celebration. The fireworks are on private property where only the wealthy residences can view from the convenience of their homes and yards. There is no parking near the launch and now this year they are closing the park at dusk due to a shooting two years ago. There are several places like the Fairgrounds where is could be moved safely and conveniently for all to attend. But our Rec Director is an arrogant butt hole and so is the City Council. Unbelievable. So we are all going next door to the Antietam Battlefield in the state of Maryland where it is a spectacular event.

  • RogTy

    "Inappropriate Fireworks":

    [A 2 minute comedy video!]

  • jcsmith

    Ripley on the 4th is the best and I think mayor rader is awesome. U.S.A.

  • any major dude

    As a resident of Charleston, Alderson is too far to travel. I may catch the festivities in Ripley or just go to the fun closer to home. Maybe we are overrated but if I'm doing the ratings, we're still the greatest country in the world!


    America is overrated.

    • screw america

      I concur.

    • Thecrow2123

      Then move to a country your more comfortable with.

    • GF

      Don't get out much do you?

    • Aaron

      How so?