RIPLEY, W.Va. — The week-long event described by Ripley residents as “America’s largest small-town Independence celebration” will conclude Wednesday with a parade, concerts and fireworks recognizing Independence Day.

Residents say the Ripley event has been going on since the late 1800s.

Ripley Mayor Carolyn Rader said Independence Day is something everyone, including herself, looks forward to coming.

“When I was a little girl, this was my vacation,” she said. “This was my Kings Island, this was my Camden Park because this is what every child looked forward to and still do for the Fourth of July in Ripley.”

Rader added many people use the holiday as a reason to organize high school reunions.

“Everybody comes home for the Fourth of July,” she said. “It just is a good way to say God bless America.”

Ripley’s Fourth of July festivities will begin at 9 a.m. in front of the Jackson County Courthouse as superheroes such as Captain America will be present to entertain children. The Appalachian Gold Drum and Bugle Crops will perform at 10 a.m. for an opening ceremony.

Wednesday’s celebration will continue with the Firecracker 2-Miler Race at 11:30 a.m., followed by the noon Grand Parade. Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams and state Adjutant Gen. James Hoyer will serve as marshals.

Musical acts are expected during the afternoon, including Ladies for Liberty, a tribute to the Andrews Sisters, at 4 p.m.; Parrots of the Caribbean, a tribute to Jimmy Buffet, at 6 p.m; and award-winning Elvis Presley tribute artist Dwight Icenhower at 8 p.m.

The event will conclude at 10 p.m. with a fireworks display.

Most of the activities will be held on the lawn of the Jackson County Courthouse.

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