Ripley celebrates Independence Day the social distancing way

RIPLEY, W.Va. — Mayor Carolyn Rader let out a sigh of relief Saturday afternoon on Facebook after her town’s annual 4th of July parade.


Ripley did what other cities and towns and West Virginia have decided not to do because of the pandemic–and that is continue on with an annual celebration while following various guidelines.

Saturday’s parade was smaller than usual but there was still plenty enthusiasm. Those choosing to watch the parade kept their distance. There were markers six feet apart along the parade route.

The normal six-day celebration was cut to two this year because of the pandemic. Friday night started it all off with a couple of drive-in concerts. Residents watched the bands from inside their vehicles or in lawn chairs just outside.

Billed as “America’s Largest Small Town Independence Day Celebration,” Ripley was marking its 150th celebration Saturday. Mayor Rader told MetroNews earlier this week once Gov. Jim Justice announced that fairs and festivals could start at the beginning of July nothing was going to hold them back.

“It’s going to be so different and I just keep saying over and over, ‘Oh my gosh, please be patient with us,’ because we’ve never done this before,” Rader said heading into the celebration.

Saturday’s activities were scheduled to end with a couple more concerts and fireworks.

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