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Ripley’s Independence Day celebration kicks off Friday

Social distancing to play a role in this year's 4th of July event
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Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 12:35 PM EDT
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RIPLEY, W.Va (WTAP) -The 150th celebration of “America’s largest small town Independence Day celebration” kicks off in Ripley Friday evening. 

Known for its parade, this year’s celebration will look a bit different. Mayor Carolyn Rader says workers have marked spots along the parade route to encourage social distancing, and while the city will not be strictly enforcing it, she asks that people respect one another. There is over 17,000 feet of viewing area on either side of the street for the parade route, so Rader is hopeful there will be plenty of space for parade watchers. She also says plenty of room has been left between each spot for entire families to sit together. The parade is following its usual route, starting at Ripley High School and ending near Sheetz. 

The parade starts Saturday at noon, but the event officially begins Friday evening with drive-in concerts at Plaza Parking Lot along Academy Drive. Those start at 4:30 p.m.

“My biggest plea to people is to please be patient when we ask you to park in the complete opposite way that you are used to parking in this particular parking lot,” said Rader. 

Saturday morning, an opening ceremony will be held at the grandstand at 11 a.m. Rader says no events will happen on the courthouse lawn this year. The parade will follow at noon.

Another three drive-in concerts will take place Saturday evening at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Following the concerts, a fireworks display will begin at 10 p.m.

“It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be nice. We have done everything and thought things through. I’ve called other cities who are also having parades and asked them how they’re doing it,” said Rader. “I just want everyone to have a safe and wonderful time.”

The city will also have a table with masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves which will be available until they run out. 

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