Known as the “USA’s Largest Small Town Independence Day Celebration”, the Ripley 4th of July Celebration dates back to the late 1800’s. It is the oldest parade and oldest Independence Day Celebration in West Virginia. The population of Ripley explodes for the Grand Parade and the various activities held through the day. A vintage photo from that era once published in the Jackson Herald newspaper showed decorated horses, wagons, and riders parading down Court Street in Ripley.
The modern celebration includes daylong, free of charge, live musical entertainment from the stage on the Jackson County Courthouse Lawn on the Fourth of July. There is also a carnival, grand parade, and various food concessions. The celebration has now expanded to include seven days of family activities. Past performers at the courthouse stage have included T. Graham Brown, Dan Seals, B.J. Thomas, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Past guests that were part of the celebration included astronauts Jon McBride and John Irwin. In the late 1960’s, NBC’s Today Show broadcast from the celebration. The 2002 Ripley 4th of July Celebration saluted the veterans of our great country. President of the United States George W. Bush made a 45-minute address from the steps of the courthouse commemorating veterans from the community and the state.