“America’s Largest Small-Town Independence Celebration” is more than the Fourth of July. It’s a six-day event in Ripley.

Highlights include West Virginia’s oldest and largest parade, free concerts headlined by the popular group Exile, and the celebration’s biggest fireworks display.

Mayor Carolyn Rader says it’s a shining example of good old-fashioned patriotism at it best.

“The Fourth of July has an incredible tradition in our community,” she said. “There are photos dating back to the 1800’s of the parade marching in front of the Jackson County Courthouse.

“It’s a wonderful patriotic celebration and it serves as our community’s Homecoming, too,” Rader added.

Festivities begin on Tuesday, July 2 when the carnival comes to town. Unity in the Community is a free family-event on the evening of Wednesday, July 3 on the courthouse lawn.

The Fourth gets an early start with a pancake breakfast and the 9 a.m. Little Patriot Hour features Super Hero characters visiting with kids. The Firecracker 2-Miler is a race through downtown where thousands of spectators have gathered for the noon Grand Parade.

Free concerts continue through the evening. This year’s lineup is comprised of WV Kids on First at 2 p.m. Kurt & Kami at 3 p.m., Hogan’s Goat at 4 p.m., Nashville’s Rockland Road performs at 6 p.m. with Exile at 8 p.m. and the fireworks finale at 10 p.m.

“A Class Act” is an all-class reunion at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 5. Back in the Day of Morgantown provides the music.

Saturday, July 6 includes a free ice cream social on the courthouse lawn at 6 p.m. West Virginia comedian Bil Lepp is on stage at 7 p.m. The 8 p.m. concert features Nikki Adkins and Adam D. Tucker, a Tim McGraw tribute artist.

Christian rock takes the stage for the annual U-Turn concert at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. Building 429 is the headliner.

See Ripley4thofJuly.com for the complete schedule.