Independence Day has been a vibrant part of the Ripley community for 150 years. That time-honored tradition is continuing in 2020.

A two-day celebration is planned on Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4, according to Mayor Carolyn Rader.

“America’s Largest Small-Town Independence Celebration is such an important part of our community,” Rader said. “It is a special event that also serves as a homecoming for so many families.”

Given the current COVID-19 situation, it is necessary to implement several changes for the safety of those attending. That includes designated social distancing during the Grand Parade and a new location and spectator arrangement for the live stage entertainment.

The parade begins at noon on the Fourth of July. The route is again from South Church Street near Ripley High to West Main Street near Sheetz. Six-feet family viewing areas will be designated along the route. Safety stations are to be stocked with a supply of hand sanitizer and masks.

Entry forms are available on-line at Ripley4thofJuly.com and at Ripley City Hall during business hours. WOWK-TV is televising the parade.

This year’s entertainment location is the plaza parking lot along Academy Drive. The concept is to allow spectators to enjoy the concerts from their vehicles while avoiding over-crowded situations.

“It will be just like taking your family to a drive-in movie theatre,” Rader explained. “Those who have pick-up trucks may put their lawn chairs in the back and enjoy the live entertainment.”

The line-up features two shows on the evening of July 3. U.S. Kids, a band that has been rocking the Cleveland area for 25 years, will perform at 6:30 p.m. followed by Rick K & The Allnighters’ 20/20 Road Trip at 8 p.m.

On the Fourth, enjoy the classic rock of Rimshot at 4 p.m. Ultra Sound, a band with strong Jackson County connections, will play at 6 p.m. Adam D. Tucker’s Vegas Tim McGraw Tribute is back by popular demand for the 8 p.m. show with fireworks to follow.

Bios on the bands are available at Ripley4thofJuly.com.

A message from the Ripley Volunteer Fire Department:

Due to the concerns of COVID-19, and the possibility of any children becoming ill, this years Fourth of July carnival will unfortunately be cancelled.

We have been in extensive meetings and have had to make this extremely difficult decision in order to help keep the public safe.

Chief R. H. Gobble II