Ripley’s Fourth of July Grand Parade is a tradition dating back 150 years. WOWK TV-13 is providing live coverage to a TV audience. News anchors Jennifer Abney and Hannah Goetz are to host the telecast.
The 2020 event begins at noon with a route from South Church Street (Route 21) near Ripley High School and concludes along West Main Street (U.S. Route 33) at Sheetz, the parade sponsor.
Radio personality Ric “Shadow” Shannon is the Grand Marshal. The C-98 station manager served as the 4th of July entertainment emcee for 23 years.
Three awards are to be presented during 11 a.m. opening ceremonies on the review stand at the intersection of Church and Main. Suzette Lowe is the recipient of the McGinley Leadership Award. John and Amy McGinley co-chaired the 4th event for more than two decades. Among other organizations, Lowe is active with the Pilot Club of Jackson County and the Cedar Lakes Foundation.
Allen Ferrell is the recipient of the Don Flesher Visionary Award. The owner of Bruce Allen Pipeline in Ripley has been a strong supporter of the Independence Day celebration and many other charitable endeavors in the community. The award’s namesake was the long-time director of the celebration.
Jack Coon is the recipient of the Mabel Chapman Equestrian Award. Coon has been a long-time parade entrant with his Rocky Point Farms horse-drawn carriages. Chapman was an award-winning horse trainer who owned and operated a stable and riding school in Ripley.
Additionally, during opening ceremonies Ripley High track star Tori Starcher is being recognized as the 2-time recipient of the Ray McCoy Award. She is a multiple event winner at the West Virginia State High School Track & Field Championships. She will compete collegiately for Stanford University. The honor, which goes annually to the state’s best female runner, is being presented by another Ripley graduate, Mark Martin, on behalf of the WV Sportswriters Association.
The parade’s top entry is designated with the Ken Hechler Best of Parade Award. Hechler (1914-2016) was a legendary West Virginia political leader. His red campaign Jeep was a familiar sight in the parade for many years.
Spectators are asked to observe designated areas of social distancing. Parade entries are introduced on the downtown public address system. Tom Hunter is the announcer.
Parade entry forms are available online at Ripley4thofJuly.com and at Ripley City Hall.