A spectacular week of patriotic festivities is planned in Alderson, site of West Virginia’s largest Independence Day celebration.
Following Monday’s judging of the annual home and business decorating contest, visitors are invited to take in the West Virginia Statehood traveling exhibit, which will be on display at the Alderson Interpretive Center through July 10.
Everything from a parade and a hot dog eating contest to a concert and fireworks display are planned for Thursday.
The day’s activities open at 8 a.m. with arts, crafts and commercial sales on the grounds of Alderson Elementary School, followed at 9 by the Throttle Throbs car show in the parking lot at Old Greenbrier Baptist Church from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The grand parade steps off at 10:30, traveling the length of Riverside Drive and across the bridge.
Lunch will be served in the school cafeteria by the Alderson Fire Department and EMS, but chances are the contestants in the afternoon’s first event won’t want to fill up beforehand. Stuart’s Smokehouse on W.Va. 63 is the site of a popular hot dog eating contest; registration starts at noon, and man bites dog at 1 p.m.
Following an afternoon filled with field events and the annual Greenbrier versus Monroe tug-of-war contest, Matt Jones will be in concert at Alderson Memorial Football Field from 7 to 10 p.m. Miss Fireworks will be crowned at the conclusion of the concert, and a grand fireworks display will then light up the night sky over Memorial Field.
A fishing derby for kids, music for the entire family and a firemen’s rodeo at Memorial Field will all be staged Friday, while Saturday’s events include races, a cornhole tournament, a baking contest and a fun walk. An ice cream social will be staged at the Alderson Interpretive Center from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, and an open house will precede the annual community homecoming banquet at the Alderson Community Center.
Everyone is invited to finish out the day either at a concert by Nashville Departure, featuring Randy Goodson, at Memorial Field or at a square dance with music provided by local favorites Austin Bradley and the Tri-County Cutups in the Alderson Elementary School cafeteria.
A worship service will set the early tone for Sunday’s activities, followed by a whitewater canoe race and various river events. A special tribute to Coach A.A. McLaughlin and the early history of Alderson will be staged at the Alderson Community Center from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
The day will close out with a gospel concert featuring the Mark Trammell Quartet and others at Memorial Field and yet another fireworks display.
A health and safety fair takes center stage on the Monroe County side of Alderson on the last day of this year’s celebration, July 8. Alderson Medical Center will offer free health care screenings, balloons and door prizes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fair will also feature health care vendors, food, drinks, entertainment and games.
The Alderson Mini Park will also offer entertainment starting at 4 p.m., building to the celebration’s final event — Ducks on the Greenbrier — a rubber ducky race that boasts a grand prize of $5,000 cash. The race starts at 6 p.m.
For ducky tickets and information, contact Karen Lobban at 304-445-7730.
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