Ripley resident, Mikayla Pursley, describes the festivities as huge and says everyone comes together as a whole town.
This celebration is not just the largest; it's also the oldest dating back to the 1800's. To help get the community back in touch with their American roots Steve Chancey dresses in mountaineer fashion and shoots a historic muzzle loader rifle. He has been celebrating America's independence this way for the last 50 years because he says it is part of our heritage. For example, the rifle reminds the American people of how we used to have to hunt for our food rather than just drive to the local market.
For this one day, Ripley shines on the map. Pursley says Ripley always considered part of Virginia, not even West Virginia and that Ripley is never noticed, but that all changes on July 4th.
Hundreds of visitors flooding in for a weekend of activities boosts the local economy. Pursley says the tourists from all over the state help local business make extra money and get noticed. Independence Day is a day many people are proud to be American and those living in Ripley couldn't be prouder of their small town.
July 4th is of course about family, friends, food, and fun, but for many people Independence Day has a much deeper meaning: freedom. Pursley says she would like to thank all the troops that supported America because it was their sacrifice that earned America our freedom.