TELEPHONE (304) 646-1762
Date: For Immediate Release
“Protecting the health and safety of the people coming in to the Alderson area for the celebration as well as our community is our first priority and we can’t risk it.” said the Alderson July 4th Celebration Committee as they cancelled the 2020 event. The decision, made by the Committee on Monday, May 18, was a blow to all involved.
The Committee is made up of volunteers who work throughout the year to pull off this marvelous celebration. Many of them are in high risk categories themselves and still work tirelessly so that others may enjoy the festivities.
This July 4th celebration in Alderson began in 1894 according to Thomas W. Dixon in “The Rise and Fall of Alderson.” According to Dixon, “All across America the Fourth of July has been celebrated in noisy and boisterous ways. It is a day always loud with noise and merrymaking, but in the older time it was more; it was also laden with a spirit of patriotism and loyalty to the nation. Alderson, like many small towns, has had her celebrations, and is one of the few to still carry on that tradition.”
He notes that a crowd of about 2000 attended the 1894 celebration and that celebrations continued sporadically through 1926 when the last one of the old era was held, in part to mark the Sesquicentennial of American Independence.
The current era of July 4th Celebrations in Alderson began in 1962 making 2021 their 60th Celebration! All focus and efforts will be directed toward that event to make it bigger and better than ever. The Celebration has grown over the years from speeches, field games, and a parade on a single day to an event which stretches over as many as 10 days and two weekends.
Beginning in 2012 with the derecho, this marks the third cancellation in 10 years. The Fireman’s Rodeo was in full swing when the derecho hit on June 29, 2012. Although a semblance of a parade was held later that year, chain saws and generators were the implements of choice. On June 23, 2016, devastating rains and flash flooding hit this area and much of West Virginia. While Alderson was fortunate not to suffer a loss of life, the flood water left Alderson in no condition to host a celebration and many local people in no mood to attend one. This year, the advent of the COVID-19 virus and the need to stay socially distanced and wear masks to prevent the spread to vulnerable populations have forced cancellation once again.
July 4th Celebration Committee President Greg Eary said, “We are heart-broken but we have moved on to planning for 2021. We hope you will join us for our biggest celebration yet.”
Because many local commercial establishments support the event and depend on the revenue from customers who are in Alderson for this celebration, the Committee asks that everyone in this area make a special effort support these local folks.