By TINA ALVEY
ALDERSON, W.Va. — This weekend marks the renewal of the festive 4th of July celebration in Alderson, which had to be canceled last year as cleanup continued from the June 23 flood.
Billed as West Virginia’s largest Independence Day celebration, this year’s multi-day festival offers family-friendly entertainment ranging from competitions and concerts to feasts and fireworks, with the region’s finest parade and a rubber ducky race thrown in for good measure.
The celebration gears up Friday with a firemen’s rodeo at Alderson Memorial Football Field from 7-11 p.m.
Competitions and community gatherings dominate Saturday’s activities, with a 5K race, a cornhole tournament, a horse show and an “All American” baking contest leading the roster. An ice cream social will be staged at the Alderson Visitors Center from 1-3 p.m., and a movie will be shown to the kiddies starting at 6 p.m., part of “Kids Night” at the football field.
The focus turns to the Alderson Community Center at 4, when an open house commences, followed at 6:30 by the annual 4th of July Banquet.
The seven-mile white water canoe and kayak race on the Greenbrier River will launch at Fort Spring at 1 p.m. Sunday, while additional river events — including the popular “Anything that Floats” race — will begin at 1:30.
A presentation on the Declaration of Independence at the community center at 5:30 precedes a gospel sing at the football field starting at 7 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the sing will move to the Alderson River of Life Church.
Monday’s sole event is a performance by 7 Mile Ford Band from 7-10 p.m. at the football field.
The fun really ratchets up Tuesday, when the Grand Parade steps off — complete with queens, floats, cars, bicycles, tractors, horses and fire engines — at 10:30 a.m.
Other Independence Day diversions include arts, crafts and commercial sales on the grounds of Alderson Elementary School starting at 8 a.m. and the Throttle Throbs Car Show in the parking lot of Old Greenbrier Baptist Church from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Miss Fireworks and her court will be introduced, along with the presentation of colors, at 1 p.m. at the football field, followed by field events and the hotly-contested tug-of-war, pitting kids from Greenbrier and Monroe counties against one another.
In the midst of all of these activities is another Alderson tradition — Stuart’s Hot Dawg Eating Contest. Staged at Stuart’s Smokehouse on Route 63, the contest features some sturdy prizes, starting with a $500 first place award. Registration begins at noon, and the contestants belly up at 1.
Closing out Independence Day will be a performance by The Worx Band from 7-10 p.m., capped by the grand fireworks display, all at the football field.
Wednesday is the celebration’s final day, when the “Ducks on the Greenbrier” rubber ducky race is staged on the border of the Alderson Mini Park. Grand prize this year is $5,000 cash.
Those planning to attend any spectator events at the 4th of July celebration are encouraged to bring a chair.
Also, no pets are allowed in the festival venue.
For more information on the 56th annual Alderson 4th of July celebration, visit www.alderson4th.com.
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