Staunton says ‘Happy Birthday America’

News Virginian file artVeterans of Foreign Wars Post 10826 of Verona take part in the Staunton Fourth of July parade in Gypsy Hill Park, Staunton, on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

Staunton’s annual Fourth of July celebration will take place this week. “Happy Birthday America” will run Wednesday and Thursday.

Activities kick off at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton with the entertainment and vesper service on Wednesday. The John Moxie Stadium Baseball Field opens at 4 p.m. and the vesper service begins at 6:30 p.m. with guest speaker Ruth Graham.

Graham has roots in Augusta County and is the author of multiple books.

“For years my family and I have enjoyed the 4th of July celebrations at Gypsy Hill Park,” Graham said in a press release. “I appreciate the emphasis on our American values and traditions and the recognition that God is our foundation. In God we do trust and the Happy Birthday America events celebrate that fact.”

On Thursday, the event takes off running. The 5K, run and walk begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by the parade at 10 a.m. around the park.

Paul Hatcher will be the parade’s Grand Marshall this year. Hatcher had much success coaching basketball at Robert E. Lee High School. In 1998, he had the most wins in VHSL history. Throughout his 43-year coaching career, he won four state titles, coached an 85-game win streak and is a member of five halls of fame, a press release said.

“He is such an icon, having dedicated so much time and effort to the betterment of our community and the youth in it,” Andrew Dietz, parade director, said in a release. “He has had such a positive impact on so many people.”

Activities throughout the day include Stonewall Brigade Band performance, duck derby, shows by local artists and more.

At 7:30 p.m., Wilson Fairchild will take the stage with special guest The Malpass Brothers at John Moxie Stadium.

This is followed by fireworks and retiring of the colors.

The event is free to the public. For a full schedule and more information, visit happybirthdayamerica.org.

Waynesboro’s Fourth of July celebration, the Summer Extravaganza, will be held July 12-13 in Ridgeview Park. Check back next week with the News Virginian for more information.

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