If only the Continental Congress, which voted in favor of independence on July 2, 1776, and the delegates to the 13 colonies who two days later adopted the Declaration of Independence drafted by our neighbor Thomas Jefferson, could have seen the extent to which Rappahannock County all these centuries later is celebrating the birth of our nation.
Founded by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1833, Rappahannock County is blessed this important holiday week with not one, not two, but three patriotic salutes to America: a July 1st “all-American” concert at Washington’s Avon Hall conducted by “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Col. John Bourgeois, crowned the modern-day John Philip Sousa; a spectacular Fourth of July fireworks festival at Ben Venue Farm brought to us by the brave men and women of the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department; and this evening’s colorful parade through Amissville, followed by an old-fashioned carnival hosted by Amissville Fire and Rescue.
None of the events should be missed, if at all possible, regardless of age. It is these patriotic celebrations, after all, that instill in our youngest citizens what being an American is truly about.
The Amissville parade will roll with all its glory down Route 211 beginning at 6:45 this evening, June 28, and as attendees will see for themselves there’s no other community parade in the state quite like it. The carnival itself, on the firehouse grounds, will continue through Saturday, June 30, featuring all of the traditional rides and pink cotton candy of the finest county fairs.
Lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets, meanwhile, are recommended for Avon Hall, where owners Drew Mitchell and Bill Fischer host this Sunday’s musical salute to America starting at 5 p.m. (lawn access begins at 3 p.m.) If this outdoor concert directly behind Courthouse Row in Washington, featuring the most resounding patriotic arrangements and closing with God Bless America, doesn’t give concertgoers goose bumps, nothing will.
And finally there is Rappahannock’s grand finale, with fireworks revelers on the July 4th federal holiday descending on a new but familiar landmark — Ben Venue Farm in Flint Hill — for the 12th annual Fourth of July Festival. Expect everything from food and music by numerous local vendors and bands to children’s games, antique cars, tractors and more, followed by one of the most breathtaking pyrotechnic displays in the Old Dominion. Gates will open at 1 p.m. and fireworks will light the sky at dusk.
We truly are fortunate to live in Rappahannock County, and there is nothing like coming together as a community to celebrate our nation’s Independence.
John McCaslin is editor of the Rappahannock News