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Staunton's "Chair Dash" tradition

For decades, the "chair dash" was a long-standing tradition in Staunton's Gypsy Hill Park on the 4th of July. The free concert would attract tens of thousands of people from all across the United States for a traditional and patriotic celebration hosted by The Statler Brothers. Happy Birthday America continues this tradition in 2019.


Many stories can be told (and numerous friendships were initiated) because of this event. People would be in line at the crack of dawn when gates to the field were opened and it was quite the frenzy for a bit as people claimed their spots.


Here's how it works (see illustrations below and please read ALL the instructions):


  • All chairs must be removed from the field following the Vespers Service on the evening of July 3rd.

  • The line-up for "dashers" will begin at 11 PM on July 3rd and will be in the large parking lot adjacent to the baseball and football fields. As in years past, this will be a single-file line in order to prevent any unmanageable, large clusters of people at any one spot. Overnight security will be in place on the evening of July 3rd to ensure a safe environment (no alcoholic beverages allowed). Porta Potties will also be in place.

  • At 6 AM on the morning of July 4th, the gates to the ball-field (right-field side) will be opened. Ushers and law enforcement will be on hand to assist with crowd management. People will be allowed to enter in small groups and should WALK, not run, to the location they will be placing their chairs. Safety is paramount and we do not want to see anyone hurt. This process will go very quickly and will ensure a safe environment for all.

  • Due to preparations for the parade line-up, the left-field gate will remain closed. ONLY the right-field gate (adjacent to the parking lot) will be opened.

  • As always, you must bring your own lawn chairs. Only folding lawn chairs and collapsible "bag chairs" will be allowed - no beach lounges, over-sized chairs, or tents of any kind are permitted.

  • Spaces may NOT be held without chairs; i.e., you may not "save" or "reserve" an area without the chairs present.

  • Aisles will be clearly marked per Fire Marshall instructions.

  • There will be designated areas on the baseball field that will be reserved for Handicap (ADA) and Companion Seating. You must bring your own chairs as no seating will be provided. Each ADA seating area will have an usher to ensure that only persons with disabilities and up to three companions (as designated by law) are allowed in this area.

  • Parking on the lot will be reserved for Handicap and Vendor/Concession Parking ONLY from 7 AM on July 3rd until after fireworks are complete on July 4th.

  • For your convenience, the area designated as "bus drop" can be used to drop off guests with disabilities. Those with official Handicap Placards may enter the park via the Thornrose Avenue gate near Tams Lake. It will lead you directly by the National Guard Armory to the main event area and "drop off" zone.

  • NOTE: Regimental Road (which passes in front of the Armory) and the "drop-off" area will be closed to ALL vehicle traffic between 8 AM and 11 AM on July 4th. This area is used for parade line-up. THANK YOU!

This is a fun and exciting component of Happy Birthday America.

We ask that everyone assist in maintaining an orderly and safe "chair dash."

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