Staunton, July 6, 2019 – Happy Birthday America, a non-profit organization responsible for July 4th activities at Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park, is expressing thanks for another successful Independence Day celebration. The event was initiated in 1970 by Staunton’s own stars of country music The Statler Brothers.
Cousins Wil and Langdon Reid of Wilson Fairchild and sons of Statler Brothers members Harold and Don Reid, described the two-day event as a triumph despite numerous weather-related issues. “The dedication of our community to sit out in the rain to support Happy Birthday America is amazing,” said Wil Reid expressing his thanks to the Staunton and Augusta County community. “Anytime we can come together and play music, celebrate our country, and the community benefits from it – count us in,” added Langdon Reid.
Numerous thunderstorms rolled through on Wednesday. The clouds, however, broke up enough on Thursday evening for a small-town, big-time country music show featuring Wilson Fairchild and The Malpass Brothers of North Carolina. Both duos entertained the crowd with songs and comedy bringing rave reviews on social media.
Singer Chris Malpass seemed to be especially struck by the patriotic theme of the performance, including a portion of the evening when local military veterans were recognized on-stage for their service. “The show was so much fun and moving,” said Malpass. “It’s truly a great tribute to this country and we need more of that during these times.”
Organizers of Happy Birthday America expressed their appreciation to everyone involved in the 2019 celebration including City workers, participants, fire and police personnel, and volunteers. “The way people came together really demonstrated an American spirit,” said Langdon Reid.
New additions to the event for 2019 included a Kiwanis parent/child baseball game, a duck derby conducted by Staunton/Augusta Rotary, and a special performance by the Stonewall Brigade Band. All were a hit.
The Grand Marshall for the 2019 Happy Birthday America parade was retired high school basketball coach Paul Hatcher, whose appearance was well received as the parade made its way around Gypsy Hill Park. The parade featured more than 140 entries.
Dozens of local and regional business sponsored the celebration this year including Sprint, which provided cellular/wi-fi service, and Staunton Machine Works, which provided crane services for the giant American flag hovering just above the stage.