APRIL 16, 2021 – Staunton’s home-grown July 4th event, Happy Birthday America, will again take a virtual format in 2021. In order to continue the tradition of the long-standing event held in Staunton each year, the virtual festivity will feature guests, pictures and memories looking back through the years. It will be broadcast on the Happy Birthday America and Wilson Fairchild Facebook pages.
Happy Birthday America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 2017 to support the continuation of the annual Fourth of July celebration of the same name, Happy Birthday America.
“This event is about celebrating America and the folks who make up this great nation, so the health and safety of the community is our number one concern,” said the organization’s board president, Jeff Ishee. “Sometimes being a great American means making sacrifices for the greater good, and we’re prepared to do that and then put all our energy into making Happy Birthday America 2022 the best yet.”
“We appreciate all the time and effort the Happy Birthday America organization has put into this community event,” said Staunton Mayor Andrea Oakes. “We’re looking forward to a virtual experience this year and an exceptional Happy Birthday America next year.”
Happy Birthday America is being held virtually due to anticipated COVID-19 restrictions and the nonprofit board’s desire to ensure the safety of all participants, as well as the timing and planning needed for a successful event.
“At this time and under these restrictions, we regret needing to make this decision," says board member Langdon Reid. "Officials with the City of Staunton, including City Manager Steve Rosenberg, and the Department of Health have been instrumental in helping to inform us as we made our decision. We’ll continue to stay positive and deliver an entertaining show virtually to the best of our ability.”
Fellow board member and cousin, Wil Reid adds, “This celebration has always been about involving the community, and in return, supporting the community. We just are not allowed to do that at full throttle yet with the state conditions still in place. And we really appreciate everyone’s continued support and understanding.”
The Happy Birthday America event has been held in Staunton since 1970, and has included a pageant, vesper service, parade, 5K and Wilson Fairchild concert to close out two days of festivities. It was founded by famed singers The Statler Brothers, two of whom were fathers to the younger Reids.