Recently, the Byrd Center was honored to have our traveling exhibit, Robert C. Byrd: Senator, Statesman, West Virginian featured in the City of Ripley, West Virginia's Independence Day Celebration. The exhibit was hosted by the I-77 Auto Group and sponsored by the city. We thank Ripley Mayor Carolyn Rader for coordinating our trip and for hosting a great reception to open the exhibit at the beginning of the town's festival. Ripley's Independence Day Celebration is renowned as the "Largest Small Town Independence Celebration" in the United States and has in the past welcomed prominent speakers including President George W. Bush in 2001. The grand parade which takes place during the festival is the oldest Independence Day parade in the state of West Virginia.
After wrapping our early-summer showings of the exhibit at Parkersburg and Beckley, the traveling exhibit returned to the Byrd Center in Shepherdstown for a few weeks before embarking to Bluefield, located at the southern edge of West Virginia along its border with Virginia. The journey to Bluefield takes one through the picturesque peaks of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountain ranges and the city, long-branded as "nature's air conditioned city" is situated in a scenic valley.