By Debbie Adams
The Town of Vinton put on a spectacular Fourth of July Celebration at the Vinton War Memorial on Sunday night.
One spectator said that it looked like the town “combined the missed fireworks show from 2020 (due to Covid) with the show from 2021” to create a show “beyond expectations.” Many said it was the best fireworks show they had ever seen in the Roanoke Valley.
The program opened with a patriotic message from Vinton Mayor Brad Grose.
“Welcome to the Independence Day celebration here in the Town of Vinton,” Grose said in his welcoming remarks. “Thank you for being with us as we celebrate the greatest nation on earth, the United States of America.
“As Americans we have always held this date up as a special time in our country. Thomas Jefferson mentioned July 4 in his last letter, and, of course, we know that John Adams thought that Independence Day should be celebrated in many ways, including with a fireworks display.
“It is altogether fitting that we gather here at the Vinton War Memorial, within sight of the Vinton-Roanoke County Veterans Monument, as we honor those who gave their lives, and those who are serving now—so we can continue to commemorate the birthday of our great nation and enjoy our freedoms.
“This Fourth of July seems special to me,” Grose said. “We are coming out of a really difficult time in which we experienced not only the loss of many fellow Americans, but also the temporary loss of some of our freedoms. To say the least, we did not like it!
“As a nation we have learned a lot in the past 12-15 months, and now we are ready to celebrate. Many of us have a new appreciation for our country, our community, and, most importantly, for each other. Now is the time for us to move forward as one community, one people, and as ‘one nation under God.’
“There is no doubt we live in a nation of great opportunities and unmatched freedoms,” he said. “So let us all pray, let us all do what we can individually, to help ensure that we move forward, together. Let us renew our pride in our great nation and rededicate ourselves to God, country, and community.
“With renewed patriotism, we can ensure there will always be a celebration of freedom on the Fourth of July,” the mayor said in closing. “Thank you, my friends. May God bless you and may God continue to bless the United States of America.”
The Presentation of Colors was by the Vinton Police Department Honor Guard, led by Sgt. Michael Caldwell, with Cpl. Dustin Bray, Officer Chris Shively, and Officer Brandon Settles.
J.D. Sutphin of the band Low, Low Chariot performed a stirring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Four cheerleaders from William Byrd Middle School—Carleigh Leonard, Taylor Jacobsen, Lily Carrell, and Kaidence Stores—led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Next up on the program, Angie Chewning, executive director of the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Justin Davison, the Chamber’s president, unveiled the sixth issue of the “Vinton Magazine,” published every two years as a special project of the Roanoker Magazine in conjunction with the Chamber.
The Vinton Magazine this year is entitled “Vinton—a town that’s IN the middle of everything.” Chewning says that Vinton is in the middle of the valley and in the middle of progress.”
After the unveiling, copies of the Vinton Magazine were distributed to the crowd. (The magazine can be found in the July-August 2021 issue of the Roanoker Magazine.)
“Thank you to the Chamber,” said Chasity Barbour, Vinton’s director of Community Programs. “Partnerships like the Chamber are what keeps the Town of Vinton going.”
Barbour, who facilitated the Fourth of July celebration, thanked those who participated in the program, the vendors, and the crowd.
“I personally would like to thank the mayor and town staff,” she said. “Special Programs truly takes everyone in each department working together making these events fun and successful. I am truly blessed with the support we have here.”
Barbour introduced Low, Low Chariot—a band very familiar to those who attend festivals and concerts in Vinton and across the valley. The band is led by Sutphin and includes musicians Blaine Davis, Joshua Mason, and Jeremy Price.
There were long lines throughout the evening at the Deb’s Lemonade, the Crusty Bark, Delicia’s Gourmet Ice, Tinker Mt. Kettle Corn, Duck Donuts, and Tinker Mt. Shaved Ice food trucks.
The crowd continued to grow as the evening progressed and by 9:30 when Grucci launched the dazzling fireworks program, filled the front lawn of the Vinton War Memorial, Washington Avenue, and most downtown streets.
Special events in the Town of Vinton are definitely back!