SoBo crowd shot

Crowds gradually build in Constitution Square and in downtown South Boston for the Fourth of July celebration.

Late afternoon rain on Independence Day dampened patriotic spirit for only a short time, as area residents celebrated their nation’s birthday in a big way with a parade through downtown South Boston, a shindig at Constitution Square, and a fireworks display at the end of the evening.

A parade featuring over 30 entries weaved through downtown to start the celebration, led by color guards for Sons of the American Legion Squad 8 and the Halifax County JROTC, and featuring a number of antique cars, an appearance by the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club entries from organizations such as American Legion Post 8, Halifax South Boston Dixie Softball, and Berryman Green Chapter, NSDAR.

The celebration continued at Constitution Square, and by that time thousands had turned out to enjoy music, food and entertainment from a bouncy house to balloon figures supplied by Marlo the Magician.

Vendors including Nana Karen’s, Hardman’s Smoke Stack, Kona Ice, exquisite events, Poppa Bear’s Kettle Korn, and Byler’s Handmade Ice Cream, while the Worship Center provided pizza.

Ray Martin and The Forever Young Band provided music, and The Prizery Summer Theatre provided patriotic music.

The celebration was capped off with a fireworks display, with spectators lined up from Constitution Square to Riverdale.

The rain ended just in time, and attendance for the day took off after that, according to Tamyra Vest, executive director of Destination Downtown South Boston.

“After the parade, the rain held off, and it was perfect weather for the rest of the evening,” said Vest.

“A large crowd attended, the crowd got bigger and bigger as the fireworks got closer, and they saw that it was evident that the weather was cooperating with us.”

The fireworks show was the biggest, the best, and the highest-quality fireworks show ever seen in South Boston, according to Vest.

“It was an all-American super patriotic day,” concluded Vest.

“That’s what the Fourth of July should be — families enjoying each other and their community and having a down-home patriotic good time.”

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at