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Happy Birthday America: Staunton welcomes Fairland Ferguson as grand marshal

Staunton celebrates Happy Birthday America next week with two days of fun, live music and food, as well as a parade on Thursday at 10 a.m.

The grand marshal of this year’s parade will be Fairland Ferguson, a Staunton native, the real-life inspiration for “Merida” in Disney’s animated film “Brave,” who also showcased her survival skills on Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid.”

Happy Birthday America posted on Facebook: “Her achievements and adventurous spirit make her the perfect choice to lead our parade!”

Ferguson will be available to meet from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the brand-new Happy Birthday America Selfie Station on the ball field to the right of the stage at Gypsy Hill Park.
Join Wilson Fairchild, two sons of members of the Statler Brothers, who are carrying on the Staunton tradition of celebrating the 4th of July in style, and honor a local hero who has inspired many with her courage and accomplishments.
Wilson Fairchild will take the stage that night at 7:30 p.m. with special guests Wade Hayes at 8:30 p.m. and Jeff and Sheri Easter.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.