MIDDLETOWN — Middletown will once again become Redskins Country for its annual Independence Day celebration.
Mayor Charles Harbaugh IV announced Thursday that three Washington Redskins — two current players and a retired fan favorite — will serve as grand marshals for this year’s July 4th Celebration Parade.
Linebackers Ryan Anderson and Shaun Dion Hamilton, who are expected to be part of this season’s starting defensive lineup, will be joined by Santana Moss, a wide receiver who retired following the 2014 NFL season and is returning to Middletown for his second straight year.
Harbaugh said he has developed personal friendships with several current and former Washington Redskins, and those relationships have made it possible for him in recent years to have team members preside over the town’s July 4th festivities.
Last year, Moss and Redskins running back Chris Thompson participated in the parade. This year would have been the second in a row with two players serving as co-grand marshals, but Moss volunteered to return and waived his standard appearance fee because “he really enjoyed it,” Harbaugh said.
Moss gained over 10,000 yards and scored 66 touchdowns during his 14-year NFL career. He currently hosts “The Santana Moss Show” on YouTube and oversees the 89 Ways to Give charitable foundation in Northern Virginia.
Before joining the Redskins, Anderson and Hamilton played together at the University of Alabama, where each won two national championships. They were both part of the winning 2015 team, and Anderson also earned the title in 2012 and Hamilton was part of the 2017 championship team.
Anderson and Hamilton are being sponsored by Italian Touch restaurant at 7603 Main St. in Middletown, which hosted Thursday’s grand marshal announcement.
“We’re the smallest town around this area, but I’ll tell you right now, we’ve got the best celebration,” restaurant owner Daniel Brereton said.
Harbaugh said Middletown has become somewhat unique in the region because it always holds its Independence Day celebrations on July 4. Other communities, including Winchester, host events on July 3.
Parade Director Tina Clem said 50 to 100 units traditionally participate in Middletown’s July 4th parade.
“If the weather stays good, I’m expecting a lot more this year,” Clem said. “Anybody and everybody can get out there. The more, the better.”
The parade will step off at 5 p.m., beginning at the campus of Lord Fairfax Community College and marching south on Main Street.
Prior to the parade, attractions and activities starting at 8 a.m. in Middletown Community Park will include softball and cornhole tournaments, musical performances by Allen Boyd and Robbie Limon, games, food vendors and displays from more than 50 crafters.
The Reflex will be in the park at 6:15 p.m. to perform music from the 1980s, followed by a public fireworks display at dusk.
For more information or to participate in the parade, call Middletown’s town office at 540-869-2226.