History of the Chesapeake Jubilee

Happy Birthday Chesapeake! That was the idea in 1982 when the idea for the first Jubilee was hatched. The City was turning 20 years old, and the Chesapeake Chamber of Commerce was looking for a way to celebrate in style. At a retreat, former mayor Marian Whitehurst said the city needed a way to celebrate. She became our first chairman. The Jubilee was held at Greenbrier Mall in May of 1983. One of the highlights was a huge birthday cake built by Chesapeake’s firefighters. The candles were lit by gas. Fire Chief Buddy Bagley made arrangements for fireworks and has been in charge of them ever since. The Chesapeake 4-H livestock show and sale have always been an integral part of the Jubilee. The youth of Chesapeake have been well served by the educational experience of the 4-H.

Buddy Bagley

The event could not have taken place without the help of volunteers, community groups, city staff, and police, fire and sheriff’s departments. That tradition continues. After three years, the Jubilee was moved to its present location at City Park. In 2003, the Buddy Bagley stage was dedicated and its beauty is a source of pride. This stage was made possible through the donations and workmanship of local businesses. After 20 years, renting stages is history! The Chesapeake Jubilee has a long history of top entertainers including Willie Nelson, Trace Adkins, Chuck Berry, The Commodores, Conway Twitty, Travis Tritt, .38 Special, Four Tops, Kansas, Charley Pride and Eddie Money.

The objective of the Jubilee is to celebrate the city’s anniversary, but also to build community spirit and cohesiveness. We offer events that we hope will appeal to all citizens of Chesapeake, as well as all our neighbors. Come on out!

The Chesapeake Jubilee is a Non-Profit Organization governed by an executive committee composed of former Jubilee chairmen:

  • 1983 Marian Whitehurst
  • 1984 Frank Degnan
  • 1985 Buddy Bagley
  • 1986 John Newhart
  • 1987 Tim Kerr
  • 1988 Durwood Curling
  • 1989 Marvin Barnes / Tim Kerr
  • 1990 Frank Pollard / Bill Sawyer
  • 1991 Jack Gibson
  • 1992 Jack Gibson / Durwood Curling
  • 1993 Stephen Best / Jerry Grizzard
  • 1994 Sarah Languell / Marj Crump
  • 1995 Linwood Nelms
  • 1996 Pete Burkhimer
  • 1997 Ricky Bowers
  • 1998 Berkley Gibbs
  • 1999 Andy Callahan
  • 2000 Chip Chappell
  • 2001 Glenn Davis
  • 2002 Richard Pippin
  • 2003 Rodney Foster
  • 2004 Jane Gibson
  • 2005 Mike Best
  • 2006 Bobby Jones
  • 2007 Tara Preston
  • 2008 Bill Fink
  • 2009 Louis Tayon
  • 2010 Suzy Kelly
  • 2011 Jim O’Sullivan
  • 2012 Louis Tayon
  • 2013 Jerry Ivory
  • 2014 Robert A. “Bobby” Clifton
  • 2015 Whitney Gibbs
  • 2016 / 2017  Mike Foley