CHATHAM – For Stuart Varney, the sometimes-controversial host of Fox Business Network’s Varney and Co. since 2012 and a part-time Chatham resident, Chatham’s Fourth of July parade is one of the highlights of the year.
“I just like that feeling of the town of Chatham coming together for this event,” he said during a telephone interview last week. “It’s a long parade; the whole town is there.”
Varney will spend the entire holiday week in Chatham. This year he has an extra cause for celebration as his 70th birthday will be on July 7.
The night before the parade, Varney sets out chairs by the sidewalk in Sears Park. “We always get a great view,” he says. Accompanying Varney to the parade are his daughter Jill Varney Meyer, son-in-law James Meyer and the couple’s five children – Abigail, Page, Caleb, Eleanor and Cynthia – as well as James Meyer’s parents. “We like to get right up front so the little ones can see.”
It was Jill Meyer who first introduced Varney to Chatham a few years back. Jill and James Meyer run The Captain’s House Inn on Old Harbor Rd. For a time when he visited Chatham, Varney would stay at the inn, which the couple bought in 2006. (Prior to that the Meyers owned another inn in town.)
“She introduced me to Chatham and I fell in love very, very quickly,” Varney says. In 2015 Varney bought a house in the center of town – an easy walk to Main Street.
This will be the fourth year that Varney’s grandchildren will run a fundraising lemonade stand before and after the parade selling iced tea, lemonade (donated by Odwalla) and homemade cookies.
Each year the grandchildren choose a charitable cause to donate the proceeds to; this year it is the Jesse Nash Memorial Foundation, Jill Meyer says. Jesse Nash was a 7-year-old Chatham boy who died last March of a rare childhood cancer after a four-year battle with the disease. The lemonade stand will be set up on Seaview Street, just up from the Civil War Monument in Sears Park.
Varney frequently mentions his grandchildren and is clearly a proud grandfather. In April Meyer’s three oldest children, visiting New York City, appeared on his show. Altogether he has nine grandchildren. And when Meyer, who is the oldest of Varney’s six children, won $25,000 on a “Hotel Showdown” on the Travel Channel in 2015, Varney featured a clip of her on his show.
Varney was born and raised in Derbyshire, England and still retains his British accent. He has lived in the U.S. for the past 40 years and became a U.S. citizen in 2015.
A graduate of the London School of Economics, he began his broadcast career as a business anchor on KEMO-TV in San Francisco. He worked at CNN and CNBC before joining Fox News/Fox Business in 2004. His show Varney and Co. is billed as a news and talk show that covers the financial market and breaking news with discussions of how the news affects his viewers’ finances. The show has been rated the number one television show on the financial market for over a year.
Varney works at the Fox News studio in midtown Manhattan and appears on the air from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. He says that people often ask him when he gets up in the morning. Answer: 2:45 a.m. He is in his office by 4 a.m. every day.
On Fridays, when he gets off the air, he moves quickly. “I take makeup off in 30 seconds, jump into the car,” he says. His destination is the airport in Teterboro, N.J., where he catches a prop plane to Chatham Airport. He arrives in his house in Chatham by 2:30 p.m. That is just about when he enjoys a cup of tea.
“An Earl Grey at 3 p.m. is still part of life,” he says.
Like many of Chatham’s well-known residents, Varney moves around town somewhat under the radar. When he is out and about with his young twin granddaughters, who both have bright red hair, he says people always notice his granddaughters. “I’m on TV for three hours a day and they attract more attention than I do.”
Varney says he loves American icons such as baseball, pompoms, cheerleaders and the National Anthem. And in Chatham, he loves the traditions that we all love: movies and special showings at the Chatham Orpheum Theater, summer theater at the Monomoy Theatre, meals at the Chatham Squire, Chatham Bars Inn, the Bistro on Main, walks up Shore Road and watching the fish being unloaded at the Chatham Fish Pier in the afternoon.
He likes taking his grandchildren to see the sharks.
“Let me be clear here,” he says. “I love the Sharks in the Park.”
And Varney pays Chatham perhaps the ultimate compliment. When he retires, he says he’s “pretty sure” he’ll retire here—at least for nine months of the year.
“You wrap it all up together, it’s a pleasant, functioning, dynamic small town,” he says. “People are just fascinating and very friendly.”