‘We’re going to have a festival’: RI planning committees determined to host traditional events this year

Coronavirus

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Although the St. Patrick’s Day parade won’t go on in March for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic, other beloved celebrations scheduled for later in the year are planning to move forward.

The Bristol 4th of July Parade is set to stroll down Hope Street once again this year, the celebration’s planning committee announced Sunday.

Michele Martins, the chair of the Bristol 4th of July Committee, told WPRO Monday that they’re hoping life will be mostly back to normal by the summer.

“We’re hoping that by the time we get to June, we’ll have most people vaccinated that want to be vaccinated,” she said. “I think we’ll probably, likely, be in the masks from what I understand, but we’re hoping to have a celebration similar to what we’ve had or the same as what we’ve had in the past.”

Because the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday, the committee is planning the fireworks display for that night and moving the parade to Monday, July 5.

Mike Healey, a spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) told 12 News last week they’ve been receiving questions from groups who host events in state parks.

“Folks understandably want to know, ‘Hey can we get a piece of our former lives back?'” Healey said.

He said it’s too early to tell whether these events will happen and what restrictions would be in place. A spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Health told 12 News on Monday that they are developing and releasing guidance shortly for spring and summer outdoor events.

“Like the public, we’re ready to turn the page,” Healey said. “We’re optimistic that with spring and the pandemic and the rate of spread really in the best position it’s been a for a long time, we can start to plan for these events and hopefully in a small way something to look forward to because we all need that.”

Paul Leveillee, President of the Scituate Art Festival, agrees with Healey, and said he and his fellow organizers are committed to hosting the full event this October.

“I’m going to tell you right now, we’re going to have a festival,” Leveillee said. “I’m not sure what it’s going to look like … but the committee and myself are so positive we can do it that, no matter what… we’re going to have an art festival this year.”

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