BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Thousands of people flocked to Bristol Monday morning as the nation’s oldest continuing Fourth of July celebration roared back to life.

Rhode Islanders and tourists alike lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the town’s 237th parade, which stepped off at 10:30 a.m. from the corner of Chestnut and Hope streets.

“It’s like Christmas!” James Medeiros exclaimed.

This year’s parade was much larger than the past two years, since it was forced to scale back during the pandemic.

It was a yearly tradition that many wouldn’t miss.

Kimberly Madden tells 12 News she arrived at 3:30 a.m. to secure her spot along the parade route.

“It’s magical,” Madden said.

Herman Sousa agreed.

“It’s no secret anymore that this is the place to be for the Fourth of July,” Sousa said.

The parade included floats, marching bands, performers and marchers from all across the state.

“It’s not a big town, but it’s a parade no one will ever forget,” Alexander Milhomens said.