Bristol 4th of July parade still on, but smaller

East Bay

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — The oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration in the country will still go on but with some adjustments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bristol Fourth of July Committee released a statement Thursday saying members voted unanimously during a Zoom meeting Wednesday night to downsize the parade and reschedule the events throughout the summer.

“There have been times over its 235-year history when the celebration has had to be modified; however, the Patriotic Exercises have always taken place,” the statement read. “We are now facing a time of uncertainty and must make the best plan possible with the flexibility of changes as needed.”

Committee Chair Michele Martins said none of the events have been canceled yet, but she’s determined to keep the Patriotic Exercises on the schedule.

“We are absolutely confident that no matter what we do the Patriot Exercises will take place,” Martins said. “Even if they’re on Zoom. We’re going to make it happen.” 

She said the committee is doing everything they can despite the current situation.

“We’re still three months out,” she said. “With every decision there’s a negative and positive outcome. Some people think we should cancel the whole thing now and some people are saying it’s too early. We’re doing the best we can to execute these events that people look forward to all year.”

With the states of emergency and executive orders from the federal government and Gov. Gina Raimondo still in place, Martins said they’ll be prioritizing the health, safety and wellbeing of the community when making their final decision.

Martins said the concert series will begin on Aug. 23 and end with the “Last Night Concert” on Aug. 30. She expects many of the events to be postponed to a later date, however, and said more announcements will be made as the details are worked out.

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