BRISTOL. R.I. (WPRI) — The Bristol Fourth of July Parade will step off at 10:30 a.m. on Monday morning, but celebrations in town are already well underway.
First held in 1785, the parade has grown in popularity over the years, with people traveling to Rhode Island just to celebrate Independence Day.
“This is my fifth year for the Fourth of July parade. I come here because I love America, I love America’s story and then when I came here, this actually gave me that introduction to my story of America. I actually see it, you know, in its moment,” Armstad Barquer said.
“This is a day when everybody comes together. Doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, it’s a fabulous day,” Dave Scarpino said.
Dave Scarpino lives along the parade route and said the crowds are a welcome sight.
“We have people stopping day and night, they take pictures. We have people actually come up on the stoop and they will photograph themselves. So it’s really a community house and a community flag.”
It’s all about location on the big day and even though Scarpino has a prime spot from his house he said he’ll still be waking up at 4 a.m. to grab his seat on the parade route.
“If I don’t get out there, somebody else will. It’s fun!”
There were patriotic exercises last year, but the entire celebration had to be scaled back due to the pandemic. This year, the celebration has returned with a full slate of events.
“I think in the wake of COVID, independence means we can get back to getting, to do what we want to do, to have the freedom to go out unencumbered, it’s been a tough year,” Scarpino said.