BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — The 235th Annual Bristol 4th of July Celebration kicked off earlier than normal Saturday morning. It was also scaled back in a big way due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In years past, tents, blankets and chairs could be seen along the sidewalk of the parade route of the oldest celebration in the country before the sun rose.
But not this year. Chairs and blankets were discouraged, no one was able to set up on the route before 5 a.m., and no public bathrooms were available.
The Bristol Police and Fire Departments, along with other first responders kicked off the parade that started around 8:30 a.m.
The celebration was originally scheduled for 10:30 a.m., but organizers moved it earlier in hopes of minimizing the crowd.
And it showed as there were noticeably less people in attendance this year.
Unlike the usual, hours long event, this years celebration only lasted about a half hour.
Instead of groups marching on the streets, a vehicle procession was held, with those inside wearing masks, waving to people along the streets.
The annual fireworks display at Bristol Harbor was canceled, but will be rescheduled.