Bristol prepares for smaller vehicle-only 4th of July parade

East Bay

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — The Bristol Fourth of July parade is still happening on Saturday, but scaled-back in a big way.

With many events and large gatherings being canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the town of Bristol is keeping their important tradition alive with a smaller vehicle-only parade.

“But it’s not so important that we’re going to be taking too many chances,” Bristol native Candy Alessandro said. “I think it’s wise of them to not have the huge celebration that they do.”

Unlike the normal, hours long event, this year’s celebration is expected to be only 45-minutes long.

“It’s still a parade, but it nowhere near rivals the many many years,” Bristol resident Benjamin Warren said.

First held in 1785, the parade has grown in popularity and size over the years. For those who attend each year say even though this year will be smaller, it doesn’t make it any less special.

“The extra special part is when you see your family, because you know sometimes we’ve even been isolated from our extended family,” Alessandro said.

The committee is encouraging only Bristol residents to attend to keep the crowd small and make it easier for everyone to keep their distance.

Chairs and blankets are discouraged, no one can set up on the parade route before 5 a.m., and no public bathrooms will be available.

The parade will start at 8:30 a.m., two hours earlier than usual in hopes of minimizing crowds.

Parade entertainment will be on flatbeds. The parade will be led by the 88th Army Band, starting with the National Anthem. The Bristol County Fife and Drum Corps will also perform.

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