America’s most patriotic town is once again honoring its Fourth of July tradition that has spanned the course of more than two centuries. Bristol’s 237th annual Military, Civic and Fireman’s parade kicks off its 2.5-mile route at 10:30 am on Monday, July 4th, beginning at the corner of Chestnut Street and Hope Street (Rt. 114) and concluding on High Street, between State Street and Bradford Street.
Here’s everything parade goers need to know to have the best experience this year:
WHAT TO WEAR:
Dress to impress with your favorite red, white and blue fashions but be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Plan on walking and maybe roughing it through all terrains including roads, yards, and crowds of people. More than 200,000 people find their way to Bristol to celebrate Independence Day, so navigating through a bunch of them is all part of the fun!
HOW TO GET AROUND:
If walking feels like a chore, you can use creative forms of transportation like bicycles, roller skates, rollerblades, scooters, or skateboards. Save your back by carting the kiddos around using a stroller or wagon. Just be mindful that bikes, skateboards and in-line skates are not allowed along parade route during the parade. Anyone using any such transportation must walk along the parade route with these items at their side.
WHERE TO PARK:
The story with parking is that it’s a tricky hunt. The parade forms at Mt. Hope High School and participants will be parking there, so it’s best to avoid that area. There will be large lots open to the public at the corner of Hope and Gooding. Otherwise, the best guidance is to park on one of the side roads in town and walk or bike to get a closer view of the parade action. It also helps to find a friend in Bristol and politely request to use their driveway. Otherwise, avoid blocking driveways on residential streets as police are ready to ticket. Areas marked with paper signs that read “No Parking” mean business. These regulations will be strictly enforced and any vehicles breaking them will be towed at the owner’s expense.
WHAT TO BRING:
Be sure to pack plenty of water, cold drinks, and snacks as there is limited food vending offered at the parade, if any at all. Hats and sunscreen are a great plan for sun protection. Also, think about bringing your kids’ favorite travel-friendly puzzles, games, and books to keep them occupied before the parade begins.
WHAT NOT TO BRING:
Pets, yes even the cute ones, should be left at home. With the amount of people occupying space along the parade route there isn’t much room for furry friends to roam. Alcoholic beverages are also prohibited, so be sure to keep coolers kid friendly. It’s also a good idea to leave certain celebratory items at home: fireworks, silly string, “poppers”, streamers, water pistols and projectiles of any kind are prohibited.
WHERE TO WATCH:
It’s common practice to find a desirable spot along the parade route the night before. However, overnight camping is not allowed. Blankets and chairs should not be set up along the parade route before 5:00 a.m. Parade rules and regulations described on the parade website clearly state that any materials set up before 5:00 a.m. will be confiscated.
Keep in mind that various surrounding streets will be closed beginning at 8:00 a.m. on parade day, including Poppasquash Road. Chestnut Street, Naomi Street and Sherry Avenue will be closed to traffic at 7:00 a.m. A parking ban along the parade route goes into effect the night before the parade.
The Military, Civic and Fireman’s parade is a sweet end cap to a two-week long celebration that begins every year on Flag Day, June 14th. This year’s parade will include bands and drum corps from all over the United States. Prizes will be awarded for the Most Patriotic, Most Beautiful and Most Original floats. There will also be a Top Military Honors and Best in the Parade Awards.
Overall, it’s a wonderful day to celebrate American history while honoring a grand tradition that got its start in Bristol hundreds of years ago.
Tune in for live coverage of the 237th Bristol 4th of July Parade, part of America’s oldest Independence Day celebration – Monday, July 4th at 10:30 am ET on YurView NE (Cox channel 4) and can also be seen on The Portuguese Channel for Comcast subscribers in Southern New England. You can also catch the free live stream on watch.yurview.com.