Bristol Fourth of July

Manuel C. Correira

Organizers believe Bristol has the longest running, continuous 4th of July celebration in the country. It began as what are called "patriotic exercises" in 1785. The parade likely started in the 1800’s.

This year’s Chief Marshall, State Representative Raymond Gallison, Jr., has attended the event every year since 1974. In all those years, he missed the parade just once, in 1978, the year he got married.

Manuel C. Correira

The flags and bunting adorn the handsome colonials and Greek Revivals along Hope Street, the hydrangeas are blooming and a fresh stripe of red, white and blue has been painted along the July 4th parade route downtown.

The parking lot at the Lobster Pot was clogged yesterday, the Celtic music session at Aidan’s was standing-room only and Independence Park was jammed with revelers listening to a Jimmy Buffet cover band.

Hike the streets of Bristol this week. It’s an exercise in history and Old Home Week. From the concerts in Independence Park, to the taverns, markets and a Hope Street adorned with the freshly painted  red, white and blue stripe down the middle.

This old  New England port, marinated in history, is the scene this week of handshakes and hugs, as people who haven’t seen each other recently - some in many years – greet and relive the old times.

Wikimedia Commons

Once again, Rhode Islanders are making national news for the low regard we have for our tiny state. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to stop taking Rhode Island  for granted.

The Gallup poll discovered that Rhode Island is the state least appreciated by its own residents. Just 18 percent of Rhode Islanders said our small slice of southeastern New England was the best place or one of the best places to live.

John Bender / RIPR

This morning we continue our One Square Mile/Bristol series with an in depth look at the town's famous parade. It's many things, but it's not the oldest 4th of July parade in America:

Catherine Welch / RIPR

On the other side of the state from Bristol, the irreverent Ancients and Horribles parade made its way through Chepachet. Gov. Lincoln Chafee was there, so were Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Senator Jack Reed and Congressman Jim Langevin. They lead the parade, which included floats making political statements about Obamacare and genetically modified foods. There were also veterans, clowns, marching bands and a stream of fire trucks.  

Walking the streets of Bristol this week is an exercise in Old Home Week. In the taverns, markets and at the concerts at Independence Park, the historic town is a welter of hugs and handshakes as people who haven’t seen each other in years greet and talk about the old times.

This week is the high social season for Bristol. The hydrangeas are in bloom, the red, white and blue stripe has been freshly painted on Hope Street and the peach and plum sunsets explode over the harbor.

The hydrangeas are in full bloom, the sailboats bob on their harbor moorings and the red, white and blue stripe adorns Hope Street. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes a break from politics to celebrate our nation’s birth.

It’s the height of summer: long days of light framed by peach sunsets, high sun and a cobalt sky punctuated by whipped cream clouds.

The handsome Federal and Greek revival homes are dressed in American flags and more red white and blue bunting than Fenway Park on Opening Day.