Bristol’s 2020 Fourth of July celebration scaled down

BRISTOL, R.I (WLNE) – The Bristol Fourth of July Committee announced changes are being made to the coming celebration.

According to Michele Martins, chair of the committee, there have been times over its 235-year history when it had to be modified, but Patriotic exercises have always taken place.

Unfortunately, the committee is facing a time of uncertainty and may need to be flexible if changes are needed.

With Governor Raimondo’s executive order in place and the Federal State of Emergency, the final decision will be reflective of preventing further spread if COVID-19 and prioritizing the health of the community.

According to Martins, the committee is working together to make the best possible plan given the current pandemic.

“We have been in communications with our Town Administrator, Police, and Fire Departments, who are working tirelessly to handle the crisis. We are all in agreement that, based on the current situation, it will be necessary to downsize the 2020 celebration, including the parade, which is still scheduled for July 4th”, said Martins.

The Bristol Fourth of July Committee has not cancelled any of its events for 2020, but many events will be postponed and take place throughout the summer, ending with the Summer Concert Series.

“Your continued support is appreciated.  We realize that we live in a world that expects an instant response, but in this situation we have to hope for the best and be patient,” Martins said. “Instead of having everything jam-packed into a two and a half week period, It might be nice to celebrate all summer long, especially after being n your house for months.”

Martins said 75 of the 120 member committee held a meeting on Wednesday and they all voted unanimously to scale down the parade.

“Where we are today we’re not even with more than five people. We’re talking three months from now, we could be past this, we could still be living this,” she said. “We were trying to hold off as long as possible from making any drastic changes.”

Martins said there was also a financial aspect when making the decision.

“If we’re going to be paying for the parade, which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and have to turn around and cancel it, that would be irresponsible,” Martins said.

And although the parade is still a go for the meantime, Martins said the crowds can expect major changes.

“As far as flashy bands and entertainment, it’s not going to happen. It will be very local, low-key. And that’s the best decision as of right now,” Martins said. “The local dignitaries, public officials, at this point I’m not even sure if the veterans will be able to be here.”

Some residents like Gloria Rianna thinks the committee should just pull the plug now, just to be safe.

“I will not go because there will be too many people around, they will be too close together, and it just can’t be helped,” Rianna said. “I really don’t think it’s going to be done by July. So it’s better to be safe than sorry and just cancel it.”

The parade route is still the same, but instead of being a roughly two-and-a-half hour parade, Martins said it will be just about 30 minutes.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, Regional News, Rhode Island