It’s July 1st. In most parts of the US, that means three days until a day off to celebrate the nations birthday. In Bristol RI it has a very different meaning. The 4th of July is a significant event, it’s THE event. Planning for July 4th, starts on July 5th the previous year. The celebration begins in June and climaxes with the oldest parade in the country.
I grew up in Bristol RI. I marched in the parade as a member of the Bristol Highschool drumline. Growing up in Bristol is like growing up as an elf in the North Pole. You know it’s special, but it gets old, and you want to get out, to be a dentist. I moved out of Bristol in my early 20s. Over the next 15 years, I didn’t regularly return for the 4th. As my girls became teenagers, they had friends that lived in Bristol and we started returning for the parade, then fireworks on July 3 AND the parade of July 4th. For the past 10 years we found ourselves in Bristol on or around the 4th of July. The charm of this small town, with a proud identity, began to look like home.
There is a “what if” conversation you have with your spouse; “If we could move anywhere, where would it be?”. For Erica and I, Bristol was always on the short list. A very short list it was. In 2016 we found ourselves with an opportunity to relocate to Bristol. We celebrated our first July 4th with family and friends in 2017.
We are days away from our second 4th hosting. It’s exciting to have family and friend join us for this purely American, hometown celebration.