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Bristol celebrates family on the Fourth

Grand Marshalls for the 2018 Bristol Fourth of July Parade were Bebe "Ski Bunny" Woods and John Bianchi who were driven along the parade route in a 1965 Chrysler Newport Convertible. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 11, 2018
BRISTOL – The Fourth of July Parade in Bristol celebrated families this year, and not only did families line the parade route; many participated in the fun and excitement of the day that was filled with music, floats, antique cars and plenty of candy to share with the younger crowds.

Carroll Brown, also known professionally as Solitary Man, hosted the event with classic hits and patriotic music from Central Square as everyone awaited the arrival of the parade. He then turned his talents toward emceeing the event.

This year's Grand Marshalls were John Bianchi and Bebe "Ski Bunny" Woods. Bianchi was chosen not only for his many years of commitment to fire department but his service to the town as well. Woods is well known throughout the community for her impressive skiing accomplishments, her time as a beloved instructor at Ragged Mountain Ski Area and her long time dedication as a volunteer and outstanding member of the Newfound community. To honor them as Grand Marshalls, the pair was driven along the parade route in a classic 1965 Chrysler Newport Convertible.

Veterans, Troop 59 Boy Scouts, and several local Girl Scout troops also bore the nation's colors as they marched from Freudenberg NOK to Central Square waving to the crowds.

Ken Braley and Sons, West Shore Marine, Newfound Law, Medical Reimbursement Specialists, along with RP Williams and their 1934 Model T Ford took part in the parade, too, with many including their own family members on their floats.

Newfound Area Nursing Association, local churches and political organizations were also a big part of the celebration with colorful floats and words of inspiration. NANA's float thoughtfully declared, "Family… like branches on a tree we all grow in different directions but our roots keep us all together."

Newfound Football brought a large contingency of players and supporters to the day from both the middle school and high school levels while Tapply-Thompson Community Center and Heart Centered Multi-age Preschool and Kindergarten took part in the event with young children who may one day also be a part of middle school and high school athletics.

Older athletes were saluted as well when former track coach Earl Mills, a Hall of Fame recipient at Newfound Regional High School, cruised the parade route in an open-air convertible. His passengers were this year's Hall of Fame inductees Dan Harvey, Dani MacDonald and Nancy Mills who will be recognized in September for their contributions to athletics and education in Newfound Regional School District.

The popular Uncle Steve Band also played their way along the parade route with family and friends on board their float. As they rolled their way through town they performed a brief preview of the music they would play the following night for the Thursday night Concerts in the Park series at Kelley Park.

Speaking to the theme of celebrating families, the Peppercorn Natural Foods family created a beautiful float to reflect their love of camping and the outdoors while generations of the Worthen and Whittier families paid an enthusiastic tribute to their 150 years of residency on Peaked Hill Road in Bristol.

Of special note for the annual Fourth of July celebration was an entry from 11-year-old Ian MacDonald, who each year decorates a wagon to take part in town's parades. This year his red, white and blue outfit, balloons and decorations were a fitting tribute to the real meaning of the day.

For more information on the many weekly and special events taking place in Bristol this summer, please visit the town's Web site, www.townofbristol.org.

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Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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