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Bristol holds a double celebration for the 4th

Staff and campers from Tapply-Thompson Community Center's summer camp program were a colorful part of Bristol's Fourth of July parade this year. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 12, 2019
BRISTOL – The Fourth of July parade in Bristol this year was proclaimed to be "Two Birthdays-One Parade," and the celebration couldn't have been finer as revelers and floats saluted not only the nation's 243rd Birthday, but Bristol's own Bicentennial.

Behind the police escort and military color guard that led off the 2019 parade was Grand Marshal Ned Gordon. Accompanied by his wife Gayle, Gordon waved to the crowds lining the route and was acknowledged when the convertible he and his wife were riding in reached downtown Bristol.

Entries for the event this year varied from tributes to the nation to tributes to Bristol's heritage so there was plenty of red, white and blue and a lot of local nostalgia as well.

Antique cars and an 1800's hay wagon from Robie Farm were among the first tip of the cap that reminded everyone of Bristol's rich past. Colonial garb and an old time tavern scene on a float created by the Bristol Historical Society added to the charm of the event.

Local Girl Scout Troops 13134 and 13139 also acknowledged their heritage by marching in vintage uniforms that dated back 80 years. The theme of their entry was "Women in History Who Were Girl Scouts" as they paid tribute to the success of formers scouts who have gone on to see great success. Cub Scout Pack 59 joined in the fun as well with scouts dressed in bright orange shirts while marching or ride bikes through the town. Joel Wade also entertained the crowds while riding his six-foot tall bicycle along the route.

In addition to that, Ken Braley and Sons, Masonic Lodge, Friends of Newfound Football, newly inducted members of the Newfound Athletic Hall of Fame, Knights of Columbus and Bristol UCC Church provided great presentations that tipped a hat at both the nation and the Newfound Region.

Summer camp staff and campers from Tapply-Thompson Community made their presence known as they saluted both the 4th of July and Bristol's Bicentennial with great enthusiasm. "The House Wives of Newfound Lake" and a running group that declared "We Run Newfound" were also part of the fun celebration. They were joined by Peppercorn Natural Foods, who had a quaint country-styled float, and the Pasquaney Snowshoe Club, which proudly acknowledged their ties to the region that date back to 1912.

Community supporters also took part in the day with great presentations from Hannaford's Market, West Shore Marine and NANA, the local home health care organization, toting a huge birthday cake along the route.

Getting everyone on their feet to sing along with them though was the Uncle Steve Band. The ever-popular local group belted out the lyrics of the Beatles' famous "Birthday" song on Pleasant St. before shooting off red white and blue confetti cannons from their float.

At the conclusion they shouted, "Happy Birthday America! Happy Birthday Bristol!" to thunderous cheers and applause.

Fire departments from several communities also took part in the celebration. Leading the way was the Bristol Fire Department with their antique fire wagon. They were followed by some of their partners in safety from the towns of Alexandria, Bridgewater, Danbury, Hill, Meredith and Plymouth. Sparky the Fire Dog and Smokey the Bear also hitched a ride on a couple of their vehicles to remind people about fire safety rules, both at home and in the outdoors.

Emcee for the day was none other than Bristol's own Carroll Brown, the Solitary Man. Brown not only announced each entry as they traveled up Pleasant St. and made the final turn onto N. Main St., but entertained the crowds with music and fun prior to the parade.

On Saturday, July 6, the excitement of the dual celebration moved to the foot of Newfound Lake where fireworks capped off the national holiday and Bristol's bicentennial celebration for the weekend.

AJ Coleman
Varney Smith
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