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Bristol draws large crowds for July 4 festivities

The Drake Family took first place honors at the Independence Day Parade in Bristol with their red, white and blue bedecked bicycles and patriotic spirit. Their theme was “Hike it! Bike it! Newfound Rocks it!” Pictured: Mikayla Royea, Jacob Royea, Madison Royea and Hannah Drake prepare to ride! (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
July 06, 2011
BRISTOL—Fourth of July vacationers in the Newfound area were welcomed with open arms as the traditional summer kickoff got off to a great start this past weekend.

Local residents reported a palpable sense of excitement and a larger than usual level of visitors to the area this year, setting the tone for what they hope to be a very busy and successful summer tourist season on the lake.

Saturday was the big party day for Bristol, beginning with the traditional community parade through downtown in the morning, and winding up with the annual fireworks at the southern tip of the lake late in the evening.

While fireworks this year were hampered by last minute changes occasioned by safety considerations and resulting technical glitches, nothing could dampen the spirit of Independence Day patriots who enjoyed a full weekend of activities, and the first real weekend of picture perfect summer weather for swimming, boating, fishing, picnics, and the multitude of family reunions that take place every year on the lake.

The clowns from The Best Party Ever provided laughs and lighthearted entertainment for parade spectators. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
The best of Bristol was on display Saturday morning, as dozens of parade participants assembled in the parking lot at Freudenberg N.O.K. They were accompanied by a fleet of handsome antique cars gathering at the Bristol Shop N Save for the trip through town to Bristol's Central Square.

Led once again this year by the ever faithful contingent from the Bristol VFW, followed up in short order by the gleaming red fleet of imposing and powerful vehicles from J.P Morrison Construction, the long cavalcade was punctuated by the upbeat sounds of the Uncle Steve Band and the talented Jazz Kids, finishing off with an impressive array of Fire and Rescue Trucks from Bristol, Hebron, Danbury, Alexandria and Hill.

The distinguished judges, Lorraine Bohmiller, Trish Freeman, Michelle McGwinn and Dolly Bonio, said they had a tough time choosing the finalists in the competition for favorite float, but the Drake family contingent took the nod for spirit this year, with their bicycles bedecked with red, white and blue crepe paper ribbons and balloons and a popular theme that resonates with Newfound Lake lovers of all ages: "Hike it! Bike it! Newfound Rocks it!" Get out there and enjoy!

Second place went to the entry from Bristol's new Heart Centered Multi-Age Independent School float, pulled by ATV and featuring camping and family hiking adventure theme.

The cute kids from the Piggy Back Rides and Slippery Slides enjoy the ride on a picture perfect, sunny, July morning in Bristol. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
According to Director Jennifer MacDonald, the new independent school will open in downtown Bristol, at 11 Pleasant St., on Aug. 29 for the upcoming year, with full-day kindergarten, and eventually, K-8 classes.

Third place went to the "I love America" float, with honorable mentions for Bill and Faith Tobin's now familiar, and still spectacularly impressive, "Seal of New Hampshire" giant sized replica, the hay wagon peopled by the familiar, friendly faces from the Walker Family Farm, and irresistibly cute kids from Piggy Back Rides and Slippery Slides Childcare.

The corn was knee-high in the field next to the Homeland Cemetery as the procession began its way past a throng of appreciate spectators. Kiarra and Khia Blankenship, and Sam Sanborn sure looked like they were sitting pretty atop a bale of hay in the truckbed of Jeff Chartier's powder blue 1950's era all-American truck. Mary Kay Haines and her kitchen crew from the Bristol United Church of Christ couldn't have looked more fetching in their red, white and blue chef's caps and uniforms, ringing the dinner bell as they celebrated the Great American Church Supper. The Bristol Church is famous for providing as many as eight church suppers a year, open to the public, with proceeds going to the many missions of the church. Keep up the good work everybody!

State Sen. Jeannie Forrester was on hand, along with Bristol's State Representatives, Paul Simard and Harold "Skip" Reilly, as the politicians greeted voters and enjoyed the day. It was the Northern Pass that was on many people's minds as they contemplated the meaning of the July 4 holiday.

"This year, I am relating everything back to the importance of private property rights," commented Forrester. "I have been meeting with private landowners throughout the state who are terribly concerned about the potential threat to property rights."

Forrester said that she would continue to lead the fight against the controversial electrical transmission project proposal, especially in the North Country.

Photos of the July 4 festivities in Newfound and the surrounding area can be found on the Record Enterprise Facebook page.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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Town of Barnsted
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