Fourth of July

Stars and Stripes Forever

Everything you need to know about the country's oldest Fourth of July celebration

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Whether you’re a longtime spectator of the parade or it’s your first year getting in on the festivities, we’ve put together everything you need to know to have the best 4th of July ever. From preand post-celebrations and parade traditions to the meaning behind the procession and where to eat on parade day, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover all the ins and outs of the most historic (and awesome) parade the Bay – and this country – has to offer.

The Bristol parade is the oldest in the country, and this year marks its 230th continuous Independence Day celebration.

  • The first Bristol celebration was on July 4, 1785.
  • The red, white and blue painted stripes were added to the parade route in 1969. It takes over 100 gallons of paint to cover the two and a half mile strip each year.
  • The first Miss Fourth of July, Evelyn Lemaire, was crowned in 1948. The first Little Miss Fourth of July, Ashley Ann Oliveiria, was crowned in 1997.
  • This year’s Fourth of July committee has 142 members. Their mantra is “We are the keepers of the tradition.”
  • The committee holds over 45 year-round events, like spaghetti dinners, card games and fancy galas.
  • This year’s Concert Series will host 24 bands over a 14-day period.
  • The Drum and Bugle Corps Competition will have nearly 1,000 musicians from 7 states and the Caribbean.
  • 95% of all money to host the celebration comes from fundraising, sponsors and individual donations.
  • Oklahoma City’s Katie Francis, who holds the world record for most Girl Scout cookie sales, is walking in the parade this year. She sold 22,200 boxes of cookies this year, beating her own record from last year.

The Rookie’s Guide

How to survive (and enjoy!) your first Bristol parade

Celebrations Before the Parade Even Starts

Early birds know there's more than just a parade

The Order of the Parade

Who marches when and why

MVPP

Most valuable parade people

Events Surrounding the Fourth

What to do before and after the fourth

Parade Route

Plan ahead to get that perfect parade spot