Organizers believe Bristol has the longest running, continuous 4th of July celebration in the country. It began as what are called "patriotic exercises" in 1785. The parade likely started in the 1800’s.
This year’s Chief Marshall, State Representative Raymond Gallison, Jr., has attended the event every year since 1974. In all those years, he missed the parade just once, in 1978, the year he got married.
"We went on our honeymoon during the 4th of July parade, and I said, 'never again. We’ll never miss another parade,' and we haven’t," Gallison said.
The Bristol parade draws as many as 100,000 spectators, capping off several days of concerts, fireworks and a drum and bugle corps competition.
"I’ve got chills thinking about the kickoff on Saturday morning when I cut the ribbon, and they fire the cannons and play the national anthem," said Gallison. "It’s just emotional for me, very, very emotional thinking about it."