Why Bristol skipped 4th of July parade for 2nd straight year

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 5:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2021 at 3:08 AM EDT
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BRISTOL, Vt. (WCAX) - This is the second year in a row Bristol did not hold its annual Fourth of July parade.

“With COVID, it shut everything down. The majority of the committee didn’t have faith that the vaccine would work as effectively as it did,” said Cecil Foster, the chair of the Bristol Fourth of July Parade.

To hold Bristol’s Fourth of July parade each year, Foster says the committee typically begins meetings in January.

Not only is there a parade, the town hosts a 5K race, the Great Bristol Outhouse Race and a gathering in the park with vendors, bands and activities.

“The latest we could wait was around May first, and at that point, the numbers were still high,” Foster said.

Since many people have been vaccinated, the committee felt safe enough putting on the town’s fireworks Friday night but it was too late to produce a parade for several thousand people.

“Usually the streets are full, families come from everywhere, people park overnight in front to get a good spot,” said Lauris Chamberlain of Bristol.

Chamberlain and many others say they missed the atmosphere the celebration brings to the town.

“I don’t think it was disappointment, it was just more missing something that you’ve done for so long and has been a tradition,” Chamberlain said.

The Vermont Marketplace typically stays open during the parade.

“We get a lot of traffic in the store, people waiting for the parade to start,” said Carol Wells, who co-owns the store with her husband.

Wells says she was happy to see people in town this weekend even though there wasn’t as large a celebration as usual.

“It’s such a fun day and yeah, I am looking forward to next year,” she said.

The committee is looking forward to 2022, hoping they once again get to plan a big Fourth of July celebration.

“Barring any variants of COVID, we all have our fingers crossed that that all goes away and leaves us so we get back to normalcy,” Foster said.

Just about everyone I spoke with in town said they didn’t want to go on camera, but they are looking forward to next year and hope that it’s the biggest and best parade Bristol has ever had.

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