Bristol, Rhode Island's Annual Fourth of July Celebration History

The Celebration officially starts on June 14th, Flag Day

The Annual Bristol 4th of July Celebration began in 1785 when Rev. Henry Wight of the First Congregational Church and a Veteran of the Revolutionary War conducted the first Patriotic Exercises.

It is not known exactly when the Parade started but it is thought that it evolved from the procession of community members walking to Patriotic Exercises. The Parade, the Military, Civic and Firemen's Parade, is believed to have begun in the early 1800's.

The Celebration officially starts on June 14th, Flag Day and concludes with the 2.5 mile Military, Civic and Firemen's Parade on July 4th. Throughout the period following the Flag Day Ceremony numerous events are scheduled. They include a concert series at Independence Park, Fireworks, a Drum Corps Show, a Firefighters muster and a 4th of July Ball as well as many other events.

Past Fourth of July Diginitaries

Each Celebration there are several diginitaries that are chosen by the General Chairman, the Committee or Sub-Committee's to participate in the Celebration at various levels. The Visiting Ship is determined by the U.S. Navy. Below are the differnet dignitaries history.

Past Button Contest Winners

Each year since 1992, children in Bristol have entered the Button Contest. The winner is chosen by a panel from the Souvenir Committee, presented a $100 savings bond and is given the opportunity to march in the parade The button is the Official Button of the Fourth of July Celebration.

Past Button Contest Winners