The Bristol Fourth of July Parade gets all the press. And why not? It’s massive. It’s soaked in tradition–being the oldest continuous parade in the country. And it’s epic.
But what if you don’t like traffic, suffocating big crowds, and an all-day commitment?
What if you’re patriotic and like parades, but you’re not looking for something massive? What if you want something homey? Basically, what if you’re like me?
In that case, one can’t go wrong with the Warwick Neck Neighborhood Parade. Today was the 26th annual renewal of the event, and as usual, it was perfect.
I’ve been going to this event since 2007, when I started working as a reporter for The Warwick Beacon. I’ve been to almost every single parade since. It’s a fun, relaxed, laid back time to celebrate America’s birth and independence.
The Warwick Neck Neighborhood Parade is Americana at its finest.
There are dogs draped in American flags. The floats are usually just ride on lawn mowers pulling children in wagons. Sometimes, they throw candy to the parade watchers. Other, usually older kids ride their bikes along the route, which takes runs down by Warwick Country Club.
It looks like something you would see in a Norman Rockwell painting.
At the event’s end, Bill Nixon, who first organized the event, hosts a flag raising at his beautiful home located on the water. He serves lemonade, water, watermelon, and an assortment of cookies. He doesn’t charge anything.
Today, he explained the event’s origin.
“The way this parade started is we were down in Stonington on a sailboat. And there was this small parade taking place. So we thought why not get in it? Of course, nobody knew us. But we waved to everyone anyways,” said Nixon.
“So the next year, we figured, why not have our own parade (here). So we sent out pamphlets a few week ahead of time and about 100 people showed up. But nobody wanted to watch the parade. Everybody wanted to be in the parade. There wasn’t one person watching it. So then it grew from there,” said Nixon.
This year, people were watching, but there were more people in the parade than people watching it.
“Some of the children that were in the first parade are now all grown and have their own children,” said Nixon.
Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon also spoke at the event.
“As Mayor of the City, I’m honored to welcome everyone here today. I wish you all a very happy Fourth of July and a safe summer ahead,” said Solomon.