I’m in Bristol for the Fourth. Now what?


An estimated 100,000 people will arrive in Bristol between July 3rd and 4th to enjoy concerts, marching bands competitions, fireworks, patriotic exercises, and, of course, the parade.

And most everyone who comes to Bristol will have the same question when they get here: Where can I park?

The answer: Good question.

To ensure the best chance to find a parking space on July 3 or 4, the key is to arrive early. Bristol is a mecca for Fourth of July activity, but parking can be a challenge.

Besides on-street parking, there are free municipal lots on Thames Street adjacent to Independence Park.

A limited number of diagonal spaces are available on the north end of Thames Street, and additional parking is available in the lot leading to Quito’s seafood restaurant.

Further south on Thames Street there are additional lots, one at the corner of Church Street, across from the Prudence Island Ferry lot, and another one block away, across from the Robin Rug factory.

Parking is also available in the lots at the Bristol Shopping Plaza on Gooding Avenue, and on-street parking is available on some of the side roads heading east from Hope Street.

The best way to enjoy the Fourth of July in Bristol is to arrive early, find a parking spot, lock your car, and walk to explore the town that is filled with historical, artful, and delicious attractions.

Note: Temporary ‘no parking’ signs will be posted by Bristol police for the next two days. Police will enforce parking regulations throughout the Fourth of July activities. Please obey all posted no parking signs. Violators will be subject to fines and towing.

Road closures

July 3 – Concerts, fireworks, drum and bugle corps

On Wednesday, July 3, Poppasquash Road will be closed to traffic at 1 p.m. to allow pyrotechnicians time to set up for the evening’s fireworks display at 9:30 p.m.

Local access to Poppasquash Road will available through Colt State Park, by taking Asylum Road and exiting through the Poppasquash Road entrance.

At 7 p.m., the DCI Drum and Bugle Corps competition will begin at Mt. Hope High School athletic field on Chestnut Street. Parking is available in the school parking lot, as well as on Chestnut Street. Limited parking may be available on Naomi Avenue, west of the school.

At the conclusion of Wednesday’s concerts at Independence Park, which includes Billy Lord at 6:30 p.m. and Band of Brothers at 7:45 p.m., Thames Street will be closed off to traffic from Hope Street to Bradford Street to allow safe passage for pedestrians.

Approximate time of closure is 9:30 p.m., said Bristol Police Deputy Chief Steven Contente, but the time and extent of road closure may vary as conditions warrant.

July 4 – Patriotic exercises, parade

On Thursday, July 4, the Bristol parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. from Chestnut Street.

Chestnut Street will be closed to traffic at 7 a.m. and Hope Street south of Colt State Park will be closed at 8 a.m.

The north lane of Asylum Road through Colt State Park will become two-way, allowing the south lane to be used as a staging area for parade floats.

Parking, particularly on side roads, will be restricted within 100 feet of the parade route and parking is not allowed on Sherry Avenue.

Spectators are prohibited from placing chairs, blankets, etc. on the sidewalk before 5 a.m. on the Fourth. Items left prior to 5 a.m. may be picked up by the town.

Spectators are also reminded to stay behind the fenced areas. These barriers are there for the protection of the public and participants.

Dogs are prohibited from the fireworks show and parade route

As per town ordinance, dogs are not allowed in public gathering areas during the fireworks display. Likewise, dogs are prohibited from the parade route on July 4 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.

This ordinance will be strictly enforced.

Alcohol and fireworks

For the safety of parade viewers, fireworks are not allowed on the parade route. Spectators are advised to notify police of anyone using fireworks during the parade.

And remember, public drinking is not allowed in Bristol.

Additional law enforcement from a variety of agencies will be on patrol during the Fourth of July festivities.

“We’ve done everything that we possibly could” to ensure that the public is protected, said Dep. Contente.

“We want everyone to have a safe and happy Fourth of July. We ask the public to be vigilant,” he said.

Any suspicious or unusual activity should be brought to the attention of any nearby uniformed police officer or to the Bristol Police headquarters, 253-6900. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.


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Just remember public drinking is not, let me say it again, is not allowed in Bristol.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 | Report this

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.