In Bristol, parade goers wait patiently for the morn

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The threat of Hurricane Arthur was no match for the enthusiasm of Bristol’s Fourth of July faithful, as thousands of people came to Independence Park for the final concert of the concert series and stayed for the fireworks show. And while most of them left for the evening, at least for a few hours sleep before returning for the parade, others stayed the night, ensuring that they would have a favorite spot for the parade.

At 1:30 a.m., Berta and Demi Dischert of Bristol kept a watchful eye on their placeholder at the corner of Hope Street and Court Street.

“We wanted to make sure we had our spot,” Berta said.

Despite signs posted along the parade route advising early risers of an ordinance that bans the placement of chairs, blankets and other items from the sidewalks until 5 a.m., it appeared that safety officials were lax in the enforcement of the ordinance as long as it didn’t become a nuisance.

As the overnight parade of street sweepers, department of public works vehicles and highway maintenance crews made their way up and down Hope Street, the litter and remnants from Thursday’s festivities disappeared, leaving the streets, sidewalks and park areas clean and ready for the arrival of a new group of guests.

Judd Souza of Swansea and Sean Bryan of Somerset found their spot to watch the parade just around midnight.

“We try to get near a tree for shade,” Mr. Bryan said.

The threat of rain did nothing to deter the friends from coming to the parade.

“We’ve been to Patriot games in snow and rain. I can deal with a little rain here,” Mr. Bryan said.

With another six hours to go before the sun would be a factor, the two friends brought along a board game to pass the time.

By 3:30 a.m., Joseph Borrasi was willing to talk about his military experience with anyone who was willing to listen. Sitting at Loafer’s Corner, at the corner of State Street and Hope Street, Mr. Borrasi told rambling stories about his time in the military when, he said, he was a U.S. Marine serving in Viet Nam.

“Memorial Day is a special day for everyone who served. This is a special day for our country. It’s Independence Day,” Mr. Borrasi said.

After enjoying a star-filled night, free of any threat of rain, by 5:30 a.m. clear skies gave way to gray clouds, the first sign that Hurricane Arthur, the uninvited guest, may soon arrive.

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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.