Thursday fireworks hinge on Arthur

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For those coming to Bristol for the annual Fourth of July parade on Friday, the best advice is to bring rain gear.

“More than likely we’re going to march in the rain,” said Bristol Fire Chief Robert Martin.

A parade cancellation due to weather for the first time in 229 years would be difficult to swallow. Barring any endangerment to the safety of the participants and the viewers — which will be determined by Chief Martin, Police Chief Josue Canario and Town Administrator Antonio Teixeira — the parade would go on.

But the fireworks show scheduled for Thursday night is a little more in question, as what is expected to be Hurricane Arthur churns up the eastern seaboard.

“If there’s wind or rain, we’ll push it to Friday. If it can’t go Friday, there’ll be no fireworks,” Chief Martin said, noting the permit the town received to shoot the fireworks is only good through Friday.

That decision won’t be made until Thursday evening at "game time," Chief Martin said.

While the rain could put a damper on the Fourth festivities, General Chairman Ray Lavey isn’t ready to hit the panic button on the weather.

He’s been checking the forecasts released by NOAA and the National Weather Service, and is hopeful that the brunt of any Arthur-related weather will hold off until later on Friday.

The same holds true for Thursday’s Drum and Bugle Corps show at Mt. Hope High School athletic field. Unless there’s lightning, that show will go on.

The oldest Fourth of July celebration in the country has seen its share of weather over the years and planners said they are not going to let the rain dampen the spirit of this year’s 229th parade.

“It never gets canceled,” Mr. Lavey said.

Chief Martin is also planning to march forward on the Fourth. “We’ve marched in floods before,” he said.

Any changes to the Fourth of July festivities will be posted on East Bay Newspapers website and Facebook page, the Bristol Fourth of July website and Facebook page, and the Town of Bristol website.

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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.