Online petition challenges Bristol parade route change

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — In just one day, more than 1,000 people have signed an online petition asking organizers to rethink changing the Bristol 4th of July Parade’s route.

Nancy Cairrao logged onto her computer Friday morning, ready to sign the growing petition.

“I feel bad for the second – the young generation coming up not to have the same experience we’ve had,” she said.

According to Cairrao, her home used to mark the beginning of the parade.

“We have had everything here, from clam boils to cookouts and everyone chips in [for] a big Fourth of July celebration.

As first reported on Thursday, the parade route is being shortened by half a mile. Now, it won’t start at Cairrao’s home on Chestnut and Hope Streets. Instead, it will start at Hope and Thames Street.

Organizers say they knew some people wouldn’t accept the new changes.

“It’s not positive with everybody but I anticipated that,” said Frances O’Connell, parade organizer. “People don’t typically like change.”

According to organizers, the parade was shortened due to safety concerns – and some bands have complained it is too long.

Many homes on the street are no longer considered “parade front property.”

“I’m just in shock,” said Trina Demello.

Demello’s father has owned an old colonial on the route for the last 40 years.

“People from my family come from all over. They come from Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland to come see the parade,” she said.

Like Cairrao, Demello said she signed the online petition to change the route back to the way it has been since the 1970s.

“I’m hoping they’ll let the people of Bristol have a say in it,” she said.

At this point, event organizers say they are not reconsidering the change, adding that they have made changes in the past that have worked out in the long run.

Facebook group titled Save the Bristol 4th Parade Route was created Thursday, and as of 8 p.m. Friday, it had more than 3,700 followers.

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