July 5th Observances From Bristol
The family and I braved the crowds and the heat and took in the Bristol 4th (sic 5th) of July Parade. We arrived early (7:30-ish), staked our claim near the beginning of the route and hung out. Some observations:
1) As far as politicians, the earliest bird was AG candidate Joe Fernandez (D). General Treasurer candidate Gina Raimondo (D) really hit our portion of the parade route hard and somewhat overshadowed AG Candidate Christopher Little (M) who was also walking around at the same time. There were a few campaigners for Loughlin (R), Cicilline (D) and Bill Lynch (D) (all running for RI Congressional D-1), but none of the candidates personally glad-handed my section of the crowd. Bob Healey (Cool Moose) did come through later on during the parade though. (And incidentally, despite the Johnny-come-lately GOPers, Healey still has my vote with his end-the LtGov plan). It seemed like Caprio (D) had the most signage and workers.
2) Some time during the 3rd Division of the parade, things slowed down drastically. With the heat and the crowds, many people gave up and started walking the parade route in reverse to get out of dodge. It made for some annoyances as bands had to squeeze thru a constricted route. Not sure what the hold-up was for (though I suspect it was over-long reviewing stand performances). It also shows that our no-attention span culture can’t handle much stoppage without moving on. Kinda sad.
3) The bands were all pretty good, but I really liked the Baltimore Marching Revels for their style and the joi-de-vivre they displayed. I also noticed that several bands were from Minnesota. Was there a special hookup with the Land of 10,000 Lakes this year?
4) I took note of the reaction to the separate Tea Party float and RIILE/other groups float. Both floats were sailing ship replicas (for obvious reasons) and more than one member of the crowd cheered the latter while exclaiming “Go Tea Party” or the like. In general, the reception to both was boisterously positive. However, I’ve gotta say that having people on a float screaming about “taking back our state” and “throw them all out” during a family-type parade (yes, even if it is one celebrating our Independence) seemed a little too intense and out of place. I’m not sure if any converts were won over by the antagonistic (no matter how justified) approach.
5) There was applause for all of the military personnel, past and present (and a few future). Wasn’t as robust as I’d expected though. And it seems like time is finally catching up to the Greatest Generation–not a lot of them left. As I’ve noticed in recent years, the Vietnam Vets continue to get the biggest response.
6) As a history guy, I like the re-enactor groups. From the muskets to the fife-and-drums and all that. But at the risk of ticking off the wrong people….I don’t get the pirate thing.