PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Bristol’s historic Fourth of July celebrations are returning to their full glory this summer, a year after the coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to scale back what’s billed as the nation’s oldest Independence Day parade.

“Oh my goodness we are so excited and the energy is ridiculous,” Committee Chair Michelle Martins told WPRI-TV for a story Tuesday. “My email, phone, Facebook page, and everyone is reaching out asking where they can park and what’s going on and when are the dates.”

The town first held its celebration in 1785. This year the parade will be on July 5, since July 4 falls on a Sunday.

Last year the town held a vehicle-only parade with appropriate social distancing.

This year, fireworks as well as a carnival and free concert series leading up to the holiday are back.

However, there could be fewer marching bands in the parade, Martins said.

“A lot of the problem was a lot of marching bands didn’t have the chance to rehearse during COVID and they weren’t together,” she said. “If some of those organizations can get together and want to come, we will have them in, and we would love to have them.”

Veterans groups are also eager to participate again this year, she said.

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