By Associated Press - Saturday, July 4, 2015

BRISTOL, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island is hosting what’s called the nation’s oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration.

The 230th annual Independence Day festivities in Bristol are highlighted by the Fourth of July Parade.

Bristol’s parade is one of Rhode Island’s most important summer traditions.

The celebration began in 1785 when a Revolutionary War veteran, the Rev. Henry Wight, led patriotic exercises in the town.

The parade began in the early 1800s. Town lore says it began as a procession of people walking to see the patriotic exercises.



Officials say about 100,000 people turn out to see the 2.5-mile parade in a typical year. They say about 3,000 people participate in the 90-minute parade. Just 23,000 people live in Bristol.

This year’s patriotic speaker is Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University.

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