Fireworks And Parades Abound Despite Independence Day Heat Wave

Jul 4, 2018

Fireworks displays, parades and other Fourth of July celebrations are going forward in southern New England, in spite of a heat wave that's brought temperatures in the upper 80s and 90s, especially in inland areas.

Dave Gomes, of Fairhaven, hit the streets of Providence this week decked out in red, white and blue, from the tip of his bejeweled hat to his shorts.

“I’ve been wearing this outfit for years, as many years as I can remember," said Gomes, who described himself as a regular at Bristol's historic July 4th festivities. 

"They have concerts every night in Bristol, so I go to the concerts every night all red white and blue," said Gomes. "They call me 'Mr. Fourth of July' there!" 

Gomes planned to march with the St. Mary’s Church float in the Bristol 4th of July Parade on Wednesday.  Bristol’s celebration is the oldest continuous program of its kind in the United States, beginning in 1785.

"This is a hot one," said Bristol resident Patricia Borges, who was outside Tuesday getting ready for the parade.

Borges was putting the finishing touches on her Fourth of July decorations, which include four American flags, each from a different era of history.

"It's actually a history lesson," she said. "There was the first one, and then the 1776 [flag] and then the Betsy Ross, and then this, of course, is our current one."

In North Providence, a crowd came out to enjoy the town fireworks display on Tuesday evening. Thanks to resident Martin Smick for supplying the video.

Like Borges, few people in Bristol seemed ready to let the heat and humidity diminish their 233rd annual patriotic celebrations. Firefighter Jim Medeiros spend the day diverting traffic away from the area where the town's fireworks would be set off.

For Medieros, all the hard work is worth it.

"We do it because we're proud of the fire department and proud of our town," he said. "It takes people like us, all over the police and fire, the Fourth of July committee. It's what makes it work."

Medeiros was relying on cold drinks -- nonalcoholic, of course -- to keep going in the heat. He was looking forward to a swim in the pool at the end of the day.