This holiday parade shifts into reverse

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by JAMILA YOUNG

STAFF WRITER

Bristol residents took a stroll down Main Street from the Federal Hill Green to celebrate Christmas at the Children’s Holiday Parade in Reverse.

The event was hosted by Bristol Parks & Recreation and the Youth and Community Services Department.

As a parade reverse, people didn’t watch the parade, the spectators became the parade.

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Families lined up with bags in hand, and received gifts from vendors lined up along the parade route.

Teresa Swanson was first in line at 11:30 a.m. to walk the parade route with her family. “It’s just a fun kid’s event that we do every year,” said Swanson.

Swanson said her family likes seeing the decorations and making ornaments for Christmas. “There are a lot of houses in Bristol that decorate for the holidays,” said Swanson.

This was the first time attending the event for Manny Rodriguez and his wife and their two sons. “It was a great; my sons enjoyed it. I have to find my way back,” said Rodriguez.

The event was brought back to Bristol after the Holiday on the Hill event last year.

“Holiday on the Hill was created last year, and it was a joint venture between the (Bristol) Chamber of Commerce and PYVOT (Professional Young Visionaries of Tomorrow). It was a night time event which supplanted the Reverse Children’s Parade,” said Cathy Savino, executive administrator for the Mayor’s Office.

“It was tried one year, and didn’t attract too much attention, so it has been discarded in favor of going back to the much loved Children’s Holiday Parade in Reverse,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.

“The chamber was looking to retire the event, but the Department of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services felt it’s been a long-standing tradition in the community that people love, so we decided to step in and take it on,” said Josh Medeiros, Superintendent of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services.

“This is a great event for kids. They get to be active by walking down, and getting all the stuff, and it’s a good community event,” said Councilwoman, Mary Fortier. “It’s not too long a walk, the firefighters have hot chocolate at the end. There’ve been a couple years where we were just in sweaters, and this year isn’t one of them, but the kids love it no matter what the weather is.”