For more than five years, the Bristol Fourth of July Committee, an all-volunteer contingent responsible for organizing the town’s historic (two-week) Annual Fourth of July Celebration, has been working to gather 900 orders for a special issue commemorative license plate, enough for the RI Department of Motor Vehicles to approve and print the plates.
It’s just one of the many fundraising initiatives that support the oldest continuous celebration of its kind in the country; other initiatives include a concert series, golf and tennis tournament, road race, pageants and culinary events throughout the year.
The patriotic Rhode Island license plate features a stars and stripes design and a banner reading, “Home of America’s Oldest Fourth of July Celebration.” When the committee reached the the required 900 order threshold, the RI DMV began producing the plate — and orders are still rolling in. The plate costs $41.50, of which $5 goes to the R.I. Veterans Home and $15 directly supports Bristol’s Fourth of July Celebration. Registrants can transfer their current plate number, provided it is six digits or less.
The first round of license plates was distributed on April 8 to an enthusiastic crowd – some of whom had been waiting for one since 2012. “I truly believe the Town of Bristol is the most patriotic place in America. Bristolians take this celebration very seriously,” says Senator Cindy Coyne (D-32, Barrington, East Providence, Bristol). “Bristolians are proud to host and be the ‘Home of America’s Oldest Fourth of July Celebration.’” The celebration began in 1785.
Senator Jim Seveney (D-11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) agrees. “It’s a win-win; everyone gets a little piece” of the celebration, says Seveney. “I can’t think of anything more noble than celebrating America’s birthday. It’s a huge deal to Bristol and the thousands and thousands of people who come from everywhere to see it.”