Bristol parade spotlights musicals

BRISTOL — A week before Bristol’s annual Fourth of July parade the hills are alive with the sound of music.
And sawing and hammering and painting.
Inspired by this year’s parade theme — Broadway musicals — several area groups are hard at work creating parade floats.
This year’s participants include both veterans and first-timers.
For example, Pocock Entertainment has been creating July 4 parade floats since the 1970s. Pocock Entertainment committee members develop their projects under a cloak of secrecy, and they take it very seriously.
“We begin planning in April, and by the end of May we begin to build it,” said a committee member, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We build it, then take it apart, bring it to town by 8 a.m., then reassemble it. We like keeping it a surprise until the last minute.”
People — especially the Independent — should not attempt to locate the group’s worksite in order to photograph their float, the source said. There might be “consequences.”
The source emphasized that, above all, Pocock Entertainment hopes people will enjoy their float and be entertained by it.
Zeno Mountain Farm, a summer program for children and adults of various abilities, has brought floats to the Bristol parade for a decade, but this one is special.
“We put on a show at Zeno every year, so Broadway is right up our alley,” said Zeno co-founder Peter Halby.
Zeno Mountain’s summer gathering begins this Saturday with the arrival of more than 70 friends and guests. Among the group’s first order of business will be deciding which four or five Broadway musicals to highlight.
“There will be dancing and choreography,” Halby said. “We’ll cruise the thrift stores to find costumes. We like to go big and do things beautifully.”
Because Zeno’s team members have a shorter window to work this year, they’ll probably be painting and adding the finishing touches right up until the morning of the parade.
The Fall Musical program at Mount Abraham Union High School is making its parade debut this year.
“This was a theme we couldn’t ignore,” said program co-director and float organizer Jennifer Allred.
At this year’s parade spectators can expect a preview of the program’s 2018 production, the smash Broadway hit “Newsies.”
Following a horse-drawn cart driven by Pat Palmer and Linda Malzac, about 20 kids in turn-of-the-century caps and vests (the work of costumer Joanne Stetson) will distribute their “wares” along the parade route.
Cub Scout Pack 543 is also getting in on the action.
“We are doing a spin-off on the Broadway musical ‘School of Rock,’ except we are crossing out the ‘School’ and replacing it with ‘Scouts,’” said organizer Kristi Mount. “The boys will still wear their Scout uniforms, but we’ll add some cool sunglasses, guitars, microphones, maybe a drum set and keyboard or two. It’s a very popular event for us and we tend to get a lot of Pack participation.”
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].
Bristol’s Fourth of July schedule
After food and music and fireworks at the Bristol Recreation Park on Tuesday evening, Fourth of July celebrations in Bristol get under way early Wednesday. A 5-kilometer road race at 7:30 a.m. will be followed by the famed Great Bristol Outhouse Race at 9 a.m. on West Street.
The parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m., followed by food and entertainment on the town green.

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