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A Monumental Tribute to the Ocean State

How many Rhode Island landmarks can you name on the road trip from Newport to Providence? See if you can spot them all when you go to Bristol’s 228th Annual Fourth of July Celebration.
Photo by: Mary Rooney '14

Bristol, R.I. – How do you get from Newport to Providence, R.I.? Via the Roger Williams University Bristol Fourth of July Parade float, of course. Amid the marching bands, waving politicians and Miss Fourth of July herself, this year’s University float will bring parade attendees on a detailed journey from the Cliff Walk in Newport to Roger Williams Zoo in Providence.

For more than two decades, RWU’s Orientation Advisors have worked with the Facilities staff to construct floats that consistently exceed audience expectations. In addition to their myriad responsibilities to support incoming freshmen during their first days on the Bristol campus, the Orientation staff dedicates additional hours – and imagination – each summer to the float’s concept, design and construction. Each OA plays to his or her strengths, whether it’s sketching, painting or assembling the pieces.

“We have a great staff, and everyone is willing to do the best that they can do,” says float co-chair Lexy Marsh. “It’s a little stressful, but really exciting!”

In their effort to prove that “Great Things Come From Small Places” (the selected theme of this year’s student float), the OAs selected what they consider to be the best of the Ocean State for the float’s visual elements. From a working lighthouse, real carousel horses and Herreshoff boat replica on top to hand-painted vignettes of iconic Rhode Island destinations (including the Newport mansions, the Mount Hope Bridge, Sip n’ Dip, and the Providence skyline), the team has made every effort to surpass past designs in a campaign to win a third consecutive Best in Parade award.

Check out the video below of the OAs working on this year’s float – and look for them at the parade!