Bristol names 75th Miss Fourth and Little Miss Fourth of July

By Paige Shapiro
Posted 6/1/23

Casey Ruth Little and Charlotte Loftus will don the coveted crowns this year throughout Bristol's most festive season.

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Bristol names 75th Miss Fourth and Little Miss Fourth of July


What seemed like the whole town of Bristol lined the west side of Mt. Hope High School, eagerly awaiting the signal they could continue their anticipatory trek onward into the auditorium in search of their seats. And when that signal was given –– a cool wave from show-runner Nat Squatrito –– the bustling procession didn’t hesitate to stream into the building to finally witness the crowning of this year’s Miss and Little Miss Fourth of July.

The number of families, friends, teachers and neighbors who filled the tremendous room prove just how esteemed the royal court of Bristol’s Fourth of July is. Warm and jubilant, the audience shared their buzzing excitement amid laughter and tidbits of conversation. Some greeted familiar faces from across the mass of chairs, happy to see the other at this treasured event –– the work of a tight-knit seaside community in action.

But after the pleasantries were done, the audience quieted, enraptured by the night ahead of them. The ceremony marked the 75th Miss and Little Miss Fourth of July Pageant, an event that show organizers Patty and Nat Squatrito have been involved with for more than 20 years.

“No one does it better,” confided Mary Lou Palumbo, the pageant’s mistress of ceremonies. “It’s always, always so much fun.”

“It’s a year-long process for the most part,” Nat said. “There’s a lot of moving parts that have to fit in perfectly. All it takes is one thing to go wrong and the whole pageant would come to a screeching halt.”

But the couple confessed that after decades of involvement, they have it down to a science. “I mean, we talk about this 24/7,” Nat continued, chuckling. “We’ll sit down to Thanksgiving dinner talking about the pageant.”

The pageant warrants a board of commissioners all on its own, each of them individual pieces of what Patty calls a 500-piece puzzle. “That puzzle all comes together on the night of the pageant.”

Pieces that are arguably even more crucial to that puzzle, though, are the contestants –– 15 younger girls (age 7 to 9) and 11 older girls (age 16 to 20) who applied to compete back in March. After much blood, sweat and rehearsals, the girls take to the stage to –– cordially –– battle it out until the end. Punctuated by performances by Danceworks and members of the Mt. Hope High School Vocal Ensemble, the pageant marks a regal start to Bristol’s famed patriotic season.

The winners are …
This year’s Little Miss and Miss Fourth of July, announced with bated breaths, are Charlotte Loftus and Casey Ruth Little. Loftus, a fourth-grader at Rockwell School, dreams of becoming a marine biologist, zookeeper or mad scientist when she grows up. When asked what famous person she would love to have lunch with, she answered easily: Selena Gomez, whose message of self-love she looks up to.

Little, a senior at Mt. Hope High School, plans to attend Berklee College of Music in the fall and hopes to one day sell out Madison Square Garden as a performer. When asked how social media might negatively affect young adults, Little replied that despite the harm in comparing yourself to others you see online, you must practice kindness toward yourself. “It has helped me connect with others,” she said.

Their courts consist of runner-ups –– for Little Miss Fourth of July, Bryn Correia and Avery Hicks; and for Miss Fourth of July, Mia Padula, who was also named Miss Congeniality, Sophia Ferolito, Beilah Teixeira and Skyla Silvia.

Cajoled by congratulatory cheers and whoops, the winners descended the stage to receive their new title.

Gwenyth Tucker and Alana Crowell, last year’s Miss and Little Miss Fourth of July, had some words to the wise for this year’s winners. “These are memories I’ll never forget and treasure forever,” Crowell said before crowning Loftus as this year’s Little Miss Fourth of July. “I hope you enjoy the amazing experience.”

Tucker couldn’t agree more as she, too, crowned Little as the next Miss Fourth of July. “I’m closing out one of the best years of my life,” she professed, noting that this magical celebration represents “how lucky we all are to be standing here today.”

On to the festivities …
After coronation, pageant winners are as good as famous. With their royal court, they are featured at Bristol’s Fourth of July Parade, Fourth of July Ball, Flag Day ceremony, Orange Crate Derby, Interfaith Service, the concerts at Independence Park, and the chief marshal’s reception with this year’s marshal, Steven Contente, Bristol town administrator.

“They’re all winners,” said Patty Squatrito, with a smile. “Every year, I always tell the girls: If you don’t know somebody, make a new friend. Help each other. Be kind to one another. Because the most important thing of all is enjoying the experience.”

But Crowell, the succeeded Little Miss, said it best. “I had the best year and the most incredible experience,” she stated. “It has built my confidence and has taught me that no matter what you look like, you are beautiful.”

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