BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — At Bristol’s Edgewood Elementary School, they don’t just go back to school. They march in a parade back to school, but the longtime tradition is coming to an end.

The kids say there is something special about Edgewood.

“The teachers are nice, and the kids are really outgoing and it’s really fun,” said 5th grader Jayani Artis.

Nobody is sure exactly when the back-to-school parade started, but it was before the principal Kristin Abraham started at Edgewood 11 years ago.

“It’s just super exciting, as you can see, with all the students’ faces and dancing and we try to build community,” Abraham said.

“Any time that the families get to come in and be invited to be part of the school and part of their activities is a huge treat for us. We love it,” said Erin Ash, whose six children either are going to Edgewood, or already graduated.

This is the last first day of school parade they will have, however.

“In Bristol, we’re doing a lot of changing with Reimagine Bristol in the schools, and we know this is going to be the last year of this as a K-5 school,” explained Mayor Jeff Caggiano (R-Bristol).

The parade is not just a big deal because it’s the last one, but also because it’s the first one they’ve had in three years. COVID-19 precautions meant no parade since 2019, and this final parade is a bittersweet moment.

“It’s kind of sad because there are a lot of kids that are not in fifth grade and then they’re going to have to go to another school,” Artis said.

“Feels pretty sad because I have been in this school since kindergarten, so it’s hard to leave,” said fellow 5th grader Nathan Teczar.

This time next year, Edgewood will be a pre-K early learning center, and all these marchers will be in other schools.