Monday May 14, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee is ramping up its fundraising effort as donations are off by 22 percent compared to this time last year.

To date, the committee has received $12,500 of its $85,000 goal in order to stage the Independence Day celebration on July 4, according to parade coordinator Peter M. Marchetti. By mid-May 2011, donations stood at nearly $16,000 toward a $90,000 target figure -- the goal was $5,000 higher due to the 250th anniversary. This year, the committee agreed to reinstate the $85,000 goal it has had since 2008.

Marchetti said the corporate campaign is going well, but individual donations are off. He’s hoping that will improve because the parade committee for the first time is accepting contributions online.

"We do have Paypal on the Internet," he noted. "I think people will be willing to go to our website and use their credit card to donate, making it easier for them."

Parade organizers also plan a special fundraiser in downtown Pittsfield, tentatively scheduled for June 14, toward meeting the $85,000 goal. The event will be based on this year’s parade theme, "Movie Classics."

Marchetti hopes the marching bands’ music and organizations’ floats will be tailored toward the silver screen.

"We already have ‘Sister Act’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’ among the floats with movie themes," he said.


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So far, the parade has lined up 107 marching units, with another 20 to 30 expected by Tuesday’s deadline to enter, according to Marchetti.

Entries are also available on the parade committee’s website. If organizations or individuals have trouble downloading the document, Marchetti suggests they send an email to the parade committee indicating the application is forthcoming. The email address is pittsfieldparade@aol.com.

Since the parade returned in 1978 under the direction of the independent, nonprofit parade committee, it has grown to 140 marching units featuring local and regional bands, spectacular floats and military veterans organizations and has been viewed by tens of thousands of people along the parade route and on local community television.

The parade will begin at the intersection of South and West Housatonic streets at 10 a.m. on July 4 and follow the new route established three years ago. The participants will march straight from South Street to North Street via the southbound lane and proceed from North to Wahconah Street, ending at Wahconah Park.

The revised route was introduced in 2009 because ongoing construction was preparing for the elimination of the Park Square rotary. The circular traffic pattern for years was part of the parade route.

The streetscape project on North Street between Park Square and the intersection with Columbus Avenue and Eagle Street is expected to be completed in time for the parade.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.

At a glance ...

n Entries: Applications for entering the parade are available online at www.pittsfieldparade.com. Tuesday is the deadline for submissions. Applicants who have difficulty with the online application process should send an email to pittsfieldparade@aol.com.

n Floats: June 6 is the final workshop for organizations building a float for the parade. The meeting is at 7 p.m. in Morningside Elementary School.

n Donations: Accepted on the website, or by mailing a check to: Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee, P.O. Box 1738, Pittsfield, Mass. 01202.