PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade is expected to dodge some early fireworks from Mother Nature.
Prior to the parade's start time this morning at 10, forecasters anticipated a line of showers and thunderstorms -- some possibly severe -- moving through the Berkshires late Tuesday night to near daybreak this morning.
"After that, it's kind of a hit-or-miss situation the rest of the day with scattered showers and storms," said meteorologist Kevin Lipton with the National Weather Service office in Albany, N.Y.
"Just keep an eye to the sky [this afternoon]," cautioned Lipton.
The inclement weather should have passed through just as some parade participants head for their assigned
"We're ready to go, hoping that Mother Nature cooperates with us," said parade coordinator Peter M. Marchetti.
Tens of thousand of people -- weather permitting -- are likely to line the parade route through downtown Pittsfield, according to city police. The Independence Day celebration will step off from the intersection of South and West Housatonic streets, go straight from South Street to North Street via the southbound lane, and proceed from North to Wahconah Street, ending at Wahconah Park.
The 2012 edition of the patriotic event will feature 150 units, including 10 floats, 21 local and regional bands, along with numerous military and veterans organizations, political dignitaries and two special guests, according to parade organizers.
On Tuesday, the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee announced that Dr. Ruth Westheimer, famed "sexpert" and television personality, along with Tony-nominated actor Brad Oscar will ride the Barrington Stage Company float.
In keeping with the parade theme of "Movie Classics," four current and former downtown movie theaters were named the grand marshals. Representatives from The Beacon Cinema, Little Cinema at the Berkshire Museum, Colonial Theatre and Barrington Stage plan to march in the parade.
Once parade-goers settle in, a "bucket brigade" of 12 volunteers will walk the route asking spectators to drop what cash they can into red, white and blue pails. Marchetti said the collection has averaged $6,000 the past few years. So far, the parade committee has received $61,070 toward its $85,000 goal.
For those who can't attend the parade, it will be broadcast live in Pittsfield, Dalton, Richmond and 10 other Berkshire County communities via Pittsfield Community Television. PCTV Executive Director Bernard Avalle said the telecast, starting a 9:30 a.m. with a pre-parade show, will be simulcast on Community Television for the South Berkshires (CTSB) which serves Lee, Lenox, Stockbridge, Great Barrington and Sheffield. PCTV and CTSB will air the parade on Channel 16 on the Time Warner cable television system.
In addition, Williamstown, North Adams, Adams, Cheshire and Clarksburg viewers can catch the parade on Channel 15 on Time Warner, via Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.
If you go ...
What: Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade.
When: Today, 10 a.m.
Where: Parade begins at intersection of West Housatonic and South streets and ends at Wahconah Park.
Pittsfield Police will prohibit parking starting at 6 a.m. today on both sides of the street before and during the Fourth of July parade, with violators towed at the owners' expense.
No-parking signs will be posted in the areas listed below:
- Wahconah Street from Pittsfield Cemetery, heading south to North Street.
- North Street from Park Square to First Street.
- South Street from Park Square to Broad Street.
- Wendell and Bartlett avenues from East Street to Broad Street.
- Taconic and Broad streets from South Street to Pomeroy Avenue.
- Clinton Avenue between South and Elizabeth streets.
Source: Pittsfield Police Department