Saturday June 23, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Online donations have helped boost fundraising for the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade.

Less than two weeks before the Independence Day celebration, organizers said on Thursday the $55,000 raised to date has picked up and is ahead of last year’s pace for late June. In mid-May, the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee was reporting it was running behind.

Parade coordinator Peter M. Marchetti credits, in part, the committee accepting contributions through the group’s website for the first time.

"By utilizing PayPal, we have received at least $3,000 in donations," Marchetti said.

Potential donors can go to www.pittsfieldparade.com to make a contribution or mail a check to the parade committee at P.O. Box 1738, Pittsfield, MA 01202.

Meanwhile, the parade has lined up 150 parade units, among the highest participation in years, according to Marchetti. He said there will be 10 floats, 21 local and regional bands, area military veterans organizations, police and fire departments and political dignitaries.

In keeping with the parade theme of "Movie Classics," the parade committee recently named four current and former downtown movie theaters as the grand marshals. Marchetti expects representatives from The Beacon Cinema, Little Cinema at the Berkshire Museum, Colonial Theatre, and Barrington Stage Co. to march in the parade.

"We are thrilled and excited to be part of this huge parade," said Kate Maguire, artistic director and CEO for Berkshire Theatre Group, which manages the Colonial Theatre.

"I just love a parade," she added.

The quartet of grand marshals has also symbolizes the city’s downtown revitalization efforts, according to parade committee President Betsy Bean.

"The committee felt it made sense to do a ‘tip of the hat’ to honor the rebirth of downtown Pittsfield ... a large part of the reason for increased economic activity and growth in the city," Bean said.

In addition, the parade poster depicts the Palace Theatre surrounded by movie characters, paying homage to one of the three former movie theaters on North Street -- The Capitol Theatre and Showplace being the other two.

The parade will begin at the intersection of South and West Housatonic streets at 10 a.m. on July 4 and follow a 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.

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