PITTSFIELD — Inspired by Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and other Berkshire cultural attractions, the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee has chosen "Music & Dance Through the Years" for this year's Independence Day celebration.
The committee also has announced the return of the drum and bugle corps competition, after a 10 year absence, at Wahconah Park for July 3, the day before the parade.
The dual announcement comes as the volunteer, nonprofit parade committee kicks off its annual $85,000 fundraising for the parade that attracts tens of thousands of people from around the region and televised live on local cable television access channels.
The committee is seeking corporate sponsors, small businesses and individual donations; Individuals may elect to donate online via Pay Pal at www.pittsfieldparade.com.
Parade Committee President Peter Marchetti noted the theme came at the suggestion of the general public.
"After very patriotic themes the last several years, folks wanted to go more in the direction of culture and the arts," he said.
Marchetti hopes the focus on music and dance will inspire more floats and encourage a few more performance-based groups participating in the parade. In recent years, the parade has averaged between 125 to 150 units taking roughly two hours to promenade through the city center.
Reviving the drum and bugle corps event ties in nicely with the music and dance theme, according to parade officials. Last held in 2006, the competition often was associated with most parades going back to the mid-1980s.
"My hope is this year we will have six bands in the show and all six will be in the parade," Marchetti said.
David Hobart, director of the Long Island Sunrisers Drum & Bugle Corps, is working with the committee to coordinate the competition he once performed in with a different band 20 years ago.
"I loved the Pittsfield crowd," he said. " We'll be able to augment the parade with a quality show."
The adding the battle of the bands has the parade committee seeking more volunteers to staff both events. Those interested in helping out can attend the next committee meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Morningside School.
Previous parade participants will be mailed applications to enter. Parade first-timers will soon be able to access applications online at www.pittsfieldparade.com or by calling 413-447-7763.
Whether a new float-builder or a veteran, all organizations and businesses sponsoring a float must attend at least one of several workshops. The first such gathering is at 10 a.m. April 16 at in Father Leonard Hall at St. Mark's Church on West Street.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.
At a glance ...
What: Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade
When: 10 a.m. Monday, July 4
Where: Parade steps off from the intersection of West Housatonic Street and South streets, proceeds to North Street, left onto Wahconah Street ending at Wahconah Park.
Info: To learn more how to donate, volunteer or march in the parade, visit pittsfieldparade.com or call 413-447-7763.