PITTSFIELD — Citing a lull in donations, the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee is ramping up efforts to meet it's $85,000 fundraising goal by Independence Day.
To date, the committee has collected $15,000, below par with two months before the non-profit group stages the annual downtown patriotic procession on America's birthday.
"We were running neck and neck with past years, but we've fallen behind," said Parade Committee President Peter Marchetti. "We're just starting to see a flurry of activity."
Marchetti said corporate and small business sponsorships ranging from $50 to $2,5000 are still available, and along with individual donations, can be made online at www.pittsfieldparade.com. Checks are also welcome and made payable to Pittsfield Parade Committee Inc., P.O. Box 1738, Pittsfield, MA 01202.
This year's parade theme "Music & Dance Through the Years" celebrates the Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and other Berkshire cultural attractions
Marchetti hopes the focus on music and dance will inspire more floats and encourage a few more performance-based groups participating in the parade. As in past years, the 2016 parade is expected to be between 160-170 marching units, including sponsors' banners, taking roughly two hours to promenade through the city center.
Earlier this year, the committee announced the return of the drum and bugle corps competition, after a decade-long absence, at Wahconah Park for 7 p.m., July 3, the day before the parade.
David Hobart, director of the Long Island Sunrisers Drum & Bugle Corps, is working with the committee to coordinate the competition featuring four drum and bugle corps — three of which are expected to march in the parade. The Eagles Band, Berkshire County's oldest continuous performance ensemble, will open the competition playing the Star Spangled Banner and play several patriotic numbers.
Marchetti says advance tickets of $15 and $20 are available at the Pittsfield Suns baseball team box office or online via a link to Drum Corps Associates, provided at pittsfieldparade.com.
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.
The adding of 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. on June 1 at Morningside School. A half hour prior to the meeting at 6:30 p.m., another float building workshop will be held for all organizations and businesses sponsoring a float who haven't attended one this spring.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233