If you go, how to watch from afar:
- What: Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade
- When: Thursday, 10 a.m.
- Route: The Independence Day event begins at the intersection South and West Housatonic streets, goes straight from South Street to North Street via the southbound lane, and proceeds from North to Wahconah streets, ending at Wahconah Park.
- Watch from home or on the road: Parade can also be seen live on PCTV in the Pittsfield area, simulcast on CTSB in South County and NBCTC in North County, all on the Time Warner Cable television system. PCTV's live-stream Internet broadcast will be carried at BerkshireEagle.com starting at 6 a.m.
Parade parking prohibitions: Pittsfield Police will prohibit parking starting at 6 a.m. Thursday on both sides of the street before and during the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade, with violators towed at the owner's 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.
Weather: The Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade can expect a classic hot -- and likely rain-free -- summer's day as the patriotic celebration captivates another anticipated large crowd on Thursday morning. As the parade steps off at 10 a.m., forecasters say warm, humid air with temperatures around 80 degrees will settle over the tens of thousands of people likely to line the downtown parade route.
Dress appropriately: Parade organizers urge everyone to drink plenty of water and wear sun screen in order to beat the heat. "EMS personnel will also line the parade route to handle an heat exhaustion issues," said Parade Committee Chairman Peter Marchetti.
Theme, grand marshal: Titled "America the Beautiful -- Land That I Love," this year's 150-unit parade is being led by Mary K. O'Brien. The parade committee chose the former Middle Berkshire register of deeds as the grand marshal for her more than 40 years of political activism and community service in Pittsfield. The honorary grand marshal is the late Mike Joyce, the driving force behind the Oldies but Goodies Gang and their many performances in the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade. Joyce, an employee at General Dynamics, died on Dec. 26, 2012.
Security precautions: The committee and Pittsfield Police Department on Wednesday also reminded parade-goers to limit the number of bags and containers carried to the parade route. They have requested such items be clearly marked with the owner's name and phone number. Bags and containers left unattended will be removed from the parade route and may be subject to inspection, search or be destroyed, according to city police and parade organizers. (The added security measure for this year's parade stems from the Boston Marathon bombings in mid-April that killed three people and injured more than 170 others near the finish line of the Patriots Day race. The bombers set off homemade explosives contained in non-descript canvas bags.)
Fundraising: The Parade Committee has collected $61,500 of the $85,000 goal with last minute donations still be accepted. Marchetti hopes the Pittsfield Suns will help boost contributions just prior to the parade. Members of the Futures League baseball team will join parade volunteers in a "bucket brigade" -- asking parade-goers along the route to drop what cash they can into red, while and blue buckets.