PITTSFIELD -- The largest collection of ghosts, ghouls and goblins in recent memory is ready to scare up some fun for tonight's 69th annual Halloween parade.
The parade steps off at 7 p.m. from the corner of Tyler and Smith streets and ends at Woodlawn Avenue. Pittsfield Community Television is scheduled to broadcast the event live on Time Warner Cable's Channel 16.
Organizers say the 30 units marching down Tyler Street represents the largest parade lineup in nearly a decade.
"We have all eight [Pittsfield] public elementary schools participating and St. Mark's," said Rebecca Tefft, referring to the Catholic grade school.
The city's recreational activities coordinator says the thousands of parade-goers can expect to see four floats, marching bands from Pittsfield, Taconic and Drury high schools and a number of community-based and business organizations.
"Pittsfield Public Schools food service workers will dress up as fruits and vegetables," Tefft said, "having fun to promote healthy eating."
Thomas N. Bowler will be the grand marshal, continuing a long-standing tradition of the Berkshire County sheriff leading the parade. Greylock Federal Credit Union is the main sponsor for the event.
The Tyler Street Business Group is sponsoring an event that's new this year: a Halloween costume contest for parade participants prior to the parade.
"We're trying to capitalize on the parade each year to make it bigger and better," said business group chairwoman Diane Marcella.
Traditionally a North Street event, the Halloween parade was moved to Tyler Street two years ago -- on a trial basis -- at the request of the Tyler Street Business Group, Ward 1 Councilor Christine Yon and former Ward 2 Councilor Peter T. White in an effort to showcase the area's commercial district.
The move received such rave reviews from some Tyler Street merchants, marchers and parade-goers, that city officials agreed to keep the event on Tyler.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
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If you go ...
What: Pittsfield Halloween Parade
When: 7 tonight
Where: Tyler Street, from Smith Street to Woodlawn Avenue
Road Closures: Beginning at 5 p.m., Tyler Street between First Street and Pine Street; and Burbank Street from Smith Street to Morningside Community School will be closed. The remainder of the parade route will be closed at 6:30 p.m. Parking will be prohibited on these streets from 5 p.m. until after the parade.