PITTSFIELD -- With a nod to the Berkshires' history as a manufacturing hub, this year's signature Fourth of July Parade will celebrate all things American made.
The theme of this year's celebration, "Made in America," was chosen by the Pittsfield Parade Committee from among 45 suggestions offered by Facebook fans.
"We tried to pick a theme that encompassed all the ideas people had mentioned," said committee President Peter Marchetti. "Music, arts, industry, military, patriotism -- it works in every sense. People should have fun building floats in conjunction with this theme."
Tanya Mullin, committee treasurer, agreed.
"They should have a wide open canvas to work with," Mullin said.
Anything, from cars to chocolate bars, even a sport like baseball, which some believe Pittsfield may have originated, could be acceptable expressions, Mullin said.
Between five and 10 groups of participants typically build floats for the holiday in the city.
Pittsfield's Fourth of July Parade begins at the intersection of South and East/West Housatonic streets, continues along South through Park Square and then proceeds onto Wahconah Street before wrapping up in Wahconah Park. An estimated crowd of 60,000 attended in 2013.
To fund the parade, the committee seeks donations from corporate sponsors, small businesses and individuals. A target amount of $85,000 has been set.
Last year, the committee set the same goal and ultimately raised around $65,000 in donations. The balance was paid out fund the committee had in reserve.
Marchetti said volunteers are also needed.
Parade Committee meetings, which the public may attend, are scheduled April 2 and 16th. They will be held at 7 p.m. at Morningside Community School on Burbank Street.
Marchetti said committee members are working on additions to the parade that will be new to 2014.
The "Made in America" theme, Marchetti said, gets to the heart of the Berkshires' manufacturing history.
"Our communities were built on core values, hard work and perseverance," he said. "We thought it was the perfect theme to honor our forefathers."
He added, "American people spending American dollars on American products equals American jobs. These jobs are the foundation of a thriving economy. Pittsfield's economic recovery is underway and it's time to celebrate."
To reach Phil Demers:
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On Twitter: @BE_PhilD