This is the first Fourth of July celebration post-Boston Marathon bombings, and as such, the Pittsfield Police Department and the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee will err on the side of caution. Parade attendees are encouraged to help.
No one is anticipating any problems Thursday, but in the wake of Patriots Day in Boston it would be irresponsible not to be careful. Parade-goers are urged to limit the number of bags and containers they bring to the parade and are asked to label their items with a name and phone number. Anyone who leaves something unattended should not be surprised if it is confiscated, inspected and perhaps destroyed. Police and parade officials are encouraged to confiscate any lawn chairs or blankets set up overnight to reserve space along the parade route. Anyone who desires a choice spot should arrive early in the morning Thursday and claim it.
Parade organizers are in need of more volunteers to help stage the parade, which will step off at 10 a.m. at the intersection of South and West Housatonic streets and end at Wahconah Park after marching down North Street. Volunteers are asked to contact the parade committee at 447-7763 or at www.pittsfieldparade.com. The Parade Committee is also seeking donations, as it was $27,000 shy of its fundraising goal of $85,000 as of Tuesday. There will be opportunities to contribute along the parade route, with members of the Pittsfield Suns baseball team forming a bucket brigade to collect donations.
The state Department of Transportation has engaged in an ambitious campaign in recent days to remind motorists through electronic signs that fireworks are illegal in the state and their use may result in penalties of fines or even jail terms. A Fourth of July never goes by without reports of someone in the state blowing off a finger or damaging an eye or ear through the misuse of fireworks. Backyard and neighborhood fireworks displays also terrify cats and dogs (see letter this page).
Organized July 4 fireworks displays are conducted throughout the Berkshires and are far more impressive than anything amateurs can do. Leave the fireworks to the professionals this holiday.