Hope, but not certainty, for revived Savoy Memorial Day parade

SAVOY — It's been a few years since this town mounted its own Memorial Day parade. But officials aren't ready to give up the ghost.

Though no one has come forward to revive what's been called "the fire truck parade," residents at town meeting approved keeping $600 in next year's budget, just in case.

That same amount was allocated for the current year, but 2017 seems a lost cause, given that just weeks remain before the holiday.

"It takes a long time to organize that parade," said Select Board Chairman John Tynan.

Ronna Brandt organized the parade for three years, with help from the fire department. It fell by the wayside four years ago, she said. Parade contingents had been rallied six times in Savoy for Memorial Day.

"There was a whole committee," Brandt recalled. "Almost every fire department in the area would be there."

Participants marched from near lower Loop Road down Route 116 to the fire station in the town center. By starting the parade at 3:15 p.m., later than other Berkshires communities, Savoy's parade helped mark the end of the day's celebrations.

The timing also allowed fire companies to come from other parades.

In 2016, the nearest Memorial Day parades were held in Adams, Dalton and North Adams — three of roughly 15 in the Berkshire region.

"And then they'd stay," Brandt said of participants. "There was a cookout here ... and fun contests."

But that was then.

Though it lasted only a few hours, the event demanded considerable advance planning and fundraising. The town's $600 yearly contribution paid only a portion of the event's cost. Brandt helped run pancake breakfasts and spaghetti suppers.

On Wednesday night, though residents approved another parade allocation at town meeting, and spoke fondly of the event, Brandt was not optimistic.

"If somebody wants to take it on," she said in an interview after the meeting, when asked whether it could be revived. "I can't do it myself anymore. But I would love to see it happen again. It was awesome."

For more information or to get involved, contact Brandt at 413-743-3573.

Reach staff writer Larry Parnass at 413-496-6214 or @larryparnass.


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