Large crowd, sunny skies for annual Fourth of July Parade

Thursday July 4, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- The annual Fourth of July Parade marched through warm -- and later very warm -- temperatures, but it stepped in energetic fashion through the downtown without incident.

"It was just a good day," Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn said as a giant Lady Liberty inflatable ushered the last of the parade past Park Square at 11:48 a.m.

"The weather cooperated, the people cooperated," the chief said.

He said only one incident during the two-hour parade -- requiring three people be taken into custody on Madison Avenue for disorderly conduct -- had been reported to police.

The temperature was 79 degrees when the annual parade stepped off at 10 a.m. at West Housatonic and South streets, marching down North Street toward Wahcohan Park. A crowd estimated by police at roughly the size of last year's 60,000 lined the route along South, North and Wahconah streets, many in folding chairs or on blankets, three or more rows deep.

Many others watched from windows in buildings along the route.

Skies were mostly sunny throughout with no hint of rain, despite the recent tropical storm weather pattern planted over the Northeast and a heat wave forecast. Despite more direct sunshine on the west side of North Street and the long, 150-unit parade, there were no heat-related medical emergencies reported during the event, Wynn said.

The same was true of the annual Independence Day Run prior to the parade.

Police were out in force around the downtown, along with ambulance personnel and firefighters, with vehicles and mobile command centers. As a precaution in light of the Boston Marathon bombings in April, authorities had asked people to keep to a minimum any carry-in items.

In addition, police asked that the large cardboard trash containers that normally are set along the sidewalks during the parade be removed.

The parade theme was "America the Beautiful -- Land That I Love." Mary K. O'Brien, former Middle District register of deeds, was the grand marshal, and the honorary grand marshal was the late Mike Joyce, a driving force behind the Oldies But Goodies Gang, which often performed during the parade. He died in December.

This article will be updated in future print and web editions of The Eagle.


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