Pittsfield Parade to step off at 10 a.m.; TV broadcast limited this year
PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade will feature the usual marching bands, floats and helium balloons, but residents in north and south Berkshire County that want to watch it live this year will have to come in person -- or stream it on the Web.
Time Warner Cable has pulled the plug on the simulcast services that allowed subscribers outside the Pittsfield area to watch the festivities in real time, according to PCTV parade producer Matt Tucker. Subscribers in Pittsfield, Richmond and Dalton aren't affected by the blackout.
The PCTV broadcast begins at 9:30 a.m. with the pre-parade show, with the first marching units led by area veterans groups stepping off at 10 a.m. from the intersection of South and East/West Housatonic streets. The parade will continue along South Street directly onto North Street by Park Square, turn left onto Wahconah Street before wrapping up at Wahconah Park.
Approximately 60,000 spectators lined the route each of the past two years, officials estimate, many in folding chairs or on blankets, three or more rows deep.
The 2014 parade lineup includes 19 marching bands and 20 floats in keeping with the theme "Made in America." Weather permitting, the Mummers will highlight the musical talent, said Peter Marchetti, president of the Pittsfield Parade Committee, although the Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps had to back out due to logistical issues. Kermit the Frog and the American Eagle are among the five character helium balloons that will glide through the air along the parade route.
Longtime health care volunteer and head of the Pittsfield Ethnic Fair, Mario DeMartino is the parade grand marshal The late Joanne Hayes, who died last fall, was chosen as the honorary grand marshal for her years of service on the Parade Committee.
Since 2010, Pittsfield Community Television has been able to feed its transmission of the two-hour live parade coverage to a total of nine communities through Community Television for the Southern Berkshires and Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp.
Time Warner has discontinued that service, but Tucker said a copy of the broadcast will be made available to CTSB and NBCTC for rebroadcast.
"We will post it as soon as possible so they can download it," he said.
As for fundraising, the committee has received $54,000 in donations, two-thirds of the $85,000 goal, according to Marchetti.
"We'll have enough to cover our expenses as we have dipped into our reserves," he said. "Additional funds raised will be used toward next years parade."
Some of those funds -- about $500 -- will pay for PCTV to live stream the broadcast via its website, www.pittsfieldtv.org. Marchetti said the web broadcast was planned independent of any potential simulcast through Time Warner.
Last minute fundraising efforts include Liam Geddes, a celebrated singer songwriter from Ballina in County Mayo, Ireland, Pittsfield's sister city, performing a benefit concert Thursday night at Spice Dragon on North Street.
In 2012, Geddes appeared on the "The Voice of Ireland," the Irish edition of the international TV franchise "The Voice," the highly acclaimed television talent competition.
Prior to the start of the parade, a bucket brigade of volunteers will pass red, white and blue containers among the tens of thousands of people lining the parade route, hoping they contribute what cash they can to help offset the parade expenses.
For more parade information or to donate online, go to pittsfieldparade.com or call at (413) 447-7763.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233