Wednesday September 26, 2012

NORTH ADAMS -- The Fall Foliage Festival Parade steps off Sunday afternoon for the 57th annual celebration of autumn and its colors.

The parade, led by Bruce Hayden as grand marshal, has "Toys on Parade in Northern Berkshire" as its theme, which should inspire creative collection of floats and displays. Hayden and his family have been an integral part of the parade, from its planning to their participation, for decades. The Hayden family's floats have long captured the themes of the annual parades.

"The parade committee wanted to choose a theme that would resonate with the child in all of us," said parade director Christine Hoyt. "This year's theme allows for creativity and imagination with the creation of floats and the participation of marching units."

The parade includes an array of marching bands, floats, banners and other marching units.

It starts at 1 p.m. from the Walmart parking lot, continues down Curran Highway, takes a right onto Main Street and then another on to Ashland Street. The spectacle draws thousands of Berkshire residents and visitors.

"The parade is a time-honored tradition in North Berkshire and we understand that, now perhaps more than ever, it is important to businesses and residents to preserve this very special community event," said Michael Supranowicz, the president and CEO of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, which coordinates the event.

The parade relies on donations, which are down from past years, as well as volunteers. This year, a bucket brigade will travel the parade route seeking donations to help reach the fundraising goal of $30,000; as of Tuesday, the Fall Foliage Festival Parade Committee has raised $10,025. For more information on how to donate and volunteer, visit www.fallfoliage
parade.com. The website also provides additional information for spectators.

For more information, contact Christine Hoyt at choyt@berkshirechamber.com or (413) 499-4000, ext. 126.



Parade history ...

Milestones in the history of the Fall Foliage Festival Parade:

1947: The fall foliage season inspires the North Adams Chamber of Commerce to launch a festival celebrating the natural beauty of the surrounding mountain ranges in Northern Berkshire County. It culminated in a street parade and drum corps competition of 10 units vying for a top prize of $8.

1950: With $1,000 raised to support the parade, it now included attractively decorated floats.

1956: The celebration expands to take its present form, with a full week of activities. Future years would see the continued expansion of the festival.

1959: Congressman Silvio Conte is the parade's grand marshal.

1987: The infamous ice storm in this year forces the parade's only only cancellation.

2001: Gov. Jane Swift, a North Adams native, is the parade's grand marshal.

2005: The parade celebrates its 50th "Golden Jubilee" anniversary.

2012: The parade to step off at 1 p.m. Sunday.