Twenty somewhat rain-soaked but colorful floats rolled past the reviewing stand on schedule last night, despite a series of cloudbursts that threatened to force cancellation of the Mardi Gras parade right up until 7:30.

Six thousand spectators ignored the unpredictable sky and lined North Street to watch the 11th annual playground event, led by Gustaf Pilblad Jr., chief marshal, Thomas Kazberovich and Harry Tyler Sr.

With all the floats depicting fictional or historical themes, five playgrounds took the seven prizes offered. Crane and Pontoosuc were double winners. The Crane float, showing Columbus’ three ships flying bright sails, was judged the most imaginative and the best depiction of an historical theme.

Bewigged and elaborately costumed dancers on the Pontoosuc float illustrated President John Adams’ inaugural ball and won prizes for the most artistic and most beautiful float.

The best fictional theme award went to Wilson playground for a float with Tom Sawyer riding along, actually whitewashing a real picket fence. Blood-curdling pirates from Lebanon playground took the “most spectacular” award with their Treasure Island scene.

A snoring Rip Van Winkle surrounded by his small friends brought the most humorous award to Deming playground. With better than 81 percent of its children marching, Pitt playground won the participation award.

Music for the marchers was provided by the drum and bugle corps of the Pittsfield Permanent Firemen’s Assn. and two units of the Eagles’ Band, through a performance grant of the trust fund of the recording and television industries.

King and queen of the Mardi Gras, Billy Drury and Dawn Spaniol, from Pontoosuc, rode on the royal float dressed in the robes they received last week at the coronation.

The parade, sponsored by the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, passed a reviewing stand on Park Square, went down North Street and crossed to the Common on Maplewood Avenue and First Street.

Judges were Mrs. Mary Jane Gross, Mrs. Sol Minneci, Anthony Messana and Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Gullion. Henry Zopf presented the prizes at the Common. The celebration continued with movies at the Boys’ Club and dancing at the Masonic Temple to Charlie Mackie’s orchestra.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.