For first time in more than 40 years, no Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade (copy)

A submarine float representing the U.S. Submarine Veterans passes Park Square during Pittsfield’s Fourth of July Parade in 2019. May 1 is the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee’s deadline to decide whether to proceed with this year’s parade, which organizers canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Before that, it previously was canceled in 1977.

Even in this darkest winter, there is still hope — for sunnier days, a return to normalcy and the kind of Berkshire summer we didn’t get to have last year.

It might only be February, but we warmly welcome the optimism of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee, which is planning for the Independence Day tradition’s return this year.

Fundraising won’t be an issue, as the parade committee President Peter Marchetti told The Eagle that the parade is already paid for from money left over from 2019 fundraising that wasn’t spent on last year’s canceled parade.

The parade committee’s optimism is rightly cautious. The group has set a May 1 deadline to officially decide whether COVID-19 infection rates have waned enough to safely stage the sizable outdoor event.

“We have an energetic and upbeat committee, despite the many unknowns about the virus at this juncture for 2021. It’s better to be ready than to be caught flat-footed,” Mr. Marchetti said.

We are hopeful that those benchmarks are hit three months from now.

But beyond that, as we diligently pursue the light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, it’s slowly but surely starting to feel OK to hope again — to plan and look forward to all the things we’ve had to forgo but now appear again on the near horizon.

It’s not just a desire to get back to normal, but for reveling together in the kinds of community celebrations we often took for granted until they had to be sacrificed last year.

When that day comes, we can think of no better celebration than a parade.