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Our Opinion

Our Opinion: Pittsfield July 4th Parade puts much needed pep in our collective step

Parade spectators smile and laugh (copy)

Parade spectators react to having water squirted on them from a float on Monday as they watch the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade.

“Remarkably normal” might sound like an oxymoron. Amid the fanfare of Pittsfield’s Fourth of July Parade, though, that description from one paradegoer was remarkably apt. The Independence Day tradition in the heart of the Berkshires did not seem diminished by a two-year absence, and what was typical for pre-pandemic festivities was, in fact, remarkable this year: folks from all over and all walks joining to celebrate the holiday and the sheer joy of togetherness on a fine summer’s day.

If there’s a silver lining to be preserved from our time under the dark clouds of COVID, let it be that we never again take for granted these priceless, ephemeral moments of communal revelry. In this precarious moment when our country seems intent on tearing itself apart at the seams, it’s all the more inspiring to see our entire Berkshire community join forces in the spirit of fun and unity on the nation’s birthday.

A parade's easy vibe suggests that COVID-19 is mostly a memory for Pittsfield residents and visitors

And as attendants will attest, it truly was a celebration of, by and for the full spectrum of the Berkshire community with every corner of that rich tapestry represented. Individuals, couples and families with kids of all ages cheered on a procession that included balloons and floats, officials and students, superheroes and local heroes, and representatives of Berkshire Benevolent Association for the Blind, a local Irish dance school, Festival Latino of the Berkshires and this newspaper, just to name a few.

It’s a heartening reminder that whatever the task at hand — commemorating holidays, conquering COVID, curing the divisions that plague America or perhaps all three at once — we are always stronger together.

The city and the greater Berkshire community owes a great deal of thanks to all who participated to put the pep in the parade’s step, especially organizers faced with the tough task of resuming a cherished tradition after an unprecedented two-year pause. One paradegoer, who works on North Street, told an Eagle reporter that he had seen first-hand the pandemic’s “depressing” effects on downtown Pittsfield, which made the Fourth of July Parade’s successful return to the once-dormant streets all the more triumphant.

“It was uplifting,” he said. “It felt like a step forward after we had to take a step backward.”

We couldn’t agree more. There’s no better time for a big step forward than a parade, and hopefully we can keep that pace.

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