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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

“Golden Jubilee” Parade Shines

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, October 02, 2005

Berkshire Chamber of Commerce float, built by Bruce Hayden of North Adams
North Adams – The Fall Foliage Festival 50th Anniversary “Golden Jubilee” Parade was exactly that, golden from start to finish.

•See photos here

There were marching bands and floats, clowns and balloons, jet planes and unicycles, and best of all, sunshine cloaked the Northern Berkshires valley and temperatures rose to the low 80s.

Spectators of all ages lined the parade route from its’ Curran Highway Wal-mart kickoff point to its’ conclusion at the senior citizen high-rise building on Ashland Street. Main Street was elbow-room only on both sides of the roadway, and many street-facing porches and windows along the route were filled with people.

Sidewalks were filled well before the parade’s 1 p.m. start time as hundreds of spectators searched for the prime parade watching spot.

A Good Seat


Amsterdam High School "Marching Rams" cheerleaders, from Amsterdam, N.Y.
By 11:45 a.m., Keith and Sandy Daignault and Mary Daignault, all city residents, spread blankets along the Main Street sidewalk near BankNorth, and settled in with their children six-year-old Jake, three-year-old Maya, and five-year-old Emily Daignault, and three-year-old Casey Daignault.

“We like to come early to get a good seat,” said Sandy Daignault. “This is something that we like to go to. Today [the weather] is perfect.”

Keith Daignault recalled other, less ideal parade conditions.

“We’ve sat in the snow and horrible weather conditions to watch the parade,” he said, clearly pleased that this year’s parade offered nothing but warmth.

Mary Daignault noted her favorite parade performers.

“I like the bands, and I love the Berkshire Highlanders,” she said.

To keep the children entertained until the parade arrived, the adults packed a mini-sidewalk picnic and brought toys. Jake and Maya snacked on chicken nuggets, while Emily nibbled crackers and Casey munched on vanilla-flavored round cookies. “Barbie” and “American Girl” dolls kept the girls occupied while Jake played with magnetic rods that create a multitude of shapes.

When asked what they enjoy most about the parade, all four children answered “balloons.”

No Pants, No March

Also on Main Street before noon were Kit King and her son Craig King. Kit’s husband is Tom King, a past parade Grand Marshal who appeared in the golden anniversary parade. Tom King is also a former executive director of the former Northern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce and a past parade director.

Drury High School marching band members


She attended every Fall Foliage parade from 1955 until 1994, when she and her husband moved to Florida, Kit King said.

“During the 1960s, this was the fifth largest uniformed parade in the country,” she said, and explained that “uniformed parade” meant that every formal marching unit was required to have full uniforms and wear them during the parade.

“I remember once, a man from Connecticut forgot his uniform pants – and he didn’t march,” she said.

Craig King appeared in numerous Fall Foliage Festival parades, he said. As a child, he rode atop parade floats on two occasions. He then marched as a member of the Drury High School and Norwich University marching bands, and as a member of the United States Army Reserve, he said.

Decades ago, the parade stepped off from the former Mark Hopkins School, now a Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts campus building, and the family would watch the parade pass by from the Elmwood Street home of an aunt.

And one memorable year, when Tom King was extremely busy with last-minute Fall Foliage Parade details, a Children’s Parade emergency developed at home.

Kit and Craig King said that an “Alice in Wonderland” float had been built inside the family’s garage. The family car had been parked outside for several days to accommodate the construction, and the time had come to head out to the children’s event, Kit King said.

“And that float wouldn’t fit through the garage door,” she said. “Tom had to come home and take the garage door down to get the float out.”

Later in the day, Kit King took her place at a grandstand erected on Main Street and watched Tom King roll along the parade route in a red convertible, a Grand Marshal once more.

Applause Across the Ages

Tom King joined over a dozen past parade grand marshals who accepted an invitation to serve once more during the “Golden Jubilee” parade. The elite contingent included Betty and Holice Belding, former city Mayor Richard Lamb, Donald Thurston, and former Gov. Jane Swift, who elected to ride on a wooden wagon surrounded by children.


Clowns drew spectator applause.
Spectators on Main Street showed their appreciation for the parade participants with applause and cheers for nearly every passing unit.

Among those generating very enthusiastic applause were the Sept. 30 Children’s Parade winners Ashley Troilo and William Troilo, who rode in a leave-cloaked wagon “float,” and Leigha Demarsico and Patrick Wojnicki, who captivated the crowd in their “Mickey Mouse” and “Minnie Mouse” costumes.

Budweiser and Baseball

The Anheuser-Busch Budweiser Clydesdale eight-horse hitch drew loud applause; in fact, the horses drew almost as much applause as a trio of Budweiser beer trucks that followed the traditional red Budweiser wagon.

Pat Kelley announced the parade from the grandstand and found himself surrounded by happy cheers when he also kept the spectators posted about the score of the Boston Red Sox baseball game being played as the parade marched along.

And as with every Fall Foliage parade, wayward balloons made their way skyward, dignitaries marched, smiled, and shook dozens of hands, and vendors patrolled the route with sharp eyes that sought out customers.

Tubas added brass to a golden day.


It was parade day in the city.

May the memories made march on.

A multi-photograph “Fall Foliage Festival Golden Jubilee Parade” slideshow can be seen here.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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