Little Parade, Big Spirit: Williamstown Steps High For July 4By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Williamstown - It is not the biggest Fourth of July parade in the nation but this town's morning Independence Day grass-roots, home-grown march along Southworth, Main, Spring and Latham streets may well generate the most patriotic, enthusiastic cheers and flag-waving in the Berkshires.
|Williamstown pride and patriotism was represented during a July 4 parade.
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Betsy Burris was among the wildly appreciative Southworth Street spectators. She talked about the parade after it passed the neighborhood sidewalk and turned onto Main Street.
"I feel connected to the people in the parade," she said. "My friends are there, my children's friends are there..it's such a community feeling. And my feeling is if people are going to get into the parade and take the time and trouble decorate the floats, then we have to get out here and show our appreciation."
Michaela Laplante, 9, Heather Tomkowicz, 10, and Sidney Smith, 9, were among the Williamstown Elementary School Band members.
The parade stepped off from Southworth Street at just past 10 a.m. led by a town police cruiser which preceded a Richard A. Ruether American Legion Post 152 color guard. The ever-popular "Sparky the Fire Dog" waved from the back of a town fire truck, and many of those who rode the route perched atop floats or inside vehicles tossed wrapped candies to the crowd.
Music, Candy, and Hybrids
The candy-tossing was of particular appeal to numerous children, including sisters Elizabeth, Sarah, and Lauren Hunt and their friend Maggie Martin.
"I like the candy!" said Elizabeth, which prompted Maggie to chime in with "I like the candy, too!"
The Hunt sisters were accompanied by their mother, town resident and former state Gov. Jane Swift, who joined the spectators in hearty applause as marchers and floats passed by.
The Williamstown Elementary School Band performed for the crowd this year and the red sash-adorned musicians drew smiles, applause, and cheers from the appreciative onlookers.
About 10 hybrid vehicles were included in the parade, including a hybrid SUV manufactured by Toyota that reportedly gets 30-35 miles per gallon of fuel with in-town driving conditions. Several of the vehicles displayed signs, such as "Green is the new red white and blue."
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Director Joseph Thompson
A small electric car manufactured by GEM that carried the model number E825 was entered into the parade by Williams College and driven by Jared Powell. Powell was accompanied by passenger Carolyn Reuman.
"Penguins" Are COOL
Several members of the town's Co2 Lowering Committee, better known as the COOL Committee, walked the parade route as "penguins," wearing black and white clothing and other accessories and pulling small floats created as melting icebergs. Smaller "penguins" - actually children who agreed to participate with the COOL contingent-"waddled" along the route.
Additional parade participants included Caretaker Farms, Williamstown Rural Lands, David Larabee and his horse-pulled carriage, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the town House Of Local History, the Berkshire Dance Theater, the Lanesboro/Williamstown baseball team, the David and Joyce Milne Public Library, Cal Ripken League baseball players, League of Women Voters. Williamstown Community Chest, Williamstown Chamber of Commerce, South Williamstown Community Association, the Cloverhill Farm and the DeMayo's Bonnie Lea Farm.
An electric car driven by Jared Powell, who was accompanied by Carolyn Reuman.
Town residents Ellie and Carter were among the enthusiastic parade spectators.
Two readings of the Declaration of Independence followed the parade. One reading was at 11:30 a.m. at the Williams College Chapin Library of Rare Books and a second reading was scheduled for 1 p.m..
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.