The Fall Foliage Festival Parade kicks off Oct. 5 with a Mohawk Trail theme.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Fall Foliage Festival Parade is marking the Mohawk Trail's centennial anniversary this October.
The trail will be theme of the 59th annual parade and Peter Tomyl, longtime president of the Mohawk Trail Association, will be this year's grand marshal.
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, which coordinates the parade, and the city of North Adams on Wednesday announced the theme and grand marshal selection for the parade.
"Celebrating the adventure and culture that people have experienced on the Mohawk Trail over the last century is our way of paying homage to the communities that have made it possible," said Parade Director Danielle Thomas, the chamber's coordinator of events and programs. "We're delighted that Peter will be leading the celebration. His efforts to expand the association's marketing efforts have resulted in an increase of visitors to the region, which benefits the entire community."
Tomyl has served as the association's president for 15 years. During his tenure, he has implemented the use of billboards and developed a robust online presence with a new website and social media outlets, which has resulted in increased visitation from the Boston and New York markets.
"It's very exciting that the Fall Foliage Parade Committee chose to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Mohawk Trail this year," Tomyl said. "In addition to recognizing the breathtaking landscape we're all privileged to call home, the trail has a significant economic impact to this region, attracting huge numbers of tourists to Northern Berkshire County and it's important to promote that awareness."
The 63-mile highway from Greenfield to North Adams was constructed between 1912 and 1914, but its roots lie far further back as a trail made by native peoples, and later pioneers, across the mountain ranges.
Believed to be the nation's first scenic byway, it winds through a number of smaller communities before the sharp Hairpin Turn brings motorists into the city limits. For years, the highway was a main route into the Berkshires, particularly North County, before the Massachusetts Turnpike opened. It continues to be a major attraction during the fall foliage months.
The parade will step off on Sunday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. from the Ocean State Job Lot parking lot located at 830 Curran Highway and continue north on Curran Highway before winding through downtown North Adams. Thousands of Berkshire residents and visitors enjoy the annual parade, which commemorates the magnificent autumn season.
"The Berkshire Chamber takes great pride in planning and producing the Fall Foliage Parade annually," said June Roy-Martin, interim president & CEO of the Berkshire Chamber. "It is a time-honored tradition in North Berkshire and we're so pleased to recognize Peter for his commitment to the region."
With so many tasks still ahead, the committee welcomes volunteers to help with the parade effort. For more information on the parade or to volunteer, call Danielle Thomas at 413-499-4000, Ext. 126 or visit www.fallfoliageparade.com.
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