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The Pittsfield parade might not be happening this year, but parade lovers can get their fix on PCTV.

Pittsfield Community Television to Highlight Fourth of July

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Community Television and the Pittsfield Parade Committee have teamed up to bring residents a television event to celebrate the Fourth of July in place of the traditional Fourth of July Parade, which was canceled due to COVID-19.

On Saturday, July 4, beginning at 9:30 a.m., PCTV will air a historical documentary called "Fighting for Independence: The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade." The show will look back at the history of the Pittsfield Fourth of July parade, and researchers attempt to trace the history of the parade further than ever before. 

At 10 a.m., at the time when the parade normally kicks off at South Street, PCTV will air a "The Pittsfield Parade Looks Back: Celebrating Over Three Decades Of Live Parade Television Coverage." This program will look back at some of the biggest, best, and most memorable floats, bands, grand marshals, and more, and will feature "director's cut" commentary from members of the Pittsfield Parade Committee. This program will also feature members of the community talking about what the parade means to them.

Both "Fighting for Independence" and the "The Pittsfield Parade Looks Back" will be available for viewing on Access Pittsfield Channel 1301 in Pittsfield, on the Pittsfield Community Television Facebook page, and PCTV Select, available on Roku, Apple TV and at  These programs will also be broadcast county-wide on NBCTC, WilliNet, Dalton Community TV, Lanesborough Cable Access, and CTSB-TV.  They will also be available on-demand at and on PCTV Select.

"The Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade is really part of our DNA here at PCTV," said Shawn Serre, the station's executive director. "Our very first production as an organization was covering the parade in 1988. We've been through extreme heat and soaking rain-producing this event over three decades, without fail. And on a personal level, I’ve directed the TV coverage now for over 20 years. So we weren't going to be sidelined this year, without some way to recognize what it means to the community."

Serre also noted how the close relationship with the Pittsfield Parade Committee made the programming possible.

"We are very fortunate to have this partnership with the Pittsfield Parade Committee. They are a great group of people who give so much of themselves every year to give the community a wonderful event," he said. "This collaboration was very different for both of our organizations, given the circumstances this year.  The Parade Committee contributed their years of experience, and we contributed the production and technical expertise. I think we've created something very special that viewers will enjoy watching."

Peter Marchetti, president of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade Committee, agreed with Serre.

"The collaboration that has been developed over the years has been crucial, and even in difficult times we have been able to take a bad situation and turn it into a positive," he said.

Marchetti said he "understands the disappointment in the community that we must forgo the parade this year" but stresses that “planning for 2021 has begun, and we will be excited to return to downtown Pittsfield with all the happy times and solemn moments that the parade means to all."

In addition to the special new programming, PCTV also plans to re-broadcast previous years' parades in their entirety beginning Wednesday, July 1, and continuing through early morning on July 4. These archive broadcasts can be seen on  PCTV Access Pittsfield Channel 1301 and PCTV Select, available on Roku and Apple TV.  

On the morning of July 4, the station will also broadcast a collection of youth performances by Barrington Stage Company and Berkshire Theatre Group, which have accompanied parade broadcasts in previous years.  That program will air at 9 a.m., and at 8:30 p.m. on July 4, PCTV will air an hour of fireworks.

Tags: 4th of July,   parade,   

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Pittsfield Superintendant Warns of Prohibited Toy Guns

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The district has been alerted of a concerning trend that is prohibited on school grounds: Orby or Orbeez gel guns.

The toy guns shoot gel or water beads and are said to pose a risk of physical harm and being mistaken for a real firearm. They are a violation of the Pittsfield Public School's code of conduct and could result in a suspension of 11 days or more.

"Though these may appear as simple toys, it's crucial to recognize the potential risks tied to their usage. By raising awareness, we aim to educate our community about the possible hazards associated with these items, emphasizing the importance of informed decision-making and responsible behavior," said Superintendent Joseph Curtis in a memo to the Pittsfield Public School community on Friday.

Last fall, someone used a similar gun to target cross-country students and a coach from Lee High. No one was injured in the incident. 

Given the frequency of school shootings nationwide, Curtis said schools cannot afford to accommodate anything that even remotely that resembles a firearm. The toy guns and gel beads are secured behind a locked case in Walmart on Hubbard Avenue, many indicating that they are for ages 14 and older.

"The Pittsfield Public Schools firmly maintains that Orby toy guns and any associated pellets should not be brought onto school premises, including both indoor and outdoor areas. This directive is in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all students, staff, and visitors within our educational environment," he wrote.

"We stress the significance of following this directive to prevent any potential hazards or disruptions that may arise from the presence of these items on school grounds. By upholding this standard, we aim to cultivate a secure and conducive learning environment for everyone within the Pittsfield community."

The superintendent listed three potential hazards of the water-bead guns in the schools:

  • Physical Injuries: The guns have the capacity to propel projectiles at considerable speeds, posing a risk of injury to the eyes, skin, and even teeth, particularly when fired in close proximity.
  • Misidentification Risks: Due to their realistic appearance, some Orby guns may be mistaken for genuine firearms. Such misidentification could result in confusion and potentially perilous encounters, especially if law enforcement or bystanders perceive them as real weapons.
  • Public Disruption: The act of firing Orby guns in public settings can be highly disruptive and alarming to others. Such behavior may instill fear and panic among individuals nearby, potentially leading to charges of disorderly conduct or harassment.
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