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Pittsfield's Historic 4th of July Parade to Return

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After a two-year hiatus, the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade will return with a fitting theme: "Back With a Bang."

The Parade Committee wants to make sure this event is extra special to thank the community for its ongoing support.

Consultant Ray Pulver from Upbeat Parade Productions will help to recruit more music groups, entertainment groups, and local or nation personalities will be added to the agenda. Pulver ran the parade more than 20 years ago.

Committee President Peter Marchetti said they would like to hire the Mummers' string band from Philadelphia.

Marchetti said musical units and celebrities of varying degrees were always a part of the show but have dwindled over the years. To come "Back With a Bang," the committee would like to amp up those aspects.

From the late 1970s to 2020, Pittsfield — and beyond — residents lined North Street on Independence Day to enjoy floats, marching bands, large balloons, and other parade hallmarks.

The event fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. With the promise of vaccinations, planners were hopeful that the parade would happen for 2021 but, in May, Mayor Linda Tyer determined that it couldn't be safely held because of the virus.

Marchetti said planning has commenced because there are no current restrictions that prevent the parade from happening.

According to the Pittsfield Parade website, the parade dates back to the early 1800s and, in 1947, the Pittsfield Permanent Fireman's Association took it over and ran it until 1976.

In 1978, a group of volunteers held their first parade with seed money from the City of Pittsfield and grew to be the committee that runs the show today.

The event can cost anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000 and relies solely on donations. Because the committee raised a good amount of money before the pandemic canceled the parade, fundraising efforts will go towards next year.

"The good news is in 2019, we had a pretty good year of fundraising, so it put us back to where we used to be," Marchetti said. "So when we're raising money this year, this year's fundraiser is for next year's parade."

Funds can be sent to Pittsfield Parade Committee, Inc, PO Box 1738, Pittsfield, MA 01202, or donations can be made through PayPal on its website

The committee is seeking new members to assist with parade planning and will also be launching a new website.

New volunteers are always welcome to the meetings held the third Wednesday of each month except December at the Polish Falcons on Belair Ave at 7 pm.  
The proposed 2022 meeting dates are 2/16/2022, 3/16/2022, 4/13/2022, 4/27/22, 5/11/2022, 5/18/2022, 6/1/2022, 6/8/2022, 6/15/2022, 6/29/2022.

Float and Vehicle Safety Workshops will be held in March, April, and May 2022.   


Tags: 4th of July,   parade,   

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Pittsfield Licensing Board OKs Liquor Licenses for Two New Eateries

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

The former Papa Gino's on Merrill Road closed after nearly a half-century in business. The location will reopen as a Mexican restaurant.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two new restaurants are on the horizon for the city.

The Licensing Board on Monday approved the transfer of a seven-day all-alcohol license from Portsmitt's Lakeway Restaurant to Old Man Jeff's, which will be run by Jeffrey Yeager, the former assistant vice president of planning and reporting at Guardian Life Insurance Co.

The board also approved a seasonal all-alcohol restaurant license application for El Habanero Mexican Grill, which plans to open in the former Papa Gino's on Merrill Road.

In his retirement, Yeager has dedicated himself to becoming a pitmaster and plans to open a barbecue establishment at the shuttered eatery on Peck's Road. Portsmitt's closed in November 2020, citing financial pressures from the pandemic.

"I was responsible for operations at Guardian Life for 30 years, retired, hit the road, the BBQ trail, did competition barbecue for two years studying to some of the top pitmasters in the country, kind of did that for a little while and I can't cook so much food for myself," he said, adding that he is excited because he has always wanted to run a barbecue restaurant.

Yeager said he would like to initially focus on "power hours," or lunches and early dinners. The board approved the eatery's operating hours from noon to 11 p.m., though he doesn't plan to be open that late.

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