NORTH ADAMS -- Sixty years after she was crowned queen of the Fall Foliage Festival, Barbara (Roberts) Marceau still remembers being crowned by Mayor Ernest Rosasco during a ball at the North Adams Armory.
The queen and her court were selected the night before during a fashion show that was part of the week-long Fall Foliage Festival in 1952.
"I was 18 and had graduated from St. Joseph's High School the year before. I don't remember being on a float or if there was a parade," Marceau, who now lives in California with her husband, Colburn "Colby" Marceau, said Tuesday during a visit to the Transcript. "I was asked to model in the fashion show by Richard's Beauty Salon, which I represented. There were a lot of girls who were up for the queen. I know from the newspaper clippings I have that it was the fourth year of the festival."
The Fall Foliage Festival, which began in 1948 under the auspices of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce's retail division ended that year. The festival resurfaced in 1956, with a focus on promoting the Northern Berkshires as a tourist destination and included a week's worth of events including an air show and art in local storefront windows, culminating in a parade.
On Sunday, the chamber will keep that tradition alive when the 57th annual Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade steps off on Curran Highway at 1 p.m.
This year's theme, "Toys on Parade," has proven successful, according to
"It's proved to be a theme that a lot of organizations and groups found they could have fun with. We have more floats registered this year than we've had in recent years," she said Thursday. "Even some of the vehicles that are going to be in the parade are joining in on the fun. Tunnel City Taxi is going have one car that looks like a wind-up car and another that will look as if it's a pull toy. Everyone's getting into the spirit."
Longtime float builder Bruce Hayden will serve as the parade's grand marshal this year, but don't look for him at the beginning of the parade. Hayden will break tradition and be in the parade lineup with his float, as opposed to leading it.
"We're really excited to have him accept the grand marshal spot," Hoyt said. "It was very important to him to be in the lineup with his float, because he's also seeing the honor as recognition of his crew and his family, which has a 57-year history with the parade."
The Chamber expects some 25,000 to 30,000 people to turn out to view the parade, which begins at the Walmart parking lot on Curran Highway and will wind its way into the city along State Street, flowing over the Hadley Overpass onto Main Street before turning onto Ashland Street, where it will end near the armory.
"One thing that will be a little different this year is that we will have volunteers with donation buckets walking with the parade," Hoyt said "Although it's not the norm, we're just looking for a little bit of additional support so we can continue to have the parade. We've received tremendous support from individuals and businesses, but we're still short of our fundraising goal."
Hoyt said the Chamber needs to raise $30,000 to support the parade.
"We're not asking people for large amounts -- it can be a quarter or a dollar," she said. "The parade is based on what we can raise through our fundraising efforts. It's truly a community event. At the same time, people are still going to see some great marching bands and a lot of floats."
For more information on the parade, visit www.fallfoliageparade.com.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email