NORTH ADAMS -- Rain wasn't a deterrent for the thousands of people armed with umbrellas and ponchos who lined the city's streets to watch the 57th annual Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade on Sunday.
"We love the parade," Michelle Little, of Pittsfield, said. "We've been coming with the kids since they were little. We come every year."
Her sister, Kim Dawley, said the pair have been coming with their children for the last six or seven years.
"We heard there are some good floats this year," she said. "We're really excited."
McKenzie Hebert and Amber Rose Arnold, both 18, returned home from college to view the parade.
"It's the first time I've been to the parade since I was 6," said Hebert, who is attending Southern Vermont College. "I came with my best friend since I was home for the weekend."
Arnold, who is attending Springfield College, said she's been part of the parade for the last five years, either with the Drury High School marching band and band front or the Drury Drama Team. She said it was nice to be able to be on the sideline watching.
"I've been coming since I was little," she said. "My favorite part really is seeing the Drury band."
The parade's theme, "Toys on Parade," drew more than a dozen floats this year, ranging from Parade Grand Marshal Bruce Hayden's Jurassic Park-themed float to a giant Noah's Ark entered by the First Baptist Church of North Adams.
The Rev. David Anderson, pastor of the First Baptist Church, said it was the first float the congregation had entered in the parade since 2008.
"We wanted to get ourselves out into the community, to get a little exposure and connect with the community," he said.
At the staging area, North Adams Fire Director Steve Meranti was among the volunteers putting the finishing touches on the float, which featured an elephant's trunk that squirted water.
"It took a few weeks to build," he said. Youth Center Inc., of Adams, entered a float based on Pixar's "Toy Story." Youth Center members dressed as characters from the movie, including Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Little Bo Peep.
"Bruce Hayden helped us with the back of the float -- the Radio Flyer wagon," Executive Director Sonia DiSanti said. "The blocks were made by the kids who come to the Youth Center, and Buzz Lightyear's ship was made by Julie Morgan."
Union Station Fitness Center, which includes JStar Gymnastics and Zumba in the Berkshires, entered a float that included live demonstrations from each.
"There's going to be an explosion of cool things happening in front and behind the float," Jon Girard, owner of JStar Gymnastics, said prior to the parade. "We have a lot of kids participating this year. All the little dolls tumbling is going to look great."
The Adams Agricultural Fair 2012 Prince and Princess, John Stack, 5, of North Adams, and Megan Dubreuil, 7, of Cheshire, were followed by a float featuring toys from throughout history, including Mr. Potato Head, Raggedy Ann and Andy and a jack-in-the-box.
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