NORTH ADAMS -- The 58th annual Fall Foliage Parade is less than three weeks away, but organizers say there is still time for community members to volunteer as banner carriers, join as a participant or make a donation.
According to Parade Director Danielle Thomas, some 40 units -- a mix of high school and professional bands, marching units, floats and local dignitaries -- have already registered for the Oct. 6 parade.
"We're looking to have more than 45 participants this year," she said Friday. "We'd also like to bring in a few more professional bands."
But to do so, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, along with the city of North Adams, which organize the annual parade with a core group of volunteers, need help.
"We have a fundraising goal of $40,000 this year," said June Roy-Martin, vice president of member services at the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce. "We've already raised $19,300, but we're asking for help from the community. In order to bring in professional bands or even high school bands, such as the popular Ichabod Crane Marching Band, we have to pay for their transportation costs."
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said while a major portion of the parade's funding comes from the city, corporate sponsors and private donors, donations have decreased in recent years.
"The parade's reserve funds are starting to dwindle," he said. "We're asking for donations of any size -- $5, $10, $25. Donations of $2,500 are really nice, but those little donations are just as important. It's always great to provide free events to the community, but budgets are being stretched and without funding, they eventually won't be able to continue."
In addition to making donations prior to the parade's 1 p.m. kick off, donations can be made during the parade.
"We're going to have a ‘bucket brigade' of sorts, with volunteers asking for donations along the parade route," Alcombright said. "This is a common practice at the Pittsfield July 4th parade. We debuted it very quietly last year and were able to raise about $1,100 spare change really can add up."
In addition to the need for donations, there's also a need for volunteer banner carriers.
"Banner carrying can be fun," Roy-Martin said. "We have a raffle for the volunteers."
Thomas said the parade committee is also seeking more marching units and floats.
"We currently have 11 floats registered for the parade," she said. "Not all of them are the big decked-out floats. Some of them are much smaller and simpler. This year our theme is ‘Haunts, Legends and Ghost Stories.' We have everything from groups performing ‘Thriller' to a ghost ambulance and the Hoosac Tunnel."
Individuals looking to volunteer to carry banners can contact Thomas at 413-499-4000, ext. 126, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Float or marching unit guidelines can be downloaded at www.fallfoliageparade.org.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email