‘Bring the Whole Herd’ to the fair parade

  • Sarah Gaines, back left, and Robert Gaines ride along in the 2017 Franklin County Fair Parade with twins Collin Gaines, front left, and Caleb Gaines, Sept. 7, 2017, in Greenfield. FILE PHOTO

  • Jenna Silk, 17, marches in the color guard down Main street with the Greenfield High School marching band during the 2017 Franklin County Fair Parade on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 in Greenfield. FILE PHOTO

  • Anthony Ruggeri, 3, from left, Julia Collura, 5, Madison Haight, 7, and Anabel Collura, 7, reach out for candy being thrown during the 2017 Franklin County Fair Parade on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 in Greenfield. FILE PHOTO

Recorder Staff
Published: 9/6/2018 12:40:26 AM

GREENFIELD — The Franklin County Fair’s theme this year is “Bring the Whole Herd.”

But, don’t worry, that’s not a stampede you’ll be hearing today. It’s the annual fair parade.

Roughly 100 businesses, organizations and schools are expected to march the streets of Greenfield to kick off the 170th fair. The parade, which begins at 5 p.m., starts at Greenfield Middle School continuing through the center of town, before ending at the fairgrounds.

Ericka Almeida, development director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, said her organization will again participate in the parade, which she said serves as a wonderful form of community outreach for the organization.

“It’s such a great way for us to get our message out, let people know that we are here in Greenfield. It’s such an incredible way to celebrate the community — everyone comes out for it,” she said. “Being in Franklin County for 51 years, we’ve affected the lives of thousands of families … and it trickles down through the generations.”

Almeida said her organization partners with Padula Brothers, and the business will again donate a tractor that will pull a big hay wagon carrying participants. She said she will join a mix of about 40 mentors, mentees, parents, staff members and board directors in the parade.

“That’s pretty impressive, especially considering it’s supposed to be pretty hot,” she said. “We want (to let people know) that mentoring is a big part of why this community is so successful.”

Almeida said her organization’s participants — like many who walk in the parade — will give away free gifts to attendees, though she would not divulge what they were, saying only that they are special this year and people should watch for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“We’re No. 5 in the parade,” Almeida said.

Another regular will be Gaines Farm of Guilford, Vt. The Gaines family has been working that property since 1782 and matriarch Jackie Gaines said this year’s “Bring the Whole Herd” theme will make the family feel right at home. She said the family will again use the crowd-pleasing “cow train” that thrilled members of the crowd last year and her 2-year-old granddaughter will be along for the ride.

“We participate because we love the Franklin County Fair. It’s all about fun,” she said. “It’s a blast. I mean, everybody loves it. The kids on the sides of the route cheer when they see us. They get all excited. It’s a big time for us.”

Gaines said her husband, Robert, (seventh generation) and son Kyle run the operation with the help of the whole family. She said the farm has participated in the parade for at least the past seven years.

According to Parade Director Michael Nelson, the parade starts at the middle school and heads down Federal Street before turning right onto Main Street, down to the River Street intersection, turning left onto River before taking an immediate right onto Laurel Street and ending at the fairgrounds rear entrance.

Laurel Street acts as a type of “Heartbreak Hill” for some members of the Greenfield High School marching band.

“Imagine being clothed from top to bottom, (and) in hats. … Mid-80s is not ideal (weather) for our uniforms,” said Band Director Maria Scotera. “It’s very hot and can be challenging, but well worth it and lots of fun.”

Scotera said her band is made up of about 50 students in grades 8 through 12. They otherwise perform with the concert band (typically for younger students) or the wind ensemble (for students more serious about music). Scotera said her musicians will march the parade performing “Holiday” by Green Day.

“Our challenge will be to march fast, because it’s a fast tune,” she said. “It’s a great community event. It’s probably our most visible performance.”

Scotera said the musicians got extra time to practice during a five-day band camp before school started.

Jodi Hallett, who works in the business office at Farren Care Center in Turners Falls, said the skilled nursing facility will again make an appearance in the parade. She did not know how many employees would march, but said it would likely be between 30 and 35. She said the facility hopes to sport a banner while marching and there will be a float that as of Tuesday was “a work in progress.”

Hallett said employees will pass out candy to children and sweet-toothed adults along the parade route.

“I love it,” she said. “I love Farren, so I love representing us.”

Kathleen Stewart, administrator of Poet’s Seat Health Care Center, said her facility will have about 10 people in the parade and will hand out purple flying discs.

She said the facility’s float will be a replica of the Franklin County Fair entrance, with synthetic cows, horses, pigs and sheep. She said the theme is fitting because the health care center is a pet-friendly facility.

Stewart said some employees will have their children in the parade.

“How many people get involved in this area is a great thing,” she said. “Most of our staff lives here in Greenfield, so I think it’s very popular.”

Reach Domenic Poli at dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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