With ‘Bee’s Knees’ theme, parade ushers in Franklin County Fair

  • There were bees everywhere at the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade in Greenfield on Thursday evening. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Line dancing and Santa at the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade in Greenfield on Thursday evening. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Bee-themed entries participate in the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade in Greenfield on Thursday evening. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Aimee Goddard and Jodi Gilman with their twin sons Max and Arlo Gilman-Goddard, 5, at the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade in Greenfield on Thursday evening. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The Color Guard leads the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade in Greenfield on Thursday evening. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Children delight in the candy being freely distributed at the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade in Greenfield on Thursday evening. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • A horse-drawn wagon at the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade in Greenfield on Thursday evening. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Students with Greenfield’s marching band participate in the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade in Greenfield on Thursday evening. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • A bubble-covered classic car participates in the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade in Greenfield on Thursday evening. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • As police sirens signaled the start of the parade, Greenfield resident Lacy Pittelli sat on the corner of Garfield and Federal streets with her sons, Liam, 4, and Tyrian, 6. Pittelli said the family attends the parade each year. Staff Photo/ZACK DeLUCA

Staff Writer
Published: 9/9/2021 7:41:44 PM

GREENFIELD — Despite some light rain, families filled the sidewalks and children waited with excitement and grocery bags in hand, ready to collect candy, as the Franklin County Fair Kick-Off Parade made its way through the city Thursday evening.

While the fair was not held last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the four-day event has returned in full swing for 2021. The kick-off parade started at 5 p.m. at the Greenfield Middle School and lasted for nearly an hour as dozens of groups from schools, public safety departments, businesses and more marched to the fairgrounds. With the theme “It’s the Bee’s Knees,” many marchers were dressed in yellow and black, or complete suits as they waved to the crowd.

Kim Williams, owner of the Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts in Turners Falls, said she was excited for the parade to return after its hiatus last year. The performing arts center, driving school, preschool and theater group brought nearly two dozen marchers who danced alongside their parade float.

Also waiting at the Greenfield Middle School before the parade began was Franklin County Technical School freshman Hazel Andrade, as well as sophomores Jaxon Cole, Molly McIntyre, Solstice Williams, Chelsea Kretchmar and Faith McClure, who was dressed as the school’s eagle mascot. Many said they had participated in the parade with other groups, including the Girl Scouts and Greenfield Middle School band, but this was all their first time marching with Franklin Tech.

As police sirens signaled the start of the parade, Greenfield resident Lacy Pittelli sat on the corner of Garfield and Federal streets with her sons, Liam, 4, and Tyrian, 6. Pittelli said the family attends the parade each year.

“We live right down the street, so it’s fun to walk up for it,” Pittelli said. “I grew up in Michigan going to county fairs, but we didn’t have parades like this. … I used to shear sheep in Michigan, so the agriculture aspect is big to us.”

When asked what they were most excited for Thursday, Tyrian said he was hoping to see animals, including horses — “and get candy,” Liam chimed in. Sure enough, one of the attractions in the parade was a horse-drawn carriage carrying Franklin County Agricultural Society President Michael Nelson and other fair organizers.

For many locals, the parade is a yearly tradition. Greenfield residents Aimee Goddard and Jodi Gilman watched from the corner of Federal and Main streets with their children, 5-year-old twins Arlo and Max Gilman-Goddard.

“We love everything about the fair,” Goddard said. “They’re 5 now, and we first brought them when they were just a few months old. … Last year, a friend of ours made us candy apples when we missed the fair.”

With events officially underway as of Thursday, the Franklin County Fair will last through Sunday. More information, including a full schedule of events, can be found at fcas.com and facebook.com/FranklinCountyFairGreenfield.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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