Weather lightens parade crowd

    It wasn't the largest crowd for a Callithumpian Parade, but given the weather, it was a good one.
    Estimates of Monday night's turnout for the annual parade were in the 5,000 range, not bad at all considering the weather predictions that included big gusts of wind. The temperature stood at 44 degrees when the parade kicked off around 7 p.m., with wind-chill readings in the mid-30s.
     "I'd say around 5,000," Police Chief Ken Ketzler said this morning. "The crowd was lighter than usual — we've had 8,000 or 9,000 in the past — but not bad. It was really windy out there."
    As for crowd control and the handling of traffic afterward, Ketzler said "it went real well."
    While the crowd may have been down, the enthusiasm wasn't, nor were the parade numbers, fueled by an election year. The candidates and their supporters were plentiful, bolstered by something new: a first-ever group of North Adams school board candidates.
    That just swelled the number of candy handouts for the youngsters lining the streets.
    The 2012 parade was led by local industrialist Vic Porter, accompanied by his wife, Kris. Appropriately, the Porters rode in the first boat he produced here, a Duo Marine dating to 1958.
    The Haunted Barn won the top prize in the float competition. Second place went to the United Steelworkers Local 715 and third prize to the Kekionga Steel Drums.
    Adams Central won the marching band competition.