SOUTHWICK-Ideas for community events can sprout up in the smallest places – just ask Barbara and Bob Polverari.
“We love animals and when we saw a small sign for a farm parade during a drive last year, we decided to try the idea in town,” said Bob Polverari.
The couple enlisted friends and businesses to get the Southwick Farm Parade off the ground last year and were pleased with the participation and attendance.
“The parade included 40 tractors, 45 animals, Girl Scouts, 4-H members, seniors riding in a trolley and the town band dressed in farmer uniforms playing Yankee Doodle Dandy,” said Polverari. “It was a great parade with hundreds of people watching and we are hopeful it will be bigger this year.”
The parade is slated for Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. with a rain date of Oct. 27. The route is one mile and leaves the IBS parking lot to Town Hall. The awards ceremony and tractor display will follow at Prifti Park. The local Resurrection Airmen Country Band is also donating its time to provide music for the event and a variety of food stuffs including hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase.
“We are looking to have others in surrounding towns also join us – either as part of the parade or watching the parade,” said Polverari.
Parade registration is underway and forms can be found at www.southwickcivicfund.org or at local businesses including Moolicious Farm on Feeding Hills Road. The entry fee is $15 with all proceeds to benefit the Polverari/Southwick Animal Control Facility. Registration forms will also be available prior to the start of the parade.
Animals and tractors will be judged and trophies will include a “seniors’ choice” award, as well as first, second and third place by the judges. Barbara Polverari is overseeing the judging aspect of the event while Bob Polverari is handling basic logistics along with assistance from several friends.
“Last year we had oxen with flower leis, dogs dressed up in unique costumes, and horses painted with ornamental designs among the cows, chickens, rabbits, donkeys and ponies,” said Polverari. “We encourage everyone to be creative this year.”
Polverari noted that all animals must be on a leash, lead or in a crate. The age of the handler must be at least 18 years of age. Handlers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
“Last year we were missing potbellied pigs, goats and cats from the parade,” said Polverari, adding he hopes more area residents will want to show off their farm animals or pets – from alpacas to roosters.
Jack Moccio, a lifelong town resident, will be assisting Polverari with tractor participants.
“We are looking for all kinds of tractors, large and small,” said Moccio, adding that organizers are hopeful that children will want to be riding in the parade on their own kid tractors. “We want to get more kids involved, especially kids in 4-H.”
Polverari echoed a similar sentiment.
“The parade is open to all tractors,” said Polverari, adding he has invited area farmers to showcase their equipment. “We also encourage area residents with restored tractors to join us in the parade.”
For inquiries about tractor participation, contact Moccio at (413) 237-4141 or general information to Polverari at (413) 531-0336 or visit www.southwickcivicfund.org.
“From little dogs dressed up to 6-foot tall, 2,300-pound oxen, as well as seeing big tractors up close, the parade is a great event for the family,” said Polverari, adding the most important aspect is that funds raised will benefit the animal shelter in town.