Johnstown Holiday parade features Disney theme this year

The Classic Image Johnstown Holiday Parade kicks off at 7 this evening.

Derek Spring loves a parade.

He especially loves the Classic Image Johnstown Holiday Parade, which kicks off at 7 this evening.

Spring, the owner of Market Street Pizza for the last 21 years, said the parade increases business at his 6 S. Market St. shop by at least 25 percent.

“People stop in for some pizza, or sit here with their families. Sometimes they get a slice to go,” he said. “Any downtown event they have is beneficial to my business.”

More than 70 organizations in six divisions will participate in the ninth annual parade. This year’s theme is “Disney and Story Book Characters Come Alive,” with many floats designed to fit the Christmas theme.

Nancy Blanchard, owner of Something Special, 11 W. Main St., said she sometimes sells something during the parade if it is a cold night. “They come in for mittens for their kids. Otherwise we see little effect,” she said.

Spring said downtown has not had an event since a car show this summer. A bike show scheduled later in the summer was canceled because of rain. “It has been several months since the last event and we need something. A parade attracts hundreds of people from all over,” he said.

Blanchard said the “parade itself is put together well. I enjoy watching it.”

The parade’s grand marshals are Ted and Marilyn Leto from Red Carpet Housing. The parade route runs from West Madison near the Wells Nursing Home to South Melcher Street to Main Street, ending at South Chase Street.

Parade organizer Karen Coppola said the vendors and crafters will open booths starting at 1 p.m. today in the Sir William Johnson Park. They will offer food and warm drinks and visitors can preorder wreaths and kissing balls made of balsam. From 5 to 7 p.m. D.J. Ritchie will play Christmas music in the band shell. Elves will distribute 5,000 bags of candy.

“We are hoping that the parade watchers give something back. They can hand in a new unwrapped toy, or make a donation to the [‘Shake Up The Happiness’] parade float,” Coppola said.

The U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program will collect toys and the Make a Wish Foundation, featured on the Kristy Pollak Train, will accept donations.

Coppola said she also is accepting donations. “The parade is still short $1,500 from our goal,” she said. “I have worked almost every weekend to raise funds, but the economy makes it harder and harder to find donors.”

Coppola said the parade, which she organizes mostly by herself, has run short before, “but we were able to pull it through. We have been cooking here and there trying to raise money for the parade.”

This year, she has the help of 10 volunteers. “No one know how much time we put into this,” she said. She handles all the arrangements and absorbs any deficits not covered by donations.

Coppola said she does the parade because “I like to see kids and the community enjoy it. It is a great idea for the community to have this.”

To help raise funds for parade costs, she is selling hot coffee and hot chocolate at a booth during the event. “You buy a mug for $5 and get it filled once with your choice of a hot drink,” she said.

Parade sponsors are The Daily Gazette, Partners Pub, Frontier Communications, Stewart’s Shops, Ruby and Quiri and Pineview Commons.

There will be a bus available to bring parade participants to the start line at the Johnstown Community Center on Prindle Avenue starting at 5:30 p.m.

Coppola asked people to not park cars on the parade route, saying it creates risks for children darting between them and makes it hard for the parade vehicles to maneuver.

Those who want to donate to the parade can write checks payable to Classic Image Johnstown Holiday Parade and either send them to P.O. Box 245, Johnstown, N.Y. 12095, or drop them off at Coppola’s business, Belle Fiori, at 58 E. Main St.

Categories: Schenectady County

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