Gazette parade kicks off holiday season (with photo gallery, video)

Thousands of people from throughout the Capital Region braved the cold air in downtown Schenectady t

Thousands of people from throughout the Capital Region braved the cold air in downtown Schenectady today for the 43rd Annual Gazette Holiday Parade. The route stretched up State Street from Schenectady County Community College to the MVP building.

The parade began a little after 5 p.m., with representatives of the Schenectady Fire Department leading the way. Their presence included a “Thomas the Tank Engine” float, which is a familiar looking blue engine with a face.

“Kids are crazy for Thomas,” said firefighter Jeff Huth, who came up with the idea because of the parade’s cartoon theme. “Everybody who sees it loves it. We knew we had to go big.”

Firefighter Mike Stanley said firefighters take a lot of pride in the fact they’re leading the parade. “We try to put a good effort together,” he said.

The Schenectady Fire Department was followed by a slew of other fire companies from all over the Capital Region. The Stanford Heights Fire Department had the most enthusiastic firefighters, who were on top of a fire truck and dancing to rock music.

The parade also featured a blown up Smurfette float, which became a challenge for the people towing the ropes lines whenever they were faced with traffic lights. The giant blue mass would have its face pulled down almost to the ground to avoid the wires crossing the street.

The characters from Peanuts were popular choices for participants, with some wearing the classic yellow T-shirts. There was also a manger scene that included Jesus’ parents with Superman, Batman and Venom. The parade also featured people riding by on horses, who were followed a close distance by a man with a shovel and an almost never ending task.

The women from Paul Mitchell salon weren’t the only people to incorporate themes from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” but they were the only ones who had all their participants sporting hairdos that resembled the styles of the Whos.

While the weather for this year’s parade definitely wouldn’t have been considered warm, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, a veteran parade participant, said it was much more comfortable than previous years.

“Historically this is the coldest day of the year,” he joked, adding that he normally wears two sweaters, long johns, two pairs of socks, ear muffs, a heavy overcoat and a scarf. This year, he said, “no earmuffs.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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