A ‘magical’ Niska-Day 37 planned

Merdwin the Magician will be among highlights of Saturday's event; parade kicks off at 10 a.m.
Ashlyn Peterson smiles with her caricature during the 2016 Niska-Day event. This year's event is Saturday.
Ashlyn Peterson smiles with her caricature during the 2016 Niska-Day event. This year's event is Saturday.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

“Magic is in the Air” for Niska-Day 37 on May 19, with a full day of entertainment on tap.

Entertainment committee co-chairs Jay and Rachel Rourke are excited about the day’s activities, from magic to music.

Magician Merdwin the Mediocre will perform on the entertainment tent stage at 1 p.m. and also wander through the crowd on the Craig Elementary School grounds.

“He’s an absolutely great kids’ act to see,” said Jay Rourke. “His act is geared to second grade and under, but the teenagers follow him around.”

Doug Eash, a magician from Vermont, is new this year and magician Mr. Mike will be on hand as well. Both will be wandering through the crowd.

“And then we have face-painters, a caricature artist and balloon artists — they do their magic with the kids,” added Rachel Rourke, chiming in on the “Magic is in the Air” theme.

In addition, there will be a rock-climbing wall, pony rides and petting zoo and photo magnets by The Magnet Man.

New this year is a dunking booth, sponsored by The Warrior Project at Niskayuna High School, a group committed to healthy living and sportsmanship.

“The students are excited because they’ve wanted a dunking booth for a long time,” said Denise Leader, Niska-Day co-chair with her husband, Bill.

“I’m sure they’ll have their favorite targets – teachers and coaches,” Bill Leader added.

The Electric City Horns will head the music lineup, performing from 7 to 9 p.m. Other bands and choirs are featured along with dance troupes.

“It’s a wonderful, truly family oriented event,” said Jay Rourke, who, along with his wife created photo cutouts for the event.

Niska-Day attendees can place their faces in a flying carpet scene or one with a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. “Its a great way to welcome [people] into the event,” said Rachel Rourke.

Maria Krause is also a member of the entertainment committee.

The day begins with the Family Fun Run at Van Antwerp Middle School, with registration at 8 a.m. The popular Niska-Day parade kicks off at 10 a.m from St. Kateri

Tekakwitha Church and makes its way to Niskayuna High School.

Then the magicians, musicians and artists take over throughout the day at the Craig School. Fireworks to wrap things up are scheduled at 9:15 p.m.

The event goes on rain or shine. 

Niska-Day schedule

  • 8 a.m.: Fun Run registration behind Van Antwerp Middle School
  • 10 a.m.: Parade


  • Noon-12:45 p.m.: Niskayuna High School Singers/Merdwin the Mediocre roams the grounds
  • Noon-2 p.m.: Mr. Mike roaming magic/Face painting by Bob Bon
  • Noon-4 p.m.: The Magnet Man/Rock-climbing wall
  • Noon-5 p.m.: Caricatures with Phil Singer/Pony rides and petting zoo
  • 12:45-1 p.m.: Baker School of Dance
  • 1-1:45 p.m.: Merdwin the Mediocre
  • 1-3 p.m.: Balloon animals with Elyse
  • 1:45-2 p.m.: Dance Fire Studio & Fitness
  • 2-2:45 p.m.: Magician Doug Eash/Merdwin the Mediocre roams the grounds
  • 3-3:15 p.m.: Dance Me
  • 3-6 p.m.: Dough Eash roaming magic
  • 3-4:30 p.m.: Chinese Community Center Choir
  • 3:30-4:15 p.m.: The Slacks
  • 5-5:45 p.m.: Forever Young
  • 5-8 p.m.: Premo Designs face painting
  • 6-6:45 p.m.: The Grid
  • 7-9 p.m.: Electric City Horns
  • 9:15 p.m.: Fireworks

Where to park

Parking for Niska-Day is available at the following locations:

  • Medical Arts (Capital Care) adjacent to Craig School.
  • Chinese Fellowship Bible Church at 2530 Balltown Road (adjacent to Medical Arts building).
  • The Soccer Complex off Balltown Road.
  • Care Net (2123 River Road)
  • River Road Animal Hospital (2121 River Road)
  • Behind the new Medical Office building (2125 River Road)
  • Jewish Community Center (2565 Balltown Road).

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