Families and neighbors lined Story Avenue in Niskayuna Saturday morning in the muggy heat, smiling and waving as fire engines, police cars and other vehicles drove by with drivers honking horns and passengers cheering.
It was the 40th annual Niska Day parade. Although the parade only lasted several minutes, neighbors of Old Niskayuna loved that it was back after being canceled last year due to COVID.
This year’s event was smaller in size due to the ongoing pandemic, with no marchers and only a small loop being made around the Old Niskayuna neighborhood, rather than the large hour-long event that normally takes place down Grand Boulevard.
Four-year-old Dean Amiccuci was excited to see the fire trucks, even wearing a plastic firefighter hat he had gotten from one of the firemen just before the parade started.
He said he wants to be a firefighter in Niskayuna when he grows up.
“Police cars!” Connor Daddario exclaimed as his favorite part of the parade.
The two boys were with their families chatting after the parade passed them by.
“It used to be right in front of our house on Union,” said John Amiccuci, Dean’s grandpa.
Dean’s grandma loved that it got the community outside. “It was short, but at least they got to see the beginning.”
“I worked for the schools for 20 years, so I like to see my past students,” said Cathy Amiccuci, Dean’s grandma.
Cathy Amiccuci said a bunch of family and friends were getting together and spending the hot day in the pool.
Further down on Story Avenue, near Regent Street, Leigh Augustine was busy writing Happy Niska Day in chalk on her driveway, before watching the parade.
“Niska Day is such a perfect celebration of what it means to be a community,” Augustine said.
Augustine’s friend Anna Caban brought her children over from Hexam Gardens to watch the parade.
“It’s just a great opportunity to come out and see everyone,” she said.
Augustine said last year she and her family decided to make their own parade, designing a float and marching around the neighborhood.
Families were also still lingering about on Regent Street after the parade wrapped up.
Teresa Pallotolo was watching as her kids ran around and drew with chalk on the sidewalk.
As someone who grew up in Niskayuna, Pallotolo said, Niska Day is always fun. On top of that, the kids get to see people they know driving the fire trucks for District 1.
“Their dad is a firefighter,” Pallotolo said.
A few houses from Pallotolo, Ev Kauffman, Amy Alcaide and a couple others were sitting in lawn chairs and trying to stay cool with some ice cold drinks.
Kauffman said she was glad to see the parade happen again this year, too.
“That was very disappointing last year not having it,” she said.
Alcaide said it was her first time seeing the parade.
“It’s nice to see so many people on the street come out,” she said.
They all said they hoped next year’s event would be even bigger.