Schenectady

Schenectady Holiday Parade will be held in November, mayor says

Santa and Mrs. Clause in the Schenectady Holiday Parade on State Street in Schenectady on Saturday, November 23, 2019.
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Santa and Mrs. Clause in the Schenectady Holiday Parade on State Street in Schenectady on Saturday, November 23, 2019.

SCHENECTADY – Scrapped last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 52nd Schenectady Holiday Parade is a go for 5 p.m. Nov. 20, on its customary date of the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Mayor Gary McCarthy confirmed Thursday.

“We’re still monitoring the conditions that exist,” McCarthy said in acknowledgment of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

“We’d hoped that the recovery would be better than what it is today, even though, with the higher vaccination rates, generally Schenectady is in pretty good shape,” McCarthy said of the decision to go forward with the parade.

A planning meeting will be held at The Daily Gazette next week or the week after, “trying to just get everything lined up so people can come out and have a good time and enjoy the amenities in downtown Schenectady,” McCarthy said. 

Meanwhile, the pun will be intended concerning this year’s theme of “superheroes – the super in your heroes,” according to Bob O’Leary, vice president of advertising for The Daily Gazette, a major sponsor and organizer.

Parade-goers can attend in costume as one of the former, such as Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman, O’Leary said.

Or they can opt to dress as, say, a firefighter, nurse or first responder “to recognize all of the people who have done great work the last year and a half” of the pandemic, O’Leary said.

“It needs to be fun; it needs to be upbeat,” O’Leary said of its tie-in with the pandemic. “Tens of thousands of people line the streets and watch these members of the community march, play instruments, and it’s just a great event.”

Longtime sponsor Price Chopper/Market 32 will continue in that role. 

“Price Chopper/Market 32’s commitment to this community is well known and sponsoring the Holiday Parade is another great example of how they give back to the community,” O’Leary said.

Mona Golub, vice president of public relations and consumer services for Price Chopper/Market 32, will again serve as the master of ceremonies and announce the parade. 

After delighting parade-goers with a piggybank-themed float in its first appearance in 2019, First New York Federal Credit Union will also assume a role as sponsor, O’Leary said.

The Daily Gazette ends the parade with a marquee float with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
 
Media sponsors WTEN, an ABC affiliate, WXXA-TV and Townsquare Media will help promote the parade. 

People or groups and organizations that want to march are asked to contact Daily Gazette events coordinator Kathleen (Kaci) Palleschi at [email protected]

Usually lasting about two hours, the parade has been branded as the largest evening holiday parade in the Northeast. There were more than 110 entries in the 2019 parade, according to O’Leary.

Merritt Dance Center of Schenectady has been involved since the beginning.

“It’s a big deal for us,” Daily Gazette Editor Miles Reed said. “In my eyes, it’s the best night of the year in Schenectady. Downtown is just packed with thousands of people, especially families with young kids. It’s a magical night where they shut down State Street, all the way through downtown.”
 
In terms of the draw to downtown, the holiday parade is considered the cold-weather counterpart to Schenectady Summer Night, which was also canceled this year because of the pandemic, Reed said.
 
News of going forward with the parade comes after organizers canceled the city’s Little Italy Street Fest that had originally been planned for Saturday. That event, which usually draws 10,000 people to North Jay Street, was called off in light of staffing challenges at businesses that fuel the festival, and a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
 
Brian Lee can be reached at 518-419-9766, [email protected], or @bleeschenectady on Twitter.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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