BURNT HILLS – Familiar faces lined up and down Route 50 on Thursday to experience one of the biggest community events Burnt Hills has to offer after a two-year hiatus.
After participants in the Route 50 Mile warmed up the parade route, the horns and sirens began to sound and a crowd that was estimated in the thousands sat on the edge of their seats anxiously awaiting the floats and performances headed their way.
The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Business and Professional Association was thrilled to showcase its most extravagant Flag Day parade to date, which the committee felt was owed to the community.
“At this point we all need some fun events in our lives,” said Rick Reynolds, a chair member of the parade committee. “It’s been a tough couple of years and we need this more this year than ever before.”
Charlie Morris, president of the BHBL BPA, was disappointed when he had to make the decision to cancel the parade last year. Even though it was expected, the committee held out hope and continued planning up until the last month.
It is this devotion and preparation that backs each Burnt Hills Flag Day parade. The committee is unique in a way that its members rarely leave. Reynolds has seen the committee grow from a group of four or five people to nearly 20 that keeps expanding.
Since the town’s first Flag Day parade in 2002, it has served as one of the few big events that brings all its residents together.
“There’s not a lot of events that tie our community together. This is one that really does, where everybody talks to each other, where everybody sees each other, where the atmosphere is festive,” Reynolds said.
Specific members of the community are honored at each parade. This year Gil’s Garage owner Michael Brewster and his family were honored as grand marshals. Over the years, four generations of Brewsters have been honored as loyal residents of the town.
This notalgia is important to Morris, who gets flashbacks of the same scene from when he was a kid. The “The Town of Ballston’s Nostalgia Flag Day Parade” is what he likes to call it.
“It’s about the community. It’s about the people that are lined up and down Route 50 watching this parade, and that’s where my reward is,” Morris said.
Whether residents marched in the parade or sat along the road cheering, both represented the dedication and patronage present in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake community.