Schenectady County

Grand marshal announced for 53rd Annual Holiday Parade in Schenectady

Madelyn Thorne and Santa at a previous parade

Madelyn Thorne and Santa at a previous parade

SCHENECTADY — Madelyn Thorne, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County, will be the grand marshal of the 53rd Annual Holiday Parade set to step off on Saturday, Nov. 19. 

Schenectady County and city leaders made the announcement Friday morning on News10, a broadcast partner for the parade, which is carrying a theme of “Dream Big” this year. 

“We couldn’t think of anyone more well deserving of the honor,” Schenectady County Legislator Cathay Gatta, chair of the county’s Tourism, Arts & Special Events Committee, said in a statement. “Madelyn’s work in the nonprofit sector through the years speaks volumes to the themes and messages we’re looking to spread [during] this year’s festivities.”

Thorne has an extensive background working with nonprofit organizations throughout Schenectady County, including Friends of the Schenectady County Library and the Upper Union Street Business Improvement District. She has also volunteered with the League of Women Voters, among other organizations. 

City and county officials selected Thorne as grand marshal because she is “someone who embraces the parade’s value of “Dream Big” and has made big contributions to the community,” according to a news release. 

In her role as executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady, Thorne oversees efforts to connect working families with affordable housing throughout fundraising and community partnerships. The organization has provided housing for more than 50 families and has helped repair more than 100 housing units throughout Schenectady County. 

“The parade’s theme this year is ‘Dream Big,’ and how much bigger can you dream than owning a home of your own?” Thorne said in a statement. “I am truly honored to be a part of this amazing Capital Region event, and I very much look forward to the hope this holiday season will bring to the community.”

The Annual Holiday Parade is one of the most popular events the city hosts all year, attracting upwards of 15,000 visitors to the downtown area. It is believed to be one of the largest night parades in the country. 

“This is an incredibly special event each year and we welcome families from all across the region to join us as we kick off the holiday season,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said in a statement. 

While The Daily Gazette Co. is no longer managing the parade, it will be the print media sponsor and will continue to sponsor the final float that carries Santa Claus. 

This year’s parade will be produced by the county and city of Schenectady in partnership with the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp., the Capital Region Chamber and Discover Schenectady. 

The parade’s sponsors include MVP Health Care , with support from Price Chopper/Market32 and CDTA, Best Fitness, Ellis Medicine and National Grid. WTEN and Albany Broadcasting are the parade’s media sponsors, alongside The Daily Gazette.

The 53rd Annual Holiday Parade will begin at 5 p.m. Nov. 19 in downtown Schenectady.

For more information on the parade, visit:

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.  

Categories: News, News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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