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Johnstown's holiday parade features new floats, new route

Johnstown's holiday parade features new floats, new route

The 6th annual Classic Image Johnstown Holiday Parade set for Friday evening will feature new floats

The 6th annual Classic Image Johnstown Holiday Parade set for Friday evening will feature new floats and a different parade route from prior years, organizer Karen Coppola said.

Coppola said the new Johnstown High School auditorium building effectively severed the original parade route, which went in a loop starting and ending at Johnstown High School. This year the parade will line up on West Madison Avenue at 7 p.m., march to South Melcher Street, take a right on East Main Street and end on North Chase Street. The route change will for the first time in the parade’s history enable elderly people living in the Wells Nursing Home and the Pineview Commons Home for Adults to conveniently see the parade.

“It will be great to be able to show them because I know they can’t come out at night during the cold,” Coppola said.

The new starting point will also accommodate an increased number of floats and parade participants.

“This is a pretty creative event. We’ve got about 65 different participating groups, so there will be quite a few people,” Coppola said.

The event will feature many corporate sponsors, including The Daily Gazette, marching bands from Johnstown High School and Amsterdam High School, six Capital Region radio stations, numerous nonprofit groups like Reality Check of Fulton & Montgomery Counties and perennial favorites the Kids in Motion Gymnastics team as well as Santa Claus and his volunteer “elves,” who will hand out about 25 bags of candy.

Event organizers ask people not to park their cars on the parade route so as not to interfere with the elves’ candy distribution.

One of the new floats this year will be the Kristy Pollak Train, part of the 10th annual Kristy Pollak Christmas Event in Amsterdam, a benefit that raises money for severely ill and injured children.

Kristy Pollack organizer Dave Falso said the train is new for his charity this year and it will be fun showing the people of Johnstown one of the attractions that will be available at the Kristy Pollak Memorial Park at the corner of Lyon Street and Forest Avenue.

“We built a replica of an old-fashioned train [and] painted it in nifty colors. It’s the engine and coal car attached together, and we pull it around the park, taking up to 18 people along for a ride. We’re going to take it to parades for promotions,” Falso said. “It’s something special we did for the 10-year anniversary. Each year [going forward] we’re going to add a car to the train.”

Falso said the purpose of his event this year is twofold: raising money for 12-year-old Corey Lee Martin, who was paralyzed in a severe car crash, and providing a wonderful holiday event participating children will remember.

Coppola said she grew up in Schenectady and has always remembered her experience with the Schenectady Holiday Parade. She said those holiday memories inspired her to organize the Johnstown Holiday Parade, which also serves a dual purpose — showcasing the talents of the Johnstown High School Marching Band and raising money for extracurricular activities at JHS. She said for the 2007-2008 school year the Johnstown Holiday Parade generated approximately $800 that was donated to different organizations at the school, primarily to help less fortunate students.

To march in the 2008 Johnstown Holiday Parade businesses were required to pay a $25 participation fee. To sponsor one of the parade’s five divisions businesses paid sponsorship fees in a range from $1,000 for the front divisions, $500 and then $250 for divisions toward the rear of the parade.

A complete list of the parade’s participants is available at www.classicimage1.com.

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