The 10th annual Johnstown Holiday Parade is a go for Friday night and, more importantly, for next year, as well.
The privately sponsored, donor-supported parade will consist of seven divisions and more than 60 participating groups. It begins at 7 p.m. from West Madison Avenue, near the Wells Nursing Home, and moves along South Melcher Street to Main Street and ends at South Chase Street, a total of 11⁄2 miles.
During the parade, elves will hand out bags of candy to children lining the route. Organizers have prepared 5,000 bags and expect to distribute them all, said parade marshal Karen Coppola.
Last year’s parade drew more than 1,000 people. This year’s theme is “Charlie Brown and Characters” and “Winter Wonderland.” The Daily Gazette is a corporate sponsor.
The evening’s highlight is Santa Claus, who is volunteering time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance, Coppola said. He will be in a sleigh surrounded by reindeer, riding on a float.
This year’s parade will include a mix of private, public and nonprofit organizations, including a myriad of fire companies and their brightly colored apparatus.
Several downtown merchants will be open during the parade, and several vendors will set up shop in Sir William Johnson Park, offering hand-crafted jewelry and hand-knitted gloves. There also will be a vendor selling food in the park. Coppola said the event will be a perfect time to make early holiday gift purchases.
People can also donate food items, clothing and toys to help people affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Coppola said she was contemplating making this parade the last under her supervision. She cited rising expenses to put on the event and the lack of donations to cover costs. Organizers had been paying about $500 worth of parade costs out of pocket for several years. The parade costs about $1,800 to run; the city provides no direct contribution, but does provide fire and police protection during the event.
Coppola said earlier this week she had received about $200 in donations and that she would decide next week whether she would continue the parade next year. On Wednesday, she said she had received enough donations to cover this year’s parade costs and that she would continue the event next year.
“We are a few hundred dollars short of $1,800, but the parade will continue next year. We got some last-minute donations, and we are ecstatic over everybody’s donations,” she said.
Marchers are asked to arrive at the Madison Street assembly point by way of Route 30A around 5 p.m. Also, there will be a shuttle bus running from 5 to 7 p.m. from Chase Street to bring parade participants to the assembly point.
For the safety of participants, organizers are asking all vehicles be off the parade route no later than 6 p.m.
Here is a list of the parade participants as of Wednesday; others may be added later:
Division A: Daily Gazette; flags and color guard; John Tennis Army truck storm aid collection; Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland; Gloversville Mayor Dayton King; Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport; Coppola; Grand Marshal Brown’s Ford of Johnstown; Many Happy Adventures; Glebe Street School; Cub Scout Pack 69; K.I.M. Gymnastics; Army trucks.
Division B: Partner’s Restaurant and Pub; Johnstown music support group; Johnstown High School Jazz Band; Miss Fulton County; Miss Mohawk Valley; Miss Fonda Fair and court; Warren Street School; Candy Land.
Division C: Stewart’s Shops; Fulton County Sheriff’s Office; High Performance Dance; Pleasant Avenue School; Disanto Rose; Royal Mountain campsite; Alpin Haus; Johnstown Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps; Perth Fire Department.
Division D: Shults Agency; Coyote Hills Farms; Fulton Community Church; Kids in Motion; Cheryl Farina; Johnstown Fire Department.
Division E: Ruby and Quiri; Rhythmic Expressions; Lions Club; Sir William Johnson Fire Department; Clara Smith; Mayfield Fire Department; Caroga Lake Fire Department, Rockwood Fire Department.
Division F: Frontier; National Grid; Berkshire Fire Department; Fulton-Montgomery Community College groups.
Division G: Pineview Commons; Fulton County Ambulance; Adirondack Towing; Eaton Trucking; Kristy Pollak Train; Amsterdam Marching Band; Santa Claus.