SCHENECTADY -- The city's annual holiday parade is getting a new name -- and extra help from The Daily Gazette.
The big march is always held in November, and the evening parade traditionally kicks off the holiday season in the Capital Region.
This fall, people will come to the "Holiday Parade of Lights." The name is partially a salute to the General Electric Co., which celebrates 125 years in business this year. It's also a way to make the 50th anniversary of the party on State Street a bit more special.
"We're looking to play on that and make it a memorable occasion, but also with our ongoing and developing partnerships with other community resources and entities, build on the activities that happen throughout the year in Schenectady," said Mayor Gary McCarthy during a Friday press conference at City Hall.
Daily Gazette Publisher John DeAugustine said the paper is excited about extra involvement in what has long been regarded as one of the city's most popular events.
"We only expect to grow with the parade and bring more people in," DeAugustine said. "One of the things The Gazette is really excited about is the parade really focuses on kids. That's a category that's important to us and we haven't done enough with. So this will be an anchor event for The Daily Gazette. It will allow us to really focus on families, young families and kids. There will be a number of other events surrounding that that you'll see in and around the Schenectady area."
The newspaper's new events department will organize the parade, taking over that job from the Capital Region Chamber.
"That events business is very important to The Daily Gazette," DeAugustine said. "That gives us the horsepower to be able to help the city manage this parade; this parade will become part of that business for us."
The long-range plan includes more events than just the parade. Schenectady events such as the "Summer Night" party on State Street and the October "Wing Walk" are also in the mix.
"There are a number of ongoing festivals and events that are very successful," McCarthy said. "We're looking with The Gazette and other partners to build on to that, to strengthen those ties and continue to market the advantage of being in Schenectady for social aspects, to look at the residential and housing opportunities that exist here and continue to build on the commercial activity that is happening here."
The Daily Gazette has been involved in city programs before. In 2015, the newspaper joined 14 other investors for the "Live-In Schenectady" initiative, which called for $1.5 million to transform vacant buildings and land along Barrett Street in Schenectady into single-family homes.
For the parade project, DeAugustine said The Daily Gazette will be able to "monetize" the event.
"It is our anticipation we will get sponsors for and raise money for the parade and make the parade bigger and better and stronger and draw more people so The Daily Gazette can offset any of its costs and also give money back to the city," he said.
Pre-parade events at the city's Armory on Washington Avenue and at The Daily Gazette on Maxon Road Extension will make the parade a day-long event for families and holiday fans.
Mark N. Eagan, CEO of the Capital Region Chamber, said that, while the chamber will not be organizing the parade, staffers will remain involved.
"To do the parade, it takes a lot of volunteers," Eagan said. "Most of those volunteers are volunteers we help get. We still have all those connections. I see a lot of us still there on the parade, doing the setup, getting the volunteers, helping to execute it.
"While there's still a staff person who coordinates it, it's volunteers that make the event happen. The chamber's still going to be involved in that whole side."
Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at [email protected]