SCHENECTADY — Preparations are underway for the 51st annual Schenectady Holiday Parade.
The theme of this year’s event is “Sugar Rush” and will celebrate everything sweet: Candy Land, gingerbread houses, candy canes, desserts and more.
“It’s going to be a super-sweet parade,” said Bob O’Leary, vice president of advertising for The Daily Gazette, which is presenting the pre-parade festival.
The 2019 parade will be held Saturday, Nov. 23, at 5 p.m. beginning at SUNY Schenectady County Community College and proceeding downtown.
As part of the 51st anniversary of the Capital Region tradition, The Daily Gazette, the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce and the city of Schenectady will come together to kick off the holiday season.
Floats, dancers, bands, vehicles — even parade attendees — will be ready to sparkle and make this Schenectady’s sweetest parade ever.
Mona Golub, vice president of public relations for Price Chopper/Market 32, will serve as the event’s master of ceremonies, as usual.
For this year’s balloon, the supermarket chain has decided on Cookie Monster, who will be accompanied by the real-life scent of chocolate.
“People will be smelling chocolate as Cookie Monster floats down the parade route,” Golub said.
Shane Bargy, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady, has been named grand marshal.
Bargy, a graduate of Mont Pleasant High School and The College of Saint Rose in Albany, has worked in the field of youth development for 25 years.
The Boys & Girls Club’s mission links up with that of sponsor First New York Federal Credit Union, which will be providing on-site literacy programming for young parade-goers.
“This program is the key for financial literacy for our youth,” Bargy said.
Additional sponsors include Price Chopper/Market 32 and Mohawk Honda, which is nearing the end of its year-long 100th anniversary celebration.
Employees this year have contributed 10,000 hours of community volunteerism and the company has donated $100,000 to 10 local charities.
For the second year, a pre-parade street festival will entertain families before the start of the parade.
Beginning at 2 p.m., vendors, face-painters, live music and food trucks will be on the pedestrian area of Jay Street and in front of City Hall to start the parade festivities.
The festival will also feature local YouTube and Instagram star Marissa from Parakeet Slimes. Marissa has over 627,000 followers on Instagram and will be making slime at the festival.
The event, recognized as one of the biggest nighttime parades in the Northeast, is expected to draw 15,000 people.
Mayor Gary McCarthy said the long-running tradition has become a regional attraction.
“There’s a lot of amenities in the city,” he said. “We want everyone to come out and have a great time. This is truly a community event.”