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Getting into the Spirit

Johnstown parade kicks off the season

November 21, 2009
By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Mickey Mouse meandered down Main Street in a Mustang on Friday night as bystanders huddled against the chill and cradled cups of hot chocolate.

Heidi and Matthew Blackford were among those who came out to see the seventh annual Johnstown Holiday Parade. They set up chairs for themselves and their 7-year-old son, Benjamin, in front of the Fulton County Courthouse. They said they lived only a stone's throw from the parade route and have been attending ever since Benjamin was 3 years old.

"It's something we do every year, and it's within waking distance," Matthew Blackford said.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan

Above, Gloria Hughes of Mayfield hands out goodies to Keegan Steele, at left, and Trinity Nourse during the Johnstown Holiday Parade on Friday evening.

Benjamin said he likes the lights that illuminate the street.

"My favorite is all the lights and stuff," he said.

Mickey led the parade, which started on Madison Avenue, turned onto Main Street and ended at Chase Street. Antique Fords' drivers honked musical horns, young gymnasts did flips and cartwheels down the street and a pack of huskies strained at the end of their leads.

Children lined the parade route and dove for candy being tossed by parade participants, and squealed and laughed at the puppies being walked in the parade. The scent of hot dogs and hot chocolate drifted through the chilly air.

Gloversville resident Debbie DelCostello said she came to the parade for the first time last year and loved it. She brought her daughter, Natalie, who is 10 years old.

"I came for the lights," Natalie DelCostello said.

Laura Tripp of Canajoharie was watching the parade with the DelCostellos. She said she had never been before, despite working down the street, but she was encouraged to go by DelCostello. Both said the parade is a way to get into the holiday spirit.

"It gets you in the mood for the holidays," Debby DelCostello said.

Nicole Swartz was grilling hot dogs for a line of people 20 deep by the band shell. She said she and Ed Bradt have a business together as vendors at events. The pair had been busy all night, she said.

"Hot chocolate is a favorite," she said.

Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland said she enjoys the parade and was glad this year wasn't absolutely freezing or rainy.

"Personally, I really like parades," she said. "It adds a very festive, warm feeling to our community. It's something especially that families can enjoy."

Kayleigh Karutis can be reached by e-mail at



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