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Gloversville Christmas parade planned for Saturday

Santa, the Snowman and other figures travel in the Gloversville Christmas parade on Dec. 1, 2018 (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

GLOVERSVILLE — Downtown will be aglow with festive offerings on Saturday when the holiday season is officially ushered into the city with the fifth annual Gloversville Christmas Parade at 7 p.m.

The parade will begin at the corner of North Main Street and Eighth Avenue traveling south on North Main Street and continuing onto South Main Street before ending at the Gloversville Water Department near Forest Street.

The parade was organized again this year by Ryan Lorey of Fulton County Area News and is sponsored by the Glover Insurance Agency.

“We couldn’t do the parade without a sponsor,” Lorey said thanking agency owner Julie Glover for helping secure insurance for the parade this year.

Glover will walk in the parade with Mayor Vincent DeSantis and this year’s grand marshal, 12-year-old Bella Romano of the Romano Acro Dance Academy.

“This a young lady that we’re pretty proud of that’s really been helping a lot with the Salvation Army Christmas Toy Drive,” Lorey said of Romano.

This year’s parade features six divisions packed with a variety of local law enforcement agencies, emergency service personnel, community groups, local businesses and organizations and performers from area dance studios and schools.

New this year, Lorey said each division will be led by a local dance troupe. The Romano Acro Dance Academy will kick off the parade to be the first group to reach the Water Department where dancers will set up toy drive collection boxes to gather donations from parade participants who are each asked to contribute at least one new, unwrapped toy in lieu of an entry fee. Parade participants commonly exceed the donation request.

“Last year we filled about four boxes,” Lorey said. “Those boxes are a pretty good size, for one business to fill one box is a challenge, to get four boxes in one night in an hour is huge for the Salvation Army.”

Additionally, Lorey said that parade-goers are more than welcome to bring toys to donate on Saturday.

“Every toy matters and everything the Salvation Army gets goes to local folks. Obviously it’s a very important program,” Lorey said. “The need is very real.”

The parade will close with an appearance by Santa Clause who will give his reindeer the night off after he accepted an invitation to ride in a Gloversville Fire Department ladder truck.

In the event of unsafe weather, a make-up date for the parade has been set for Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., but Lorey said the weather appears to be shaping up nicely for community members and families to make their way to Main Street on Saturday to enjoy the parade, something he looks forward to making happen each year.

“It’s an honor to be able to do this,” Lorey said. “Christmas for me is the parade and the toy drive, that’s my way that I can give to pretty much everybody.”

To get into the holiday spirit before the parade, the city Recreation Commission on Saturday at 5 p.m. will flip the switch to light up the city’s holiday tree located for the first time this year at Wandel Park at 14 Spring St. which the volunteer group has turned into a “winter wonderland” with lights and decorations for area residents to enjoy throughout the holiday season.

Following the tree lighting ceremony the Gloversville High School and Middle School choirs will perform while visitors enjoy refreshments and meet Santa Clause who will pose for photos taken by guests for free on their own devices before dashing away to appear in the parade.

The tree lighting ceremony will offer local kids a prime opportunity to drop off letters to Santa at the mailbox installed at Wandel Park to make sure their letters make it safely to the North Pole. Letters sent out by Dec. 15 will hear back from Santa who asks that letters include a self addressed stamped envelope to make returning responses a little easier during his busy season.

During the tree lighting festivities the Recreation Commission will also be collecting donations of non-perishable foods for local food banks, as well as dog food and laundry detergent to support the Regional Animal Shelter. Unscented detergent is preferred and Purina One brand food is easily digested by most dogs.

For anyone looking to start their holiday shopping while enjoying the evening downtown, the Glove Theatre will host an indoor holiday market featuring vendors carrying gifts, crafts and other local goods from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

Visitors can warm up with a hot chocolate, coffee or other snacks purchased from the theater’s concession stand while shopping the locally produced goods. Santa will make his final appearance for the night at the Glove, offering kids another opportunity to meet the jolly old elf for a photo.

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