Posted at: 11/17/2012 11:56 PM
By: Dan Levy
SCHENECTADY - Tens of thousands of people lined State Street in Downtown Schenectady Saturday night for the city's annual Gazette Holiday Parade, billed as the largest nighttime holiday parade in the northeast.
In some areas along State Street, people were standing four and five rows deep, either sitting down on the curb, stretching up on their toes, or else craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the marching bands, the musicians, and the muscle cars, or to peer at the big red fire trucks, all decked out for the occasion.
Craig McDonald of Rotterdam couldn't wait to see his son, a member of the Mohonasen High School Marching Band, especially because of what the parade has come to symbolize.
"I think it signals the beginning of the holiday for most people," McDonald stated, "It let's them know that it's getting near that time, Christmas is coming, and Thanksgiving, and family, friends, all the good stuff."
The theme for this year's parade, the 45th annual, was: Magic and Myths, which was highlighted and illustrated every time one of the colorful floats passed by, but again, the magic was seemingly less tangible and, in a way, more meaningfully imaginary.
"It's just the start of Christmas and I like it," said Annmarie Ammon of Niskayuna, there to see her daughter marching with her dance troop.
"You look down at these lights and it's just awesome," said Sandy Rohloff, of Rotterdam, sporting a battery-operated flashing and moving back-and-forth Santa cap. "It makes me want to go home and decorate for Christmas."
That was the constant. When people see the parade, they see Christmas, or at least they think Christmas.
"I can say the parade definitely got me into Christmas," Confessed Veronica Gallagher of Colonie. "It started the Christmas spirit up."
"It fills everything with more cheer," according to Jenna Savoca of Colonie.
Some people didn't need the parade to get psyched for the season.
"I was in the holiday spirit a week ago," Judy Savoca said.
And for those who think a parade is just for children, Camisha Wright doesn't think so.
"It's for the adults too because I like it too," she said with a bright smile on her face.