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Parade ushers in Christmas cheer


By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

The man of the hour, Santa Claus, headed into the firehouse after the parade to meet with all the good girls and boys of the community. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

RAVENA-COEYMANS — With sirens and Christmas music blaring and hundreds of marchers and spectators, the annual holiday parade “officially” ushered in a season of joy Saturday.

There was a threat of rain all day long and a windstorm that damaged the village’s tent moved part of the festivities indoors, but none of that mattered in the end — the community turned out in force to ring in the holiday season during the annual Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony.

“We try to come every year,” said Selkirk resident Jen Quick. “We missed last year but usually we come. It brings everyone together and that is important.”

The event started at Coeymans Landing Park with marchers lining up Saturday evening and then lighting the town Christmas tree. Then floats and marchers wound their way through the community and up Main Street to light the village tree.

Along the way, spectators lined the streets and cheered them on.

Parade spectators await the start of the event outside the festively decorated Ravena firehouse. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

Brian Margey brought his two granddaughters to watch the festivities.

“This is our first time,” Margey said. “They live with me now in Ravena so I brought them out to have a nice Christmas time.”

Margey’s granddaughters waited with anticipatory glee to see the man of the hour — Santa Claus himself.

“I’m excited to see the parade,” said Pearl Izard, 8. “I’m also excited to see Santa!”

Her sister, 7-year-old Colessia Izard, said the Jolly Ol’ Elf was what she looked forward to the most as well.

“I want to see Santa most of all — he is going to give us presents and we get to open them,” Colessia said. “That’s the best part!”

Santa said he was so happy to see all his friends during the parade and at the afterparty at the firehouse, but that it was time for him to get back to the North Pole to get ready for his biggest night of the year.

“There were a lot of people here in the village of Ravena, NY,” Santa said. “Tonight, after taking many pictures with the boys and girls, it was time to head back to Albany Airport to head back to the North Pole.”

Apparently, the reindeer were too busy to break away from Mrs. Claus and the elves, so Santa found another way to get back home.

Fire trucks from all the local fire companies were all dolled up for the parade. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

For parade organizers, there were challenges leading up to the day of the event.

Originally slated to make a stop at the village tree on Main Street and then head to Mosher Park for a bonfire and other activities, plans were changed a couple of days before the parade because the village’s outdoor tent was damaged in a windstorm, Mayor Bill Misuraca said.

That meant the park was a no-go so the parade ended at the village tree. Afterwards, everyone headed into the Ravena firehouse across the street for pictures with Santa, refreshments and more holiday music.

There were also doubts about the weather — it rained much of the day and it was expected to stop just around when the parade was scheduled to start. But the weather cleared up a couple of hours before the parade’s start and things went off without a hitch.

“A huge thanks to the organizers, participants and community as a whole,” Misuraca said after the festivities. “Even though we were thrown a curveball with not being able to use Mosher Park, we rallied up and made it work. We have many ideas for next year to make it even bigger and better.”

The village’s Christmas tree was brightly lit at the parade’s conclusion. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

For New Baltimore resident Charlie Mohr and his family, this year was their first time at the parade.

“This is the first year we have come,” Mohr said as they waited for the marchers to pass by. “We went to the Coxsackie parade last night and a fellow at work said they have one here in Ravena today, so we came to watch the tree lighting up and see the parade.”

His daughter, Dixie Tice, 8, couldn’t wait for the parade to begin.

“I’m excited to see all the floats go by,” Dixie said.

Coeymans Town Supervisor George McHugh said the annual event means a great deal to the community.

“The parade from the Coeymans Landing to the village of Ravena is a wonderful tradition that we look forward to every year and it’s really what makes our community special,” McHugh said. “You cannot beat the small-town charm you feel as a resident of our town and village. I am looking forward to doing even more community-oriented events and projects between the town and the village next year and in the years to come.”

The parade drew marchers including local businesses, elected officials, community groups like Girl Scouts and churches. A school bus from the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk school district was all dolled up with holiday lights, and a brightly lit float with the championship RCS football team all participated, along with fire trucks, the rescue squad ambulance, police and so many more.

Here are more images from Saturday’s parade:

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