BALLSTON SPA: Bicentennial bash

It's a party the Village of Ballston Spa has waited 200 years to throw. Everyone is invited, and best of all, it's all free.

This year's bicentennial celebration will culminate in a homecoming event, a parade, and a family day of outdoor activities.

First, the village's bicentennial committee is hosting a homecoming gathering on Friday, Aug. 17 at the Factory, the restaurant inside the former Bischoff's chocolate factory at 20 Prospect St., from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be live music, food provided by the Bicentennial Committee and a cash bar.

We're hoping all returning Ballstonians, their friends and family, and really anyone interested in celebrating the 200th birthday of the village will join us, said Frank Griffin, a member of the committee. "It's a chance to see friends, old and new, and help us celebrate. We anticipate seeing lots of former residents returning home for this occasion."

The fun continues on Saturday with the Bicentennial Family Fun Day.

At 3 p.m., the largest parade since 1957 will wind through town. In 1957, lots of onlookers wore hoop skirts, top hats and carryied parasols. Stop by Brookside Museum and take a peek at the black and white pictures in the lobby for a blast from the past.

Organizers are saying this parade may be three hours long, as was the 1957 parade. Most of the groups working on floats have been keeping their plans under wraps.

"There will be a lot of surprises," said Bicentennial Committee chairman John Mancini. "Even committee members don't quite know what to expect."

Jim and Dolores Taisey have set aside space on the balcony of the Medbury Inn and Spa for judges to view the floats and cast their votes for the standouts. Lots of photos will be taken to be included in the time capsule to be sealed up at the end of the bicentennial year.

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