BALLSTON SPA: Party ends with a parade

The sun came out to shine on classic cars with no door handles and rumble seats, an 1871 steam engine, and a float made by the town of Ballston with a life-sized model of a log splitter signifying Saratoga County's agricultural history. There was a tank on a flatbed created by U.S. submarine veterans, a U.S. Army 1945 Studebaker Weasel, and red, yellow and blue fire engine trucks lavishly adorned with American flags.

Patriotic music from area drum and bugle corps and high school marching bands filled the air, mixed with the traditional sound of bagpipes from the Galway Gaelic Pipe and Drum corps.

One of the creative entries to the parade was a group from a local veterinary clinic, in which all the employees danced with brooms to the song, "Who let the dogs out?" The VFW Post 358 built an astonishingly lifelike solo plane painted with stars, complete with a pilot waving to the crowd. Church groups sang from floats and nursery school kids threw Tootsie Pops to their friends.

Students from the Red Dragon School of Karate did energetic leaps and kicks along the two-mile route. The local Lions Club collected eyeglasses in a huge recycle bin to donate to people without medical insurance.

In the small town spirit of the village, dubbed the "village of friends," most people marching in the parade called out to friends cheering from the sidewalks.

The parade logged in at about 90 minutes, the village's largest since the 1957 parade celebrating Ballston Spa's sesquintennial year.

"This parade is the result of so much hard work and planning from people in and around Ballston Spa," said bicentennial committee chairman John Mancini. "In some ways, we hate to see it end."

The party didn't end at 3 p.m., but continued with a family fun day at the Saratoga County fairgrounds. Long cleared out of the midway, carnival, displays and food booths from last month's county fair, there were a number of rides free to anyone willing to wait in line. There was a mirrored fun house, a slide, a merry-go-round, and a thrill ride called the Tornado.

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