Santa is coming to town

We've all heard of Santa arriving via reindeer-drawn sleigh, but when was the last time you saw Santa come to town atop a fire truck?

This weekend, Dec. 7 to 9, the annual Santa parade and Victorian Holiday Weekend in and around downtown Ballston Spa will feature everything from the small-town, old-fashioned flavor of the holidays to the glitz and excitement of blaring fire trucks with people waving and tossing candy canes onto the sidewalks. Sponsored by the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association (BSBPA), the annual event draws hundreds to the downtown business district for street corner caroling, the high school band playing tunes in Wiswall Park, bake sales with hot chocolate, photos with Santa, a tree festival, a parade and the official lighting of the village tree. Churches will host indoor choral performances and holiday shows, offering a brief respite from the seasonal weather.

If history repeats itself, Friday night's parade will take place in plunging temperatures, so anyone planning to snag a prime sidewalk spot along Milton Avenue should wear double layers of mittens and earmuffs.

The smart people will bring lawn chairs and fleece lap blankets, said village Mayor John Romano. "The town board marches in the parade, so we stay warm by keeping moving."

The very popular Santa parade features holiday floats, musicians, dogs wearing reindeer antlers, the candy-throwing firefighters, vintage cars, and local officials braving the cold wearing business suits. The parade kicks off at about 6:45 p.m. Friday at the former South Street School, now Reserve America, on the northern end of town, proceeding down Milton Avenue (Route 50) onto West High Street, onto Bath Street to Wiswall Park. The village tree will be lit in the park around 8:15 p.m.

"This is an event families have brought their children to every year for as long as they can remember," said BSBPA spokesperson Ellen Mattola. "It wouldn't be the holidays without this event to get people into the spirit early."

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