NISKAYUNA: Grand marshal: It's you

In a reprise of sorts for the old Humphrey Bogart movie line, Here's looking at you kid, organizers of the 26th Annual Niska-Day have decided to honor the entire local community as grand marshals of the event's parade. The unusual decision fits in with a larger unity theme that has been adopted by this year's organizing committee, according to Rosemary Pyle, the co-chair of publicity for the event.

"Last year, we had a very big event with the silver anniversary and reaching back to honor those who have organized Niska-Day over the years fit perfectly with it," Pyle said. "But this year the committee wanted to do something different and unique. So as they were discussing possibilities for the year, the Niska-Unity idea came up and the committee decided to go in that direction.

"Once they agreed on the theme, they had to decide on the best way to make it work," added Pyle. "After talking about it, we decided to have a paneled mirror truck for the parade and it will have a banner on it saying 'Here's Looking At You.' The theme is also reflected in the logo that we've adopted for the year."

The largest annual event of its kind in Schenectady County, this year's Niska-Day is set for Saturday, May 19, and includes a large parade that will wind through Van Antwerp Road, Grand Boulevard, Regent Street and Nott Street; children's games; 17 food booths; and a daylong musical program. A well-known local band, The Refrigerators, will highlight the main stage and more than three dozen organizations will distribute material at an information tent as well.

For more than two decades, Niska-Day has drawn crowds in the thousands to the upscale suburban community of Niskayuna. Along with the hard work put in by organizers, Pyle said the crowds are a result of the event's warm and welcoming feeling.

"My husband and I first moved to Niskayuna about four years ago and that's when we went to our first Niska-Day," Pyle said. "It really had a small town feeling that made you want to come back for more.

"That's why I first volunteered to be a part of Niska-Day," she added. "I remembered how that first event felt and I wanted to be a part of helping it continue. I wanted to give something back to the community and helping with Niska-Day is an important way of doing that." ""

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