A roughly one-mile stretch of Route 50 was descended upon by flag-waving throngs on the evening of Thursday, June 12, to celebrate the seventh annual Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Flag Day Parade.
The parade is organized and sponsored by the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Business and Professionals Association. Other sponsors included the Town of Ballston, the Ballston Spa National Bank and the BH-BL Teachers Association.
According to Christy Multer, who is on the six-member Flag Day Parade Steering Committee, 75 groups totaling 1,500 participants marched in this year's parade.
The groups included a slew of local businesses, fire and police departments, bands, sports teams, school groups and local dignitaries. There were also floats honoring area veterans.
Nearly all showered the gathered multitudes with an untold bounty of candy, leaving the streets paved with sugar.
The parade was kicked off by a C-130 flyover. Prior to the march, the Burnt Hills Community Melody Makers were providing big band music at the corner of Route 50 and Lakehill Road. Bands marching in the parade were the Excelsior Drum and Bugle Corps, the Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band and members of St. Mary's School of Ballston Spa.
Boy Scout Troop 56 won the parade's first-place title for its multi-tiered float that resembled a tree house. Second place was a tie between Charlton Heights Elementary and BH-BL Administrators, and third place went to the Yellow Ribbons float, which was loaded with military veterans.
The parade was followed by Town of Ballston-funded fireworks at the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School.
Multer extended her thanks to all those who worked behind the scenes to make Flag Day a success for the community.
There are a lot of fire police who are needed to close the roads, and school maintenance and custodial staff to clean up after the fireworks, she said. "A lot of the time, the fire police don't even get to see the parade."
The parade has grown since its inception in 2002. It was originally started during the wave of patriotism that swept the nation after the terrorist attacks of Sept.11, 2001.
Dale Carr, who was observing the festivities from a vantage near the Burnt Hills Highway Department, said that he and his family have been to every single Flag Day Parade.
"The first year was around 10 minutes long, this year was over an hour," he said.
The consensus among the crowd was that the size didn't limit the fun.
"It's one of our favorite events," said Carr.""