New location, same family fun for Niska-Day

There will be a barbecue, rock music, a parade and fireworks.

It's not the Fourth of July yet, but Niska-Day is near. The 27th annual celebration, sponsored by the Niskayuna Community Action Program, the town of Niskayuna and Niskayuna Central Schools, is set for Saturday, May 17.

The day of family fun kicks off at 10 a.m. with a parade that begins on Union Street and ends at St. James Square shopping plaza off Balltown Road. The traditional parade features marching bands, drum units and creative floats.

This year's Niska-Day will be the first ever not to be held at Niskayuna High School, due to construction. All events, rain or shine, will be held at Craig Elementary School.

Niska-Day co-chair Denise Leader said the move down the road to Craig meant being creative and starting fresh.

We've been planning ever since last year's Niska-Day, said Leader, who has co-chaired the event with her husband, Bill, for the past 12 years.

Leader said the 2008 Niska-Day committee consists of 31 members. She said an additional 50 or so volunteers will be on hand during the Saturday event.

Nearly all day, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Niska-Day will feature a host of activities and entertainment.

Face-painting, stilt-walkers, caricatures, a rock-climbing wall, a petting zoo, inflatable bounce houses, crafts and fair-food favorites are among the day's activities. Then, as night falls, those in attendance can enjoy a concert by local favorites The Refrigerators, and a fireworks finale provided by Empire Fireworks. The fireworks display is set for 9:15 p.m.

According to Leader, the spirit and fun of Niska-Day transcends generations and helps bring the community together each year.

"It's a day where you see little babies in strollers and seniors in a wheelchair in the same place," said Leader. "And teenagers love it too."

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