Crowds, not clouds in Niskayuna

Colvin's husband, Michael, an assistant fire chief for Niskayuna Fire Department's District 1, participates in Niska-Day each year, she said. Her daughters, ages 8 and 6, scampered around her collecting candy from the parade marchers while waving back to people sitting high on the floats or trucks that went by.

The girls would occasionally send out their 13-year-old brother Tyler for the out-of-reach pieces of candy as their grandparents Don and Kay Reed watched from the sidelines in folding chairs under the shade of a nearby tree.

And the bright spring sun continued to shine as the parade drifted by.

"It was perfect; it could not have been better," said chairwomen of Niska-Day publicity Rosemary Pile. "People turned out in fantastic numbers."

Leader estimated that there were between 4,000 and 5,000 people at the event at its peak, and said upwards of 8,000 people attended Niska-Day 2008.

Pile said that organizers were initially worried about moving the event from were it is traditionally held at the high school down the road to nearby Craig Elementary School. The event was moved because of construction taking place at the high school, but Pile said Niska-Day was successful nonetheless. So much in fact, Leader said he expects Craig Elementary to be the event's new home in the future.

"I doubt very seriously that we will return to the high school," said Leader. "They will be doing construction for three years over there."

Leader added that high-end athletic fields with irrigation systems are being installed at the high school and Niska-Day "can do a number on the fields." Parking wasn't an issue, and all of the traffic was gone within 10 minutes after the event ended, he said, which he attributed to the organized and professional work of the Niskayuna police.

"Everyone in the community is so supportive of Niska-Day, without their support we could not put this on," Leader said. "Especially the town and the police it's just a great feeling."

Leader co-chairs the event with his wife, Denise, and said both of them and the Niska-Day committee clocked in hundreds of hours to make the event possible " and it all paid off.

Organizers are looking for community feedback, Leader said, to make the event even better for next year and to hear resident stories of this year's Niska-Day. Comments can be made at the event's Web site, www.niskaday.org. ""

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