For many, Memorial Day weekend kicks off on Saturday morning, when one can reach deep into a dusty box to emerge with a pair of shorts and a T-shirt before greeting the first true summer morning of the year. Those who found themselves along Milton Avenue in Ballston Spa on Saturday, May 24, were treated to another Memorial Weekend standby: a parade.
Area groups converged on Ballston Spa to traverse the section of Route 50 that holds the village's downtown area. Among the participants were those whom the weekend honors: the Ballston Spa American Legion, members of the Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit, the Adirondack Region Korean War Veteran's Association, fire departments and police units.
The parade began with a 21-gun salute courtesy of the American Legion, followed by a somber playing of taps.
Three marching bands were on hand to provide livelier music as the parade got under way. The Ballston High School Marching Band played songs of the nation's military branches, as well as Grand Ole Flag, This is My Country" and "Spirit of America." They also played "God Bless America" along with the Ballston's Union Fire Company No. 2 marching band before the parade began.
The Johnstown School District's "Sir Bills" marching band made the trek to perform "The March Home," based on the Civil War-era tune "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."
Also marching in the parade were groups like the Boy Scouts Troop 1, the Miss Scotties Softball Program and Ballston Spa's St. Mary's School, whose students were providing drum accompaniment to a small adult band.
When the street had cleared and traffic resumed, many onlookers agreed that the parade was a great way to start off the long weekend.
"It was very nice," said Ballston Spa resident Brian Cole, who added that he enjoyed the fact so many children were marching in the parade. "It looked like they were enjoying it as much as everyone else.""