It used to be that, outside of a bicentennial celebration in 2002, residents of Malta had to travel to neighboring municipalities to partake in a popular summer tradition: the parade.
But this year the town will be putting on an evening full of festivities including a parade to honor the military with Malta's first Veterans Festival.
The town has long honored the military on an annual basis with a fireworks display that closes Community Day, held in September at Shenantaha Creek Park. But it's been agreed for some time that a separate event would be a better way to acknowledge service members.
"By the end of Community Day, people are usually tired," said the town's parks and recreation director, Audrey Ball, who added that many are too beat to even stick around for the fireworks.
"If we're going to honor our veterans and our military, they should have their own day," she continued.
Thus, planning for the event began. Armed with $17,000 from the town, Malta's Veterans Committee set out in earnest about a month ago.
The Veterans Festival will be held Saturday, June 27, starting with a 1-mile parade from Town Hall to the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, where an evening of festivities will culminate in a fireworks display from Alonzo Fireworks of Mechanicville.
The parade will see veterans organizations from Malta and surrounding communities, police and fire departments, Boy and Girl Scout troops and more marching down Route 9.
"It's going to be a nice, down-home, country style parade, involving as many community organizations as possible," said Bill Snide, chairman of the town's Veterans Committee.
Gerald and Eleanor Winters are to serve as grand marshals of the parade. Both are veterans, and Gerald Winters is serving his final term on the Town Board before retiring from his seat.
The parade step-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. A wreath-laying ceremony at the veterans memorial at Town Hall will precede the parade at 4 p.m., with invocation by the Reverend and Councilman Peter Klotz.