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Holiday tradition continues in Washington Park

During the 14th Annual Hannaford Capital Holiday Lights, the Albany Police Athletic League introduces three special nights that benefit the community during which walkers can stroll a special route of festive lights along Washington Park's lake.

Through the years, we've been asked to allow walkers through the show. For safety reasons, this isn't possible during the regular, drive-through nights, explained Albany PAL Executive Director Sgt. (Ret) Lenny Ricchiuti.

"This year, we'll have three special nights -- before and after the show is open to vehicular traffic. And, each has a special purpose," he said.

On Nov. 23, patrons participated in the "Stuff the Albany Trolley" event to benefit Albany PAL's Annual Toy Drive. The following night, light-lookers were asked to make a cash donation to help the animals at the Mohawk-Hudson Humane Society and the Animal Protective Foundation, as part of the "Pets Walk Your Parents Night" at the lights.

The giving doesn't stop with the holidays, however. On Jan. 3, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., it's time for "PAL Packs the Pantry." A monetary donation will benefit local food pantries on the very final, walk-only night at the show.

"We hope that the community will come out to enjoy the walk around the Washington Park Lake and to help us help those in need," Ricchiuti said.

The 14th Annual Hannaford Capital Holiday Lights is open to vehicles through Jan. 2, with this year's theme, "The Magic of the Season." The spectacle has more than 125 displays and scenes and Santa awaits visitors at the Lake House.

For additional cost, patrons can take in the lights from a carriage or trolley. Thursday through Sunday evenings, horse-drawn carriage rides are available by calling Saratoga Horse and Carriage. Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling Tony at 584-8820. The Albany Trolleys will also be available to charter for outings. To charter the trolleys, call 462-3825.

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