Shining example

Capital Holiday Lights celebrate 25 years of the Police Athletic League

This year’s Capital Holiday Lights in Washington Park marks a major milestone for PAL.

This year’s Capital Holiday Lights in Washington Park marks a major milestone for PAL.

— When Capital Holiday Lights kicks off in Washington Park this year, it will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Albany Police Athletic League.

On Friday, Nov. 29, the 17th annual Price Chopper Capital Holiday Lights in the park will open at 6 p.m. The Silver & Gold Celebration will commem-orate the 25th anniversary of the Police Athletic League (PAL).

“The average life expectancy for one of these shows is 3 to 5 years,” said Lenny Ricchiuti, a retired police officer who works for PAL. “Washington Park is great because of the contour and terrain. Every turn you take and hill you climb, you see something different, which creates what we call that ‘ooh and ah’ effect for the kids in the back seat.”

This year, there is a new customized LED display from Price Chopper as well as new interactive LED displays at the light house that are choreographed to music. LED lights use less power, which cuts down on costs and is better for the environment.

“A lot of other places that do this are flat so you come in and bam, everything’s right there, which is kind of anticlimactic,” said Ricchiuti.

Price Chopper, PAL and the City of Albany are the main sponsors of the event, with nearly 70 other local businesses, organizations and franchises donating to make the event possible.

All the proceeds go to PAL, which was founded in 1988. PAL created after-school programs to help keep kids off the streets. Albany police officers, volunteers and college interns work together by holding athletic, educational and recreational programs to provide kids with something safe and constructive to do when not in school.

There will be various walk nights this year to benefit local non-profits. One of those walks will be to raise money for The Damien Center, which was destroyed in August by an early-morning fire. There will also be walks for the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society and Out of the Pits, a not-for-profit that rescues and educates the public about pit bulls.

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