Lights, Santa, Ugly Sweaters: Ballston Spa Kicks Off Holiday Season

BALLSTON SPA – The holiday season kicked off with lights, Santa and ugly sweaters this weekend in Ballston Spa. Friday night, Milton Avenue was nearly flooded with people for the holiday parade. Sponsored by Ballston Spa National Bank, the Saratoga County Fair, Curtis Lumber and the Adirondack Trust Company and WAM Commercial associates, the parade lasted about an hour and a half and included local businesses, organizations, charities, children’s groups, and several local fire departments sporting more than their usual lights on their trucks.

Five-year-old Lucas DeFabio led the parade as grand marshal with his 2-year old brother Alex, and his elf-costumed parents, Daniel and Tina DeFabio. Lucas suffers from Menkes syndrome, a fatal genetic disorder with which the body does not metabolize copper. “Lukey” as he is known to family, friends and neighbors was escorted down Milton Avenue at the beginning of the parade in a bright red van.

The Union Fire Company Marching Band provided music on the sidewalk while the procession moved down Milton Avenue from South Street to Wiswall Park  where Santa waved from the ladder of a fire truck, after the crowd’s count down from 10,  to turn on the tree’s multi-color lights .

This tree was special to Wiswall Park this year in that it wasn’t simply chopped, but spaded — dug from the ground so it could be replanted through the joint efforts of  Wayne McCormick of Earth Care Plus, a certified arborist of 15 years, and Herb Jackson of Plant a Tree.

“Many people think of tree service simply as tree removal, but Earth Care Plus is turning its focus to tree preservation and environmental recycling,” the BSBPA wrote on their Facebook post about the tree.

The parade coincided with First Friday, when local businesses keep their doors open a little later and featured music, art, free refreshments and other special happening. _MG_9083

The holiday celebration continued Saturday morning with the Second Annual Ugly Sweater 5k and Mile Walk, a benefit for the Gateway House of Peace, a hospice in Ballston Spa. Louis DiNizzo, 31, of Colonie came in first place, with a time of 16:41 and Rosalynn Satterlee, 26, of Chestnut Hill came in first for women with a time of 21:15.

Doug Cassady and Colleen Hadley, both of Ballston Spa, were the winners of the ugly sweater contest. Cassady sported a patterned, yellow sweater a la Bill Cosby, and Hadley’s was crafty creation including flashing lights.

“The roads were clear, everyone liked the course, and we had a great turnout,” said Anna Stanko, who helped to organize the race.

A grand total of 127 runners participated in the event sponsored by Ballston Spa National Bank.

Meanwhile, across town at St. Mary’s gymnasium, children were having breakfast with Santa. Red Dragon Karate, Launching Pad, Capital Region Language Center Carolers and Wild Acres Irish Dancers performed, while Union and Eagle-Matt Lee Fire Companies cooked (and donated) the breakfast and supplies. Children could get their faces painted, take books home, make crafts and even write letters to Santa.  Additional breakfast with Santa event sponsors included McDonald’s of Ballston Spa and Mangino Chevrolet.

“They are so generous,” said Jodi Monaco of the BSBPA and event volunteer. “We are very lucky to have their help.”

Other weekend events included a Holiday Breakfast and Vendor Fair at the Gordon Creek School, a roast beef dinner and bake sale at Ballston Spa United Methodist Church, and holiday open houses and shoppes at local stores.

The weekend is organized annually by the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association.

Did you participate in Ballston Spa’s holiday festivities? To comment, simply log in and comment below. To contact reporter Molly Eadie, email [email protected]

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