HUDSON — Warren Street was filled with music, chanting and praising on a gray and breezy Saturday afternoon.
The annual Salute to Jesus parade took place in Hudson this weekend, with congregations from all over Columbia County participating. The parade started at 2:30 p.m. with members and guests gathered at 7th Street Park to form the parade line. The parade stepped off at 3 p.m. at the corner of 7th Street and Warren Street.
Marchers paraded down the entire length of Warren Street, finishing at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. Then there was a celebration held at the park from 4-7 p.m.
“This is a parade to lift up Jesus as our savior,” said the Rev. Carl Franson, of Lakeville.
Franson serves the United Methodist churches of Chatham and East Chatham.
“The idea is to get people from all Christian faiths together,” he added.
There were nine active and participating congregations involved in the parade, according to member Kim Singletary.
“There are a collaboration and collective of churches from around the county,” said Singletary.
The parade also involved people marching, with banners created by Rejoice Ministry of Schenectady, an LMTV, which is a retired military vehicle, and also a rented float from the city of Hudson. The float resembled an old wooden pioneer ship. There was also a gospel band that played music in the bed of the military truck.
“Today’s Jesus’s big day,” Jennifer Stewart, of Hudson, said.
Stewart has attended the festival for the past three years. She said she makes sure she is off work, so she can attend each year.
There was a police escort preceding the marchers as they stepped off. Warren Street was not closed to traffic for the parade, and drivers, buses, pedestrians and store owners stopped to watch the parade go by, all with different opinions on it.
“It is one of the more interesting ones,” Scott Neven, owner of Neven and Neven Moderne on Warren Street, said.
Neven has owned the store for 32 years and said he has seen a lot of parades on Warren Street, even dating back to his first business in 1987, Hudson Photographic, which was also on Warren Street.
“You get used to it,” he said of parades.
Others had different reactions to the event. One man held up a cardboard sign that said “Myth, think for yourself.” He was not available for comment.
Marchers were enthusiastic about the parade.
“It’s about being a presence,” Iris Waddell, of Chatham, said. Waddell is a retired pastor who helps organize the event each year.
The celebration after the parade, in Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, was open to all who wished to attend. There was live music, a prayer tent, food and resource information available.
“We need to know people and people need to know us,” Waddell said.