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Flag Day Committee calls on support from local community

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    The Hudson Flag Day Committee is calling for support from local businesses after the committee has struggled to raise money to fund the patriotic celebration in recent years.
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    Onlookers watch as the 2017 Hudson Flag Day Parade makes its way down Warren Street.
May 30, 2018 11:33 pm

HUDSON — The Hudson Flag Day Committee is calling for support from local businesses after the committee has struggled to raise money for the patriotic celebration in recent years.

The Flag Day Committee is hoping to raise $47,000 for this year’s parade, and, as of Tuesday, was $5,000 short of its goal, said committee treasurer Christine Abitabile.

This year the parade is scheduled for June 9.

Formerly run by the Hudson Elks Lodge, Flag Day is no longer organized by a single agency but by 15 community volunteers, Abitabile said.

“The misconception is that the City of Hudson is paying for this parade or that the Hudson Elks Lodge pays for the parade, but after 2014 we became a nonprofit,” Abitabile said.

Last year, the committee thought about canceling the parade because of a lack of funding. The parade is a tradition in Hudson and has been in existence for 22 years.

“We had to use so much of our budget the year before and we didn’t have a starting budget,” Abitabile said. “Raising funds is becoming more and more difficult.”

Most of the money raised by the committee goes into the production of the parade and entertainment at the waterfront, Abitabile said. The fireworks cost roughly $15,000, she said.

Abitabile cited a lack of support from businesses on Warren Street as one reason for the lack of funding.

“Two of the newest members of the committee recently volunteered to walk up and down Warren Street to see what kind of support we could get,” Abitabile said. “Of the 35 businesses, only three of them gave her positive feedback.”

Businesses were largely upset about the mess left behind by paradegoers and a slump in sales as reasons for their lack of support, Abitabile said.

Locals still support the annual tradition, despite the lack of support from local businesses, Abitabile said. The committee held a donation drive collected from water bills this year, which was successful, Abitabile said.

Most businesses Tuesday seemed to be in support of the parade.

Bruno’s, a restaurant at a 227 Warren St., has typically closed its doors on Flag Day for the past seven years so employees can enjoy the festivities.

“I love parades in Hudson,” restaurant’s co-owner Wendy Kenneally said. “I love marching bands and just really enjoy the show they put on.”

Linda Mussmann, a co-founder of Time & Space Ltd. on Columbia Street, said her organization tries to participate in the parade one way or another each year. TSL decided to show its support by making a donation.

“I thought [the donation] was a good opportunity to help and be part of the Flag Day parade and to support it,” Mussmann said. “At a time when things are so divisive and polarized in our nation, coming together for traditions like celebrating our patriotism and the flag are very important.”

Parade Schedule

The day starts at 7th Street Park at 10 a.m. with informational displays, vendors and entertainment featuring the band Southbound, performing from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from noon to 2 p.m.

The Elks Annual Flag Day Ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. and the park activities will continue until 2 p.m., including a Bike Rodeo by Hudson Police. Police bike patrol officers will be on hand to talk about bicycle safety and proper safety equipment.

There will be a small safety course and children can ride their bike or walk through. If a youth needs a helmet, officers will measure them for proper fit and provide a free bicycle helmet, courtesy of Catholic Charities.

The parade steps off at 2 p.m. at Green and State streets and will march down Warren Street, ending at the Amtrak Train Station, 69 S. Front St.

The waterfront will be full of vendors, including food and amusement rides. The Flag Day Awards Ceremony will be at 3:30 p.m.

Rounding out the day of festivities, a fireworks display at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park will begin at 9 p.m.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.