HUDSON — An idea that began in July 1996 in the office of Hudson businessman Craig Thorn III will mark its 25th anniversary this June.
The Hudson Flag Day Parade and Festival was born from Thorn’s vision of having a large, patriotic parade that would end at the waterfront with food, entertainment and fireworks.
This year’s parade and festival, scheduled for June 12, will be celebrating the past 25 years, Flag Day President Christine Grossman said. A larger, more exciting fireworks display and a patriotic storefront decorating contest for Warren Street merchants are two of the events featured in this year’s festival, Grossman said.
“The Flag Day parade is open to everyone: businesses, residents, youth groups, fire companies, churches, veterans’ organizations. Everyone is welcome to celebrate the American flag and be part of our big day,” Grossman said.
The parade and festival are not limited to Columbia County. Many organizations from Greene County have been part of the parade lineup over the years. Catskill Fire Company, Cairo-Durham Central School Marching Band and the Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Catskill, to name a few.
“We would love to have even more participants from Greene County be a part of this year’s parade,” Grossman said.
COVID-19 guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be followed for the parade and events at the waterfront, Grossman said. There will be 6-foot distance viewing areas for the parade and the waterfront will be spaced out as well, he said.
The cost of staging the annual event runs about $48,000. The event is funded entirely by donations from businesses and individuals.
The Flag Day parade has set up a PayPal account on the group’s website. Donations may be made by going to Hudsonflagday.org. Applications for marchers and vendors are also located on the website, Grossman said.
The Flag Day Committee is always looking for new members. The public is welcome to attend the group’s next meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at Columbia County Sons and Daughters of Italy on Bridge Street in Greenport.
The committee is watching the coronavirus restrictions and if conditions change and the committee has to cancel this year’s event, the decision will be made 30 days prior to June 12, Grossman said.
“Hopefully, things will be back closer to normal when this year’s Flag Day parade steps off at 4 p.m.,” Grossman said.
Editor’s Note: Bill Williams is a member of the Hudson Flag Day Parade and Festival committee.