It seems Hudson is bursting out of its cocoon and finally taking flight on butterfly wings with back-to-back weekend celebrations.

Hot on the heels of last week’s Pride Parade and Festival comes the 26th Annual Hudson Flag Day Parade. Thousands of marchers and spectators are expected to converge on the city Saturday. The celebration includes the region’s most anticipated parade, dozens of vendors, musical entertainment and fireworks.

The parade steps off at 4 p.m., from State and Green streets, proceeds west on Columbia Street, then over Park Place to Warren Street, all the way down to the river. The 4 p.m. start time, which was instituted last year, is working out well for parade organizers. Many youth groups have time for their activities in the morning and enough time to come to Hudson for the parade.

Flag Day organizers have a big afternoon and evening planned for the city and its guests. As of Thursday, the parade had 62 participating groups, but that number was expected to increase before parade time Saturday. Ten musical units will march in the parade this year. The Ghent Band, a parade staple in its early years, is listed in the lineup. The parade also includes a large selection of fire companies, community groups and local businesses.

Five grand marshals were selected for the honor of leading this year’s parade: Tom Haigh is being honored for his military service in the U.S. Navy, and for being a Flag Day Parade committee member for 26 years; Shane Bower is being honored for his military service, and for being Hudson Police Commissioner; Emily Haigh is being honored for her military service in the Air Force, and for her work at the Columbia County Health Department; Sgt. Gregory Leavitt is being honored as the Army recruiter for the Columbia-Greene County area; and William Dunspaugh is being honored for his military service in the U.S. Army and his work with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 Flag Day parade and celebration. The 2021 Hudson Flag Day took place in the shade of all the health and safety guidelines we are familiar with: face masks, social distancing, testing. Last year’s Flag Day celebration comes with an asterisk because the 2020 event — the actual 25th — had to be canceled.

All that is in the past. The Flag Day Parade, like the city that hosts it, is at full strength in 2022. Flag Day is back, bigger and better than ever.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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