To celebrate and honor those who served in the military, a new veterans division will be added to the 54th Annual Schenectady Holiday Parade lineup.

The Schenectady County Legislature announced the new division Wednesday during a ceremony at the city’s Veterans Park. This year’s parade is on Nov. 18.

“In addition to celebrating the New York spirit, this parade will hold a special place in our hearts as we come together to honor our veterans,” said Stacey Barss, leader in Field Marketing at MVP Health Care. “These brave men and women have selflessly served our nation, defending our freedoms and values. We are honored to lift them up this holiday parade and recognize their dedication.” 

Veterans will be able to walk or ride along the parade route, transported by CDTA and MVP Health Care who will be providing trolley transportation to those who request it. 

PETER R. BARBER Grand Marshall of this year’s 54th Annual Holiday Parade Col. Chris Sander, United States Air Force, center, speaks at a news conference in Veterams Park Wednesday, November 1, 2023. From left are Holly Vellano, Mayor Gary McCarthy, and Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature.

The Capital Region is home to more than 68,000 veterans, with over 8,200 living in Schenectady County.

“The new veterans division in the parade this year will hold a position of honor, directly behind the 109th Airlift Wing to recognize all those who have served our country so admirably,” said Holly Vellano, a county legislator and Chair of Military Affairs and Veterans Committee. “Too often, many of our veterans are not able to participate in these events unless they are members of veterans organizations. To ensure that everyone who has served in the military will be able to participate, we’re opening this division up to all groups of veterans and individuals.”  

The Nov. 18 parade kicks off at 5 p.m. with each float and participating group demonstrating the theme, “New York State of Mind. The entire 109th Airlift Wing is set to serve as the Grand Marshall as it celebrates 75 years in the county. In addition to the parade, the county is bringing back downtown pre-parade activities from 3 to 5 p.m.

“This iconic event has long been an annual highlight in Schenectady, offering our residents and visitors a wonderful opportunity to come together with family, kick off the holiday season and show their support for our local restaurants and businesses,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said. 

PETER R. BARBER Anthony Jasinski, Chair of Schenectady County Legislature, center, speaks at a news conference for the 54th Annual Holiday Parade with Grand Marshall Col. Chris Sander, United States Air Force, left, Holly Villano, Legislator, Mayor Gary McCarthy, and Cathy Gatta, Deputy Chair in Veterans Park Wednesday, November 1, 2023.

The event is produced under the leadership of the city and county of Schenectady, and in partnership with the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation, The Capital Region Chamber, and Discover Schenectady.

Capital Region residents who have served in the military can sign up to participate in the veterans division at or here