The marching bands are off the street, the fire engines have returned to the firehouse, and the costumes are packed away until next year…but the memories will live on!
The Nyack Chamber of Commerce hosted its 27th annual Halloween Parade on Saturday, October 25 in the heart of Nyack. The event, organized by the Chamber and sponsored by leading local merchants, once again broke records for color, creativity and the sheer size of the spectator crowd – estimated at over 25,000.
Three of Rockland County’s top bands set the beat, including the Nyack High School, Clarkstown South High School and the Clarkstown North High School marching bands. Additional parade highlights included Hudson Valley Harley Riders, Hudson Vagabond Puppets and local fire departments showing off their best equipment, plus a reprise of Therese Shorn’s “Festival of Ghouls” — 15-foot tall puppets worked by Nyack’s own Amazing Grace CIRCUS!
With $2,200 in prize money on the table, contest entries for both floats and costumes were more inventive than ever.
The Nyack Boat Club led the 10 float entries, taking home a $750 first place cash prize for its float entitled “Eye Lift New York.” Elmwood Playhouse took the $500 second prize with their float “Sunday in the Park With George” — titled for their upcoming production of the Stephen Sondheim musical that will run at the Playhouse in Nyack from November 14 through December 14. “Have a Heart VCS Pride” was the VCS entry that won the $250 third prize.
More than 130 contestants competed in seven costume categories for the $700 in total prizes. Notable among the winners was John Mulgrew, who won first prize in the 18-years-and-older category for his “Scandal in the Wind” costume – an ingenious reinterpretation of the famous Marilyn Monroe dress-on-the-subway grate scene. John, who also won first prize at the 2013 parade, said he came to this year’s event to “defend his title.”
Also notable among the winners in the “best couple” category were “Bag Beauty and Bag Beast” — Nyack boutique owner Maria Luisa teaming up with Bill Batson of Nyack Sketch Log fame and the Farmers’ Market resident artist. Powerfully delivering an important message, their costumes were made entirely of plastic shopping bags — Maria’s gown and hat befitting a southern belle (designed by local fashion artist Emelia Ruyle) and Bill’s monstrous plastic bag mass bearing a sign that read “End the age of the disposable bag. 1 year, 1 shopper, 500 bags.” These costumes were designed to support a broader campaign on this topic. (Go to saynotothebag.com for details.)
Nyack’s own Casa del Sol restaurant and Sweetpea’s market sponsored the float and costume prizes. Oak Beverages, Guinness and Billy Beez provided generous support for the parade as sponsors.
The parade capped an action-packed day of family-friendly activities, which got started at 8:00am with the Saturday Farmers’ Market, also sponsored by the Nyack Chamber. After the Market closed, the Main Street parking lot became a stage for live music provided by Anjel Blue Studios.
The Village added to the morning festivities with its first-ever costume runs for adults and kids — the “Witch Way 5K” and “Boo Run 1K.” Also new this year, author Linda Zimmerman led Nyack’s first-ever “Zombie Apocalypse Crawl” just before the main parade stepped off.
The much-anticipated prize awards ceremony was held after the parade, followed by live music, dancing and after-parties in local restaurants and night spots. Also immediately following the parade, Halloween revelers attended the Nyack Center’s eighth annual “Monster Mash” party featuring music, dancing, dinner buffet — and lots of spooky family fun.
“Hands down, Nyack is the place to be for Halloween festivities,” said Scott Baird, Nyack Chamber President. “You can’t find the creativity, energy, action and sheer fun anywhere else.”