By Rebecca Webster/Recorder News Staff
The homecoming parade drew hundreds of Amsterdam folk to Lindbergh Avenue Saturday.
And it drew not only students and faculty, but parents, relatives, and just supportive community members.
Dressed in coats and scarves, some with purple and gold glitter on their faces, the spectators waited anxiously for the parade to begin.
One of those people was Mark Zepperi, who was there with Rebecca Lohmeyer and 7-year-old Sierra Green, all Amsterdam residents.
Zepperi said they come every year to the homecoming parade and game, even though he doesn’t know anyone playing or marching,
“We come up anyway because it’s tradition in Amsterdam, a strong tradition,” he said. “In this town, it never matters the weather, it’s a football city.”
As for the game, Zepperi said he wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Waiting with a purple scarf on across the road was Amsterdam High School parent Ellen Roux.
This is her eight year watching one of her children in the homecoming parade. This year it’s her daughter Brittany’s senior year.
Brittany was playing in the band Saturday, just like her older sibling had done for four years and just like her younger sibling will do starting next year, Roux said.
“It’s really important for the community to come out and support the school,” she said. “I mean, there are so many school that are losing so many programs, sports and music.”
It was time for the parade to begin, and an Amsterdam Police Department vehicle, sounding is sirens lead the way through the street, with an Amsterdam Fire Department truck following close behind.
As they passed spectators, they threw candy out their windows, and the kids – and some parents – excitedly snatched them from the ground and either placed them in their pockets or gobbled them up.
Soon the band came done, playing opening music for the big day as the Majorettes danced and the Color Guard showed their skills.
Karen Golden, the homecoming parade Grand Marshall rode in convertible with Homecoming King Patrick Purtell, as Amsterdam High School Principal David Ziskin followed close-by.
After the parade, Golden said she was just delighted to be a special part of the homecoming weekend.
“I was so honored,” she said of being named Grand Marshall.
Golden, now retired, spent 31 years with district, and said she hopes she made an impact.
“This is the greatest honor of my life, but more importantly was they dedicated the yearbook to me yesterday (Friday), and it was chosen by kids. So that was even more of an honor. It just really makes my whole career worthwhile.”
Golden beamed as she talked about the floats and her love of coming to the parade each year.
After other groups came through, the class floats made their way down the parade, each one sounding music from a classic movie or musical.
The freshman class sported a Lion King themed float, followed by the 10th-graders in their Cats-themed vehicle.
Soon the juniors made their way down in a Mary Poppins float, and the seniors rounded out the floats with a Rock of Ages.
The float, which brought many laughs and picture-taking from spectators, was adorned with a full band, working microphones and instruments, and the seniors on the float sang to various classic songs.
After the sports teams walked through the street, many stuck around to watch the band up on the hill by the football field play before the game and check out the floats and little more closely.
Groups of students, wearing everything from their sports jerseys to glitter purple and gold make-up, had smiles ear-to-ear.
Hope Adair, a JV soccer player in 8th grade at Lynch Literacy Academy said she was excited to be waiting in the parade for the third year in a row.
This, she said, is her favorite part of homecoming.
She and her friends hung around as they waited for the game to begin.
Also waiting and taking photos was Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane.
“Really, it’s one of the most wonderful things that we do in Amsterdam because everybody’s here, everybody’s proud, everybody’s happy, everybody’s together,” she said. “It’s small city, big heart for sure.”
Thane said that the homecoming weekend is a big deal for the city.
“It’s so much fun,” she said. “I just eat it up. I love it.”