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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sign up for Floral Fete, a fun Saratoga 150 event

Is community spirit hokey?
Get out the bicycle, the baby carriage (with or without the baby), and the little old red wagon and sign up to roll your decorated wheels through downtown Saratoga Springs on Aug. 2 in a resurrection of the Floral Fete Promenade, a popular event at the turn of the last century.
The fete (rhymes with bet, like at the racetrack) is one of the major community events planned as part of the months-long celebration of this being the 150th year of thoroughbred racing in Saratoga.
Sign up, decorate your bicycles, wagons and carriages with flowers, and join the 7:30 p.m. stroll from Broadway at Route 50 south to Congress Park, where an ice cream social will be ready and waiting — as well as $1,000 for the most creativity entry and cash prizes ranging from $50 to $150 for a bunch of categories, including best kid’s bike, best adult bike, best wagon, best baby carriage and best contraption on wheels.
Floral Fete planners are looking to fill 100 positions in the promenade asap — men, women and children of all ages are welcome to participate. Learn more and sign up at
Marylou Whitney, who was instrumental in this and previous reincarnations of the floral fete, will lead the promenade, accompanied by flower-laden vintage cars, carriages and floats. But the whole idea is to get you — yes, you — on board.
Whitney and her husband, John Hendrickson, wanted to host a Saratoga 150 event in which the whole community is invited to participate.
So they came up with the floral fete and are inviting the community to an ice cream social at which five flavors of Stewart’s will be dished out while supply lasts. The event will also include live ragtime music, performing children’s groups, and strolling entertainers, will abound. Whitney and Hendrickson are also springing for 150 free carousel rides and a “150th birthday” cake.
The date of the event, Aug. 2, is the eve of the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and the 150th anniversary of the first race in Saratoga.
It’s a big deal. Whitney, Hendrickson, fellow members on the Saratoga 150 Committee and assorted other people are doing their darnedest to rev up community spirit on this occasion. Many local florists have donated flowers for floats and carriages, according to co-chair Maureen Lewi.
No need to get sentimental about the good old days or wring your hands about the future. Get ready for a good old promenade. Get in the spirit. Make a plan, sign up.
This is going to be fun.


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