Parade promise swells into Labor Day bonanza

by Judy Stringer

Earlier this year when City Manager Jane Howington told Hudson City Council and residents that the Memorial Day parade would not return following its COVID cancellation in 2020, she alluded to an end-of-summer show.

This weekend the city delivers on that promise with a Labor Day parade … and then some. 

Celebrate Hudson is four days of Hudson-centric activities that include loads of live music, a car show and the expansive “HudsonmART” market featuring local vendors and creatives. The event starts Friday, Sept. 3 with a concert on the Gazebo Green at 6:30 p.m. and culminates with the Celebrate Hudson parade along West Streetsboro and North Main streets on Monday, Sept. 6 at 10 a.m.

“I think it’s just going to be a great way for everyone to get together and really celebrate what we have here,” said city council member Kate Schlademan. “Obviously, we have to try to stay safe and do what we can to think about that aspect of it, but the activities are really fun and designed to appeal to a wide variety of age groups and interests.”

Rhonda Kadish, the city’s special events coordinator, said the Celebrate Hudson activities are outdoors and held in spaces where social distancing will be possible. Tents at HudsonmART, for example, will be placed 6-10 feet apart, she said, rather than right next to one another with periodic fire-break spaces.

The city also recently canceled a planned “Silent Disco” for teens because it would have been difficult to ensure participants maintained social distance in the planned activity space.

“I don’t know if that one will be rescheduled, but I do know that we are taking it out of the Celebrate Hudson lineup for now,” Kadish said.

In the event of rain, she added, concerts will be moved to the open-air First & Main parking structure, which is not indoors.  

Among the weekend activities, Kadish said she is especially excited about HudsonmART, which will showcase roughly 60 participants, ranging from professional artists to amateur crafters, and fan across the downtown greens. Vendors are residents, Hudson business owners or people who sell their wares in Hudson.

“Some of these vendors regularly do art shows or things like farmers markets and some have never displayed their creations before,” she said, adding the intent was to coax covert creatives “out of their basements” and make it a market where everyone felt comfortable participating.

“We didn’t want it to be a juried show, for instance, because that would be intimidating and feel too exclusive,” Kadish said.

HudsonmART will also feature food trucks and make-and-take activities for kids. 

Kadish anticipates the parade will be another highlight. Along with the usual cast of Memorial Day marchers – Scouting groups, service organizations and, of course, the high school marching band – the Celebrate Hudson parade will include a healthy dose of first timers like churches and businesses. 

“I think right now we have to close to 70 different groups or organizations represented, and some of those are multiple-vehicle floats,” she said. “We’ve really encouraged people to be creative and celebratory in their floats, so it should be a very lively event.”

The Sept. 6 parade will follow the Memorial Day parade route but stop at Prospect Street rather than continuing to Markillie Cemetery, according to Kadish.

Hudson centric

A central theme for Celebrate Hudson is local talent and businesses.

Like vendors at HudsonmART, musical acts performing on the Gazebo Green on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings are affiliated with the town in some way. Kadish’s son Lucas Kadish, a New York City-based jazz guitarist and Hudson High School graduate, headlines the first night. ClockTower and Gildersleeve, bands made up of Hudson residents and/or graduates, play Saturday night and both Sunday night bands also have Hudson ties.

And  unlike the Taste of Hudson and other past events designed to draw people from all over the region into Hudson, Celebrate Hudson is meant to encourage residents “to celebrate and connect,” said Schlademan.

“Not that we don’t want people from outside the community to come and visit,” she said. “But at the same time, the focus is really on Hudson itself.” ∞