the votes for Tulip Fest and Pinkster Fest, principally because
the former subsumed the latter. They’re not quite the same
thing, however; Tulip Fest is Pinkster Fest on steroids. And
we mean that in a good way. From a normal-sized festival,
it has grown into the spring showcase for the city
of Albany. Thousands descend on Washington Park to eat carnival
food, buy cool stuff from vendors and admire the most visible
symbol of Albany’s Dutch heritage, the lovely tulip. Katrillions
of lovely tulips.
help anyone who tries to mess with our damn tulips: After
the great tulip massacre, when some black-hearted fiend decapitated
thousands of the hardy flowers, Washington Park around Tulip
Fest has become as well guarded as the Green Zone in Baghdad.
First Night—oh, how we miss you.
(LarkFest?) is another opportunity for Albany’s “village in
the city,” Center Square, to host a gang of enthusiastic suburbanites
who try the great restaurants, eat more carnival food, buy
more arts & crafts from cool vendors, judge a public art
show and drink a boatload of beer.
there’s Alive at Five, which outgrew its humble beginnings
across from the old train station at Tricentennial Plaza to
become a party-hearty music fest Thursdays in the summer.
one-shot cultural events, nothing tops the 1986 Albany Tricentennial
Celebration, the memory of which is a lasting monument to
the hard work of a lot of people, not the least of which the
late, great Albany Mayor Tom Whalen.
brings us to Saratoga Springs’ annual Dance Flurry festival,
a weekend-plus of family-friendly dance and music that draws
terpsichorean-inclined enthusiasts from all over.
an odd tie for No. 8: the ongoing monthly arts festival 1st
Friday, and the amazing, memorable 1984 visit by presidential
candidate Jesse Jackson to Albany’s Wilborn Temple.
we cherish every memory of the Rock Against Reaganomics concert-rallies
in Washington Park. There were angry political speeches. There
was folk and rock & roll. The late, great Tom Nattell
read poems about the contras. We brought our own beer. In
our innocence, we had no idea that Ronald Reagan was Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ combined,
compared to what Reagan’s vice president’s son would be in
the White House. And the Ironweed premiere was our
moment of Hollywood glory—we were ready for our close-up,
and made the most of it.
respondents ranked up to 10 choices, and points were tallied
as follows: 10 for 1st place, 9 for 2nd, and so on.
First Night (28)
Riverfront Fest (19)
at Five (18)
Tricentenial Celebration (16)
Albany First Friday (10); Jesse Jackson’s campaign appearance
at the Wilborn Temple Church (10)
Tie: Rock Against Reaganomics (9); Ironweed movie premiere