TROY — Downtown will kick off its holiday shopping season Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 12:30 p.m. with a ceremonial flag hoisting and a real black powder cannon blast at Monument Square.
The annual ceremony revives a 19th century Troy custom of hoisting a flag and firing a cannon in the city’s downtown square to welcome the arrival of the first Hudson River steamboat passengers of the season.
Originally a spring ceremony, it is now winter tradition with the same intent, to signify Downtown Troy is open for business, say organizers.
“As we approach the end of celebrating the City of Troy’s bicentennial, we are encouraged by the new resourceful people of Troy who have opened their businesses and restaurants in these historic buildings. They continue the legacy of those men and women who dared to invest in this city on the Hudson 200 years ago,” said Kathy Sheehan, historian of City of Troy, County of Rensselaer and Rensselaer County Historical Society. “Their spirit of enthusiasm and ingenuity will continue to propel Troy in the future as we look forward to the next 200 years!”
Historical reenactors of Schuyler’s (1759) / 2nd Albany (1775) will supply the cannon and black powder blast along the Hudson River at the site of the former City Hall at One Monument Square. The reenactors will be dressed in early 19th Century-era garb in honor of Troy’s famous Samuel “Uncle Sam” Wilson and the 200th anniversary of the city’s founding in 1816.
“Downtown Troy offers a very unique shopping experience with an array of stores for all your holiday needs,” said Katie Hammon, executive director of the Downtown Troy BID. “Not only are you supporting your local retailers while shopping, dining and exploring downtown Troy, you are helping to build the community around you. This historic walkable downtown will be the highlight of your holiday shopping season because shopping in Troy is an experience!”
During the ceremony, Hammon will also unveil this year’s “enjoy troy.” reusable shopping totes for Small Business Saturday, which occurs this Nov. 26.
The shopping bags, which feature the popular “enjoy troy.” symbol, will be available to customers for free at stores throughout downtown Troy this Saturday. Customers using the bags to shop on Saturday will receive discounts at participating downtown retailers during the day.
The bags are screen printed by The Enjoy Troy Co. and community volunteers.
Downtown Troy businesses will have extended hours during the holiday season, starting this Black Friday Troy Night Out and many stores will be open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and on Sundays for the month of December.
– By Duncan Crary