Laura Haynes The Knickerbocker News
Section: TRICENTENNIAL,  Page: T75

Date: Sunday, July 6, 1986

Start counting: Albany's 300th birthday is just around the corner. And what a party it will be, with festivities extending from morning into the late hours.

Early on the morning of Charter Day, July 22 (which celebrates the signing of the Dongan Charter, founding the city in 1686), the festivities start off with a Hot Air Balloon Launch at dawn at Lincoln Park. More than a dozen balloonists will rise for a day-long spree over the city, providing the weather cooperates.

At 7 a.m. dozens of Albany churches will ring their bells in unison to honor the historical day.

From 9:30 a.m. to noon, a motorcade will meander through the downtown streets featuring distinguished officials and visitors.

Among those in the parade will be Mayor Thomas Whalen and Lewis Swyer riding in a horse-drawn buggy, and officials from worldwide Albanys - including those from New Zealand, W. Australia, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas and Georgia. (Albany, N.Y., incidentally, was the first in the world to bear that name, the Tricentennial Commission points out).

The list of distinguished guests who probably will make the motorcade includes Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Sen. Alphonse D'Amato.

The motorcade will make four stops along its State Street to city hall route. The first stop will be at Quackenbush Square to meet with urban and cultural civic leaders. The second stop will be in Washington Park at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to meet with veterans. The third stop will be at Schuyler Mansion to meet with historians.

At State and Eagle streets, the motorcade will stop for the dedication of the Tricentennial Clock - a historic stand-up street clock donated by Margaret Farrell Lynch. Mayor Whalen and Swyer, chairman of the Tricentennial Commission, will perform the ceremony at approximately 10 a.m.

Following the motorcade will be a choral performance on the State Capitol steps from noon to 12:30 p.m. The Rev. Joyce Giles will lead the free concert.

"Charter Day Celebration," from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Empire State Plaza, will feature music, food and ceremonial performances on various stages at the plaza.

The Main Stage schedule of nine acts includes: Dixieland jazz, 5-5:30 p.m.; gospel, 5:30-6 p.m.; local folk music, 6-6:15 p.m.; jazz/swing, 6:15-7 p.m.; choral music, 7:15 to 7:45 p.m.; and brass ensemble, 7:45-8 p.m.

In between acts at 7 p.m., Mayor Whalen will cut an enormous Albany birthday cake on the Main Stage that will feed about 6,000. The cake will be decorated in the style of cakes from 1686.

Beginning at 7:45 p.m., an invitational procession will begin, in which the Albany mayors, as well as active Albany citizens will be invited on stage.

At 8 p.m., composer Mike Warren will perform the official Tricentennial song he penned, "O, Albany." Following Warren will be a historical pageant and brief play covering Albany's history, including the signing of the charter.

At 9 p.m., a fireworks display and cannon firing will begin at the plaza.