SCHENECTADY Those attending “Wicked” this Saturday at Proctors could be in for a double-feature — a play and a parade.
The “Wicked” matinee audience is expected to be filing out of the theater just before the Gazette Holiday Parade steps off on State Street, its route past the theater.
The evening show audience could come early enough to see the parade, then go to the show.
Both events are expected to bring crowds — and cars — to the downtown area.
Proctors has sent email notices to everyone on their list with tickets that day telling them of possible difficulties finding parking with the parade and State Street closed. There is also a notice on the theater website.
The Chamber of Schenectady County has also asked restaurants that may take reservations to remind patrons of the expected congestion. The chamber’s Gail Hopper said she doesn’t see it as anything the downtown area can’t handle. A confluence of events has popped up from time to time and has worked out, she said.
“It really is a thriving entertainment district,” Hopper said. “We’re ready, willing and able to welcome all the crowds.”
The parade is set to take place between the matinee and evening “Wicked” showings.
The matinee starts at 2 p.m. and is expected to get out at around 4:45 p.m., according to Proctors marketing director Richard Lovrich. The evening show starts at 8 p.m. Each is expected to draw about 2,200 people to the theater.
The parade will begin at Schenectady County Community College at 5 p.m. and run right past Proctors to Lafayette Street.
In addition to “Wicked,” Proctors is also holding its Zombie Feast Film Fest and Zombie Walk on Saturday, with movies running from 11 a.m. to midnight at the GE Theatre.
Lovrich suggested people not take any chances and come out early. There are plenty of things to do downtown once they get there, he said. “It’s better to make a longer evening of it than spend time sitting in traffic.”
As for parking, Hopper suggested that those going to see the parade park away from Proctors. She suggested the Schenectady ARC lot off South Ferry Street, the lot next to KFC, the Amtrak station and the city lot across from Pinhead Susan’s.
The ARC lot and the one next to the KFC Hopper are specifically recommended. “Crowds are less down there, so those are great places for people looking to get in and out quickly.”
There is also the Broadway parking garage, though that may fill up with those attending “Wicked” and the Zombie Feast.
There will be extra police on hand to handle the crowds and making sure everyone stays safe, police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken said. There are generally extra officers on for both events.
“We encourage people to arrive a little early and be patient,” McCracken said, “and prepare for whatever the weather’s going to be.”
Though it may take some extra planning, Hopper said it’s definitely a situation they’re thankful to have.
“It’s great that there’s so much activity downtown.”