Altamont braces for four events on August 24

ALTAMONT — “It’s like a perfect storm,” said Altamont’s police chief, Todd Pucci.

He wasn’t talking about the weather, though. He was talking about four events that will all take place in the small village of Altamont on the same day — August 24.

The village at the foot of the Helderbergs will see athletes running, constitutionalists protesting, firefighters marching, and motorcyclists riding.

“We’re hoping for the best and getting ready for the worst,” said Pucci, noting all 12 members of the police department will be on duty.

The day will start with a 5K race, part of the inaugural Hilltown Triple Crown, at 9 a.m. The foot race begins and ends at the Bozenkill park, as runners wend their way about the village.

Then, starting at 11 a.m., a rally featuring country music will take place at the Altamont fairgrounds. Organizers initially claimed up to 15,000 people might attend but, Pucci said, that estimate has been scaled back to 4,000 or 4,500.

Freedompalooza is to be the first fund-raising event for the Freedom Coalition, founded by state Assemblyman Bill Nojay, a Republican from western New York, and Tom King, the president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, with an ad-hoc group of what King described as “constitutionalists.”

The event is scheduled to run until 8 p.m., Pucci said.

At 4 p.m., local fire departments will march in the Albany county firefighters’ parade, free to the public. The route is similar to that of Altamont’s Memorial Day parade, involving Grand, Main, and Park streets. (See related story.)

“That’s short and sweet,” said Pucci.

Finally, at 4:30 p.m., a poker-run fund-raiser involving 125 to 200 motorcyclists is slated to end at the American Legion hall in Altamont.

In addition to the 12 members of the Altamont Police Department, Guilderland Police will also help out, Pucci said.

In the 17 years he’s been with the APD, Pucci said, he can’t recall the village having four big events on the same day.

Asked if he anticipated a spike in crime if there is a large crowd at the fairgrounds, Pucci said, “It’s the first time we ever dealt with it; we don’t now what to expect.”

His understanding of the Freedompalooza, Puccii said, is,”It’s sort of a protest, to bring awareness to the voters.”

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