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The 56th Labor Day Parade will step off from Main Street at Currituck Road at 10 am, Monday, September 4.
In the 3½ weeks leading up to that morning, the parade committee has a line of march to finish coordinating, fundraising to complete, and other behind-the-scenes tasks that need to be taken care of.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Labor Of Love,” honoring in part Grand Marshal Lee Paulsen and her tireless efforts for FAITH Food Pantry.
Those planning to attend or participate in the parade encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item with them. Donations will be collected that morning, and then delivered to the food pantry.
Judges joining Ms Paulsen on the grandstand this year will include Debbie Cooper, Laura Hewitt, Bruce Landgrebe, Barbara Lesko, Barbara Lynch, and Sue Shpunt.
Three of this year’s four emcees have been confirmed as of this week. Mike Giordano, Susan Lang, and John Voket will handle introductions of each group; a fourth emcee has yet to be named.
Melissa Kopcik, who is coordinating the line of march with Meredith Roland, said parade planning “is moving right along and the excitement is building” as the lineup begins to fall into place. She and other parade committee members have been thrilled, she said, with the number of beloved returning acts as well as some new entries.
“We’re building our lineup,” Ms Kopcik said August 8. “As of now we have approximately 50 participants, and more are coming in daily.”
Of that listing, the parade had 19 musical acts as of Wednesday, including a few new additions.
“We have Simply Swing Band returning,” said Ms Kopcik. “They’re one in particular we’re really excited about. We also have the Sons of Portugal returning.”
An award winning 15-piece steel pan band that performed at last year’s Newtown Arts Festival has also signed on for this year’s parade. Ms Kopcik said being able to enlist The Silver Steel Drum Band “is really exciting.”
Therapy dogs and their handlers are to be featured on one float, she said. The Children’s Adventure Center has also committed to participate, “and they always do a great job,” Ms Kopcik said.
Five groups of Shriners, including clowns, motor patrols, and a pipes and drums group, have also signed up for the parade.
“We do have another new attraction, a brand-new special guest who promises to get everyone up and dancing,” Ms Kopcik said this week, hinting at, but not revealing, someone preparing to make their Newtown debut next month.
While the parade website had originally posted an August 10 deadline, Ms Kopcik said she and Ms Roland will in fact accept applications until Friday, August 18.
“We realize people get busy in the summer,” she said. “We are hoping more groups will join in the festivities the Labor Day Parade has to offer.
There is no fee to participate for schools (including karate/instructional schools and dance studios).
Commercial entrees are asked to make a donation to support the parade. Suggested donation is $200 per vehicle, unless it is part of a creative float.
Groups are limited to three vehicles to represent their organization, and 18-wheel vehicles are not allowed. Groups are also limited to no more than 20 marchers.
As in years past, the Labor Day Parade Committee is asking that participants do not throw candy from moving vehicles.
For performances — which ultimately leads to a slow down along the parade route — groups need to limit their performance time for routines to in front of the grandstand and reviewing stands.
Labor Day Parade President Nick Kopcik said this week that one of the reasons the deadline was set early is that putting the line of march together is “a lot of work.”
“The people who are putting that lineup together have a lot to think about,” he said Monday, August 7. “You can’t just drop a band into an open position, for instance, because then you have all of those musicians competing against each other with their sound. There is a lot to consider when putting groups into the line of march.”
Melissa Kopcik see the parade as an opportunity to gather friends and family for fun and entertainment.
“The Labor Day Parade has been a staple community event for the past 56 years,” she added. “We are very proud of the long-running history of this community event.”
Donations are still being accepted for the big end-of-summer event.
Sponsorships are also still available. According to the parade committee’s Facebook page, major financial support has been received from Newtown Savings Bank, which is again serving as the title sponsor.
Ingersoll Auto of Danbury and Maplewood at Newtown have signed on as platinum sponsors; Newtown Rotary Club is a gold sponsor; and Caraluzzi’s Newtown Market, Newtown Hardware, Newtown Pools, and Newtown Veterinary Specialists have signed on as event sponsors.
Additional groups and organizations have also offered support as flagpole, parade route, and sunshine sponsors. Donations of all sizes are welcome, the committee has emphasized.
Nick Kopcik also mentioned fundraising efforts at the beginning of the week, saying those efforts have been good so far.
“We started late, but we’ve had a lot of good responses from the public,” the parade president also said Monday morning. “I wasn’t aware that we paid for all the bands. I really thought most of these people came to do this.
“Most of the acts that come to town are paid for by the parade,” he added. “The cost is quite substantial to put the parade on.”
Additional information about and updates concerning The 56th Annual Newtown Labor Day Parade can be found on the event’s Facebook page, which Ms Kopcik urges people to check regularly. “We update that more often than the website,” she said.
Details about sponsorships and applications are available on the parade website, newtownctlabordayparade.org. The line of march will be printed in the September 1 issue of The Newtown Bee, and posted online that weekend.