This coming Monday, before throwing steaks on the barbecue, playing a pick-up game of Wiffle ball with the kids, or sinking into the luxury of a shaded hammock, thousands of people will populate Newtown’s center of town for the annual Newtown Labor Day Parade. From Currituck Road to Glover Avenue, around the bend to Queen Street, friends and families will stake out their spots to celebrate one of Newtown’s premiere events. Some, as a matter of fact, will have staked out their piece of real estate on the parade route the day before, trusting, as we do in this town, that chairs will not only not be stolen, but that they will not even be moved out of place.
Clubs and organizations have been working diligently these past several weeks in hopes of their float floating away with the coveted Rooster Award — or one of several other crowning glories of the day.
The parade organizers, many of them diving into this for the first time this year, have also been hard at work soliciting float entries, marchers, and parade sponsors, and seeking private donations to support the bands and entertainment that will make our 56th parade the crowd-pleaser it has been for the previous 55 years.
Everyone who has made the parade a tradition has his or her own favorite: the giant Shriner; the fire trucks; the colorfully clad dancers; the fife and drum corps; the clowns; the Governor’s Second Company Horse Guard; the mini ponies; or the fancy skateboarders. What’s old and what’s new are all part of the celebration that eases us out of summer and into the business of autumn.
What draws the crowd to the midmorning, end-of-summer parade? What causes hundreds of others to rise and shine early on a workday off in order to line up and set off on the march from the head of Main Street to the judge’s stand on Queen Street?
The Newtown Labor Day Parade builds upon a strong sense of community that is unlike that of many towns in the state — and many across the country. Whether a resident with roots in several generations or a family newly planted here, it is a morning that invites bonding and reconnecting. We are a show of unity, cheering on the young and old, politicians, Scouts, firefighters, dancers, singers, and instrumentalists.
We could, like most towns, leave residents completely to their own devices when it comes to the unofficial end of summer. But our parade is one of those many traditions that make us proud to call Newtown home, and a standout among the several other all-encompassing events throughout the year. We measure our local pride in the thousands of steps marched, and the enthusiastic participants, in the parade and populating the sidelines.
Come out, come out, wherever you are: the parade is on its way.