On Labor Day morning, residents of Newtown and surrounding towns will line the streets to watch the Newtown Labor Day parade. Hundreds will be entertained by music, dancing, riflery and martial arts. Candy will be thrown and that will have the children scrambling. Neighbors also will spend time reconnecting.
For many there is no better way to mark the end of summer than the Newtown Labor Day Parade, which has been marching down the streets of Newtown since 1962. The 2010 theme is "On Stage in Newtown," in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Newtown Town Players.
"For 47 years, Marge Rogers has been a leader and an inspiration for " Beth Caldwell said, of this year's Grand Marshal.
Rogers, who has lived in Newtown for more than 50 years, said she was excited and surprised to be asked to serve in this role. She has marched in many past parades with the children's theater group. This year she will ride in the place of honor in a vintage 1929 Ford Model A, evocative of the Players' first year, 1935.
"I am excited that so many people will be there and part of the Players' 75th year. Recognition by your town is always an honor," Rogers said.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 6 and lasts a couple of hours.
The parade starts at the ambulance garage on Main Street, marches down Main Street, turns at Glover Street and ends on Queen Street.
The parade features floats and marching groups from local businesses, churches, organizations and schools.
Historical and traditional musical groups from here in Newtown, such as the Newtown High School Marching band, are joined by those from other towns, such as Fairfield and New Haven.
Politicians, including Governor M. Jodi Rell, and veterans' groups are always represented. This year's Pioneers and Legends honorees are Alfred Green, a decorated WWII veteran, and the Mattatuck Drum Band. View the complete line-up.
On the periphery of the parade, viewers will find Newtown High School clubs and sports teams selling water and snacks and other items to raise funds for their organizations. Venders offer hats, balloons and other toys on their rolling stands as well.
"It's a homey thing that everyone enjoys," Rogers said.
If you park along the parade route, you have to be there before the roads on the parade route are closed at 9:30 a.m., and you will have to stay put until the roads are reopened at the conclusion of the parade. The Newtown Labor Day Parade website suggests parking at Hawley School, Big Y, St. Rose School, or Lexington Gardens.
Other residents park at the library or have watched the parade from friends' homes on Main Street. Homeowners often hold parties or invite friends to stake their claim to a spot by putting out lawn chairs on their lots the night before.
Some opt to park in locations outside the route, which enables you to walk to and from the parade before or after it starts.
"We spend approximately $20,000 to walk down the streets of Newtown," parade chair Beth Caldwell said.
The bulk of the contributions come from corporate sponsors, with Newtown Savings Bank, Newtown Rotary Club, and Hometown Publishing being the top sponsors this year. Individuals wishing to donate can use the form provided and send a check in.
"After many months of preparation, the Parade Committee is excited to be buttoning up the details and getting ready to put this show on the road. We would like to express our thanks to all those who make the Labor Day Parade so special: from the firefighters and police to the bands, horses, clowns and cheerleaders, to everyone from town who march, line the streets and help make it 'Nicer in Newtown,'" Caldwell said.