NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The theme of this year's Newtown Labor Day Parade and the last line of the 1939 fantasy film and L. Frank Baum's book are kindred sentiments.
The parade is Monday on Main Street in Newtown. It passes the flagpole, turns on Glover Avenue, then ends on Queen Street in front of Newtown Middle School.
Spectators should find their seats by 9 a.m., organizers recommend.
"There's no place like home" is fitting, said Robin Buchanan, an organizer, recounting the parade's 55-year history.
"This is a hometown parade with local participants. It started with five fire companies and local Rotary Clubs. It represents an amazing community. We have five fire departments and local Rotary Clubs participating this year, like when it started," she said.
The largest Labor Day parade in the region draws most local residents and people from the surrounding communities, Buchanan said.
It's a huge celebration, and locals know to prepare well in advance, she noted.
"People who live in town drive over the night before to set up their lawn chairs. They know how heavy the traffic will be Monday morning," Buchanan noted.
"It's quite a picture to see the chairs lined up along the route. The road shuts down at 9:30 so people need to come really early."
The theme centers on celebrating Newtown and everything that makes it special, Buchanan continued. That includes this year's grand marshal, well-known Dr. Bob Grossman, who has attended every parade since its founding.
Dr. Bob, as he is known by locals, is a longtime member of the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corp s, an organization that has been in town for 75 years, said Buchanan.
The local roads will be closed by the police at 9:30 a.m. and will stay closed until after the parade. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. with the Escort Division led by the Newtown police. It is recommended that spectators find their seats by 9 a.m.
The parade features local fire and rescue organizations, town and other local officials, and scores of groups, from Irish and folklore dancers, to Scouts, Civil Air Patrol members, artillery re-enactors, antique tractors, a beautiful baby contest winner and more. Click here for the complete lineup.
The following roads will be closed at 9:30 a.m.:
- Route 25 (Main Street) North of Johnnie Cake Lane (Mount Pleasant) to Sugar Street (Route 302).
- Glover Avenue.
- Queen Street (between Glover and Church Hill Road).
- Church Hill Road (north of Queen Street)'
- Big Y, Caraluzzi’s Market, Hawley School and St. Rose.
- Per Newtown Police Department, no parking is allowed along the entire parade route or lineup areas. This will be strictly enforced.
- There is no parking on private or town property without written permission. This will be strictly enforced. Your cooperation is much appreciated.
- St. Rose School, 40 Church Hill Road: 8-9:30 a.m.
- Buses available for public transportation as well as parade entrants, available at Hawley Elementary School.
- Pickup will be at St. Rose School (40 Church Hill Road).
Participant drop-off at:
- St. Rose: start and pickup.
- Hawley School: pickup
- Main Street and Currituck.
- Top of Johnny Cake: turn around.
- Flagpole: then back to St. Rose.