Newtown, like many other small towns in America, holds a Labor Day Parade every year and town residents turn out in droves. Newtown's parade is a big event and many of the town's residents are a part of it. I have been both a spectator and a participant in Newtown' Labor Day Parade.
As a spectator, I lined up on Main Street (one of the streets along the parade route) with the thousands of other town residents. The excitement of waiting for the parade to begin is almost intoxicating. Everyone is meandering toward their parade positions while happily greeting friends and neighbors along the way. As you hear the parade coming down Main Street, the excitement continues to build. All of a sudden, the first group is before you and it's followed by the next group and then the next. An assortment of local firemen, firetrucks, floats, dogs, horses, the high school band, Scout troops, Shriners in their funny cars, Knights of Columbus and others that I've forgotten to mention pass in front of you for a glorious 2+ hours.
While watching the parade, the majority of my time is spent searching for people I know. I watch the parade and wave and cheer for those who are walking in the parade and talk to friends who pass by where I'm seated. I see people that I haven't seen in months and we exchange snippets our lives and what has happened since we last saw one another.
As a parade participant, I have marched twice in the parade - both times with my dog, Riley. We marched in support of Canine Advocates, a local non-profit that is raising money for the town's new dog pound. Riley and I arrived to the line-up location and waited for the parade to begin. Once we begin walking down Main Street, people I know yell out my name and wave to me and I wave back. Riley walks along the roadside on his leash while people of all ages pet him. Some people offer him water and treats. Some people take Riley's photo. Just about everyone tells me how cute Riley his and ask what breed dog he is. The first time we marched in the parade, Riley didn't make it to the finish line - this year, he completed the entire parade route!
Whether I have been a parade spectator or a parade participant, I am always tired when the parade is over. This year, Riley and I went home and took a long nap when we were done.
The next day at the office, the parade is the BIG topic of conversation. We all talk about who we saw at the parade. Some talk of parades in the past and some are already planning for the next parade. Newtown's Labor Day Parade is an event that brings the town together for a few hours of enjoyment. I'm already looking forward to next year's parade.