NEWTON — “We Remember,” the theme of the 130th annual Soldiers Reunion patriotic festival, will be carried out by the youngest generation of Catawbans when toddlers and tykes are spotlighted in their own parade on Courthouse Square in Newton on Wednesday, Aug. 14.
The “baby parade,” as the red-white-and-blue lineup of youngsters in their decorated conveyances has been called for several generations, will be staged at 6 p.m. The perennial crowd-pleasing activity will take place on the east side of Courthouse Square and is free and open to the public, for both spectators and participants.
With cute youngsters in miniature floats draped in patriotic regalia, proud relatives cheering from the sidelines, and cash prizes for the most creative entries, the yearly event promises to be a favorite part of the week-long tribute to Catawba County’s war veterans.
Officials of the Reunion festival and the long-time sponsors of the kiddie parade have issued an invitation to all families to participate and to the public to witness the family-oriented event on the College Avenue side of The Square.
For the 29th consecutive year the baby parade is being sponsored by Drum Funeral Homes of Conover and Hickory and Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home of Newton.
The parade-contest is scheduled to take place on the east plaza at the 1924 Courthouse, now the History Museum of Catawba County. The outdoor event will be moved to the Newton Recreation Center’s indoor facilities on South Brady Avenue—a block from The Square—if it should be raining at that time.
There is no fee for entering the competition and no advance registration is required.
There will be four age categories for the tiny participants, with a $25 cash prize to be awarded to the best parade entry in each category. The age groupings are birth to 1 year old; 1 to 2 years old; 2 to 3 years old; and 3 to 4 years old.
Each child (or pair or trio of youngsters if it is a joint family entry of twins or triplets) is to ride in some sort of conveyance: carriage, stroller, wagon, cart, tricycle or other contrived vehicle. The conveyance should be decorated in a style to carry out the patriotic theme of Reunion 2018, and the children may be costumed.
All children in the county in the age groups of the contest are eligible to participate.
Local radio station personality Mike Sherrill will again serve as emcee for the parade, a role he has filled for many years. Judges will select the winning entries.