Soldiers Reunion Memorial Service

ROBERT C. REED/HICKORY DAILY RECORD: VFW Post 5305 Cmdr Bobby Pope drapes his cover over his heart during the invocation at the Soldiers Reunion Memorial Service in downton Newton on Thursday morning.

“We Remember” will be the theme of Soldiers Reunion 2019, Catawba County’s historic patriotic festival, when for a week in mid-August its war veterans are honored. The 130th Soldiers Reunion returns to downtown Newton with activities beginning Sunday.

Reunion general chairman is Wayne Dellinger, a former mayor of the city.

Events will include dances, beauty pageants, a cruise of classic vehicles, musical entertainment, athletic events, and a highlight parade focusing on the theme of American patriotism.

Reunion Week will kick off Sunday. Events continue through Thursday, the traditional “third Thursday of August” date that has reigned since the 19th century. The showcase parade will take place that afternoon. Other activities will follow.

About 10,000 people visit downtown Newton throughout the week to take part in the festivities that Newton American Legion Post 16 and the Newton Merchants Association sponsor and organize.

The Soldiers Reunion observance began in the county seat town on July 4, 1889, when Civil War veterans answered a statewide call for recognition of their wartime service and to register for pensions. The gathering, then on Court Square, led to annual veterans’ reunions, starting the popular patriotic event then called Old Soldiers Reunion.

Following are some of the highlights of the festival.

SUNDAY

» Classic Car Display and Cruise from noon to 6 p.m. on Newton’s Courthouse Square. 

MONDAY

» Gospel Music Night at 7:30 p.m. on Newton’s Courthouse Square. 

TUESDAY

» Beach Music Night at 7:30 p.m. on Newton’s Courthouse Square. 

» Street dance from 7-10 p.m. at the south and east sides of Courthouse Square

» Cornhole tournament at 6:30 p.m. at the Newton Recreation Center. The entry fee for each two-person team is $10. Teams must register by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9.  Entry forms are available at the Newton Recreation Center.

WEDNESDAY

» Country Music Night at 7:30 p.m. on Newton’s Courthouse Square. 

» Baby parade at 6 p.m. on Newton’s Courthouse Square.

» Street dance from 7-10 p.m. at the south and east sides of Courthouse Square

» Pet show at 7 p.m. on the Courthouse Square. The deadline to enter is 6:15 p.m. Aug. 14, but early registration is encouraged. Entry forms are available at the Newton Recreation Center. All pets must have proper vaccinations (with tags) to enter. 

THURSDAY

» Reunion Day begins at 9 a.m.

» Memorial service held at 10 a.m.

» Outdoor jazz concert from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

» American Legion fish fry for veterans at 1020 Southwest Blvd. in Newton at noon

» Reunion ceremony at 4 p.m.

» Soldiers Reunion Parade at 5 p.m.

SATURDAY

» 30th Annual Southern Biscuit Soldiers Reunion 5K Run/Walk and One-Mile Fun Run begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Newton Recreation Center. Pre-registration is $20 for the 5K run/walk and $10 for the one-mile fun run, and is open until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14. Late registration runs through 7:30 a.m. on race day for $25 for the 5K and $15 for the one-mile fun run. Registration forms are available at the Newton Recreation Center and participating sponsors.

Participants may also register online. Online registration for the 5K run/walk costs $22.50. Online registration for the one-mile fun run costs $12.50. Online registration runs until midnight Aug. 14 and can be found at www.runsignup.com/race/nc/newton/southernbiscuit5k

SUNDAY

» Soldiers Reunion Annual 30-60-100 Mile Century Bike Ride will be held at the Newton Recreation Center at 8 a.m.

All bicycle rides will be conducted at each rider’s pace, with three ride lengths mapped throughout Catawba County. Each ride offers scenery and hills for cyclists to enjoy. The ride is open to everyone, but riders younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian while participating. 

Preregistration is $20 and will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14. Late registration runs through 7:30 a.m. on ride day for $25.Ride applications are available at Newton City Hall, the Newton Recreation Center and sponsoring locations.

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Emily Willis is a general assignment reporter at the Hickory Daily Record. 

 

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