Date: Fri 09-Jul-1999

Date: Fri 09-Jul-1999

Publication: Bee

Author: KAAREN

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Full Text:

Newtown's Big Parade Has A Bigger Price Tag This Year

(with photo)


Kym Stendahl and Lisa Franze thought planning for this year's Labor Day Parade

would be a breeze. After several years in which they organized the parade with

practically no help, lots of volunteers came forward this year to join the

parade committee.

But this year's effort brought a new wrinkle. Many of the bands that typically

march in the parade have raised their fees, one to more than $1,000.

"We were paying $300 and $400 for bands, as much as $600 for the top bands,

but this year they are asking for as much as $1,200," Kym Stendahl asid. "They

said they had given the Labor Day Parade a break for years but their costs are

rising and they have to charge more."

Among those whose prices have increased significantly are the popular

Connecticut Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps and the Connecticut Firefighters Pipes &

Drums Corps.

"They are just so much in demand now," Lisa Franze said. "The Connecticut

Alumni band went from $600 to $1,200. They used to give us a break because

they had a relationship with the Sandy Hook fire company. They used to have 16

to 20 gigs a year but now they are up to 30 and they have a big Labor Day

picnic of their own."

As of last week the committee had heard from 8 of the 32 bands that are on the

permanent marching list.

"Some have gone up in price by $25 or $50, and most of the rest have gone up

about $100," said committee member Lynda McDow.

"You can't blame them -- there are a lot of costs involved," she said. "Things

like transportation, uniforms, and the cost of repairing and replacing musical


Lisa Franze said a band like the Firefighters Pipes and Drums Corps also

supports a widows and orphans fund. "In the past they gave us a break, but

that's changing as they are invited to other functions where the organizers

are prepared to pay the full fee," she said.

Ms Stendahl said the committee is trying to negotiate the large price

increases down for this year and may look to getting corporate sponsors next

year to offset costs.

In the meantime, the committee hopes that donations this year will cover the

increased costs. In the past, the committee has raised more than $13,000 a

year to pay for the bands and entertainment as well as many other expenses

such as trophies, insurance, printing, and postage associated with the state's

largest Labor Day parade. The bands made up $9,000 to $10,000 of that expense;

this year the cost for bands may be $12,000 to $15,000, Lynda McDow said.

The parade committee, officially known as the Summer Festival Committee, also

is made up of Dale Meier, Cathy Hydeck, Kim Hornby, Cathy Berg and Nancy


Artist David Merrill has been chosen for the honor of grand marshal of this

year's parade.

"David has done such a magnificent job recreating our wondeful town on the

walls of Edmond Town Hall [that] it seems appropriate that this year's theme

be `Newtown, A Picture Perfect Town,'" the committee said in the fund-raising

letter which it sent to all residents in May.

The committee encourages everyone who has not yet responded to the request for

donations to send whatever support they can afford to Newtown Summer Festival,

c/o Fleet Bank, 6 Queen Street, Newtown 06470.