Date: Fri 09-Jul-1999
Newtown's Big Parade Has A Bigger Price Tag This Year
BY KAAREN VALENTA
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
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 &
"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
"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.