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No Money, No Parade-Parade Fundraising Effort Falls Flat



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No Money, No Parade—

Parade Fundraising Effort Falls Flat

By Kaaren Valenta

The parade marshal has been named. Local churches, schools, and organizations are planning their floats. The bands have been invited. But there is a definite fear among members of the Labor Day Parade Committee that Newtown’s 43rd annual parade won’t be held this year.

“The fundraising has failed miserably so far,” said longtime parade organizer Kym Stendahl. “I’m not sending any confirmation letters to the bands yet. If we don’t start to get donations, we truly will not have a parade.”

So far the parade fund has only collected $2,300, of which $1,300 came from advertising sales for the parade program, according to committee member Brian Amey of Fleet Bank. Last year’s parade cost more than $18,000 to stage.

“Last year at this time we had more than $6,000 collected, so we are a long way back,” Mr Amey said.

Last year the parade brought in only $13,000 in donations so the committee had to make up the $5,000 shortfall from a reserve fund, which is now almost depleted, he said.

For years the committee sent out a fundraising letter. But the cost — nearly $4,000 — ate into the donations. So two years ago The Bee agreed to print weekly donation coupons in the newspaper instead. That worked the first year, but last year donations dwindled, and this year the effort has brought in only a trickle of donations.

“I’m not sure if people are away on vacation, are complacent, or what, but we aren’t getting donations,” Kym Stendal said. “It would be devastating not to have the parade. It is such a part of Newtown.”

Next year the town will be celebrating its tercentennial, and expectations have been to have the biggest parade ever in Newtown. So it would be especially unfortunate if the parade tradition stopped this year, the organizers said.

Ms Stendahl said she’s confident the businesses and people of Newtown will come through.

“I know everybody loves the parade,” she said. “We’re determined to make it happen again.”

Businesses that are interested in advertising in the parade program are urged to contact Nancy Koch at 426-1966.

To make a contribution, send a check made out to “Newtown Labor Day Parade” to Fleet Bank, c/o Brian Amey, 6 Queen Street, Newtown, CT 06470, or use the coupon printed in each week’s Bee.

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