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Monday Morning: Labor Day Parade Will Celebrate All That Is ‘Deeply Rooted In Our Community’



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Judges have received their instructions, approximately 85 groups have registered to be part of the line of march, and spectators can plan to drop off their place-holding chairs on Sunday afternoon along Main Street, Glover Avenue, and the northern section of Main Street.

A longstanding tradition will return on Monday, September 4, when the 2023 Labor Day Parade steps off at 10 am from the corner of Main Street and Currituck Road.

The theme this year is “Deeply Rooted In Our Community.”

The Labor Day Parade Committee conducted its final pre-parade meeting Wednesday, August 30, welcoming this year’s judges and the grand marshal for a formal photo before a final planning session.

Grand Marshal Monsignor Robert Weiss

Monsignor Robert Weiss, pastor of St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, has been tapped to serve as grand marshal of Newtown’s 61st Labor Day Parade.

Parade Participant Chair & Lineup Coordinator Melissa Kopcik says the reach of Weiss, the pastor of St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, goes well beyond the Church Hill Road parish and parochial school he has led for nearly a quarter of a century.

“He does so much for this town, beyond leading the church,” she told The Newtown Bee in June when the Grand Marshal announcement was made. “Everyone knows him, and he’s always helped anyone, regardless of religion or belief. Monsignor is there for everybody and anything, no matter what.”

Newtown Bee readers agreed. Commenting on the website story announcing Weiss’s appointment as Grand Marshal, one reader said that when a person gives their life selflessly to God, “you deserve to be a Grand Marshal. It’s about time we honored those among us who do the Lord’s work every day and not be ‘politically correct’ and only choose those among us who are unaffiliated with a church.”

On this newspaper’s Facebook page, many people commented that the decision was a good choice and offered their congratulations.

In her congratulatory comment, Kathy Hamilton said Father Bob — a name generations of people continue to call the faith leader, whether or not they are a member of his parish — is “a gift to our community.”

Weiss has been in the Labor Day Parade every year since his assignment to Newtown, he said in June. A spectacular event that pulls in schools, clubs, organizations and businesses, the parade maintains its focus on all things local while hosting an expanding collection of regional participants.

The monsignor loves it.

“It’s terrific for the town, to see the people come together,” he told The Newtown Bee. “I love the parade. It’s really terrific for the town.”

Weiss, 77, feels the annual event is “a powerful expression” of who and what Newtown is.

“The great memory for me has always been the enthusiasm, as you go down, as you ride the float down the road, and everybody yells out to you,” he said a few months ago.

While he has participated in every Labor Day Parade since his assignment to Newtown in 1999, this will be his finale. Weiss will be retiring in January, having been granted a rare extension by Bishop Frank Caggiano to continue his pastoral leadership and duties for two years beyond his 75th birthday.

(Canon law requires a priest to retire once they reach that milestone birthday.)

The extension allowed Weiss and his parish to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination while he was still actively serving.

He is looking forward to Monday, he said earlier this year, and what his parishioners will put together to celebrate the morning’s theme.

Father Bob will be joined on the Judges’ Grandstand on Queen Street by this year’s judges: Mike Coppola, Eli Hawli, Jeff McKenzie, Angelo Marini, Attorney Ann Ragusa, and Eugene Reelick.

Weiss and the judges will be picking the top participants in 11 categories on Monday, from Best Float, Best Music Entry (senior and junior levels) and Most Patriotic Entry to Best School, Best Fire Company and the coveted Most Crowd Pleasing-Rooster Award, among other categories.

National Anthem, Road Closures

Crowds will have two locations to join the singing of the national anthem. Susan Lang, a Newtown Middle School English/Language Arts educator and member of the band My Dad’s Truck, will lead “The Star-Spangled Banner” from the emcee stand at the Main Street flagpole.

Newtown High School senior — and St Rose School alumni — Alex Kirkman will be staged near the judges’ stand on Queen Street.

Both are returning performers, having also handled the honors last year. They are scheduled to sing at 9:55.

Lang will remain at her location, where she will again join Newtown Bee Editor John Voket as a returning parade emcee there. Emcees at the Queen Street bandstand will be Bill Brimmer and Mike Giarratano.

The parade route will be closed to non-parade traffic by 9:30 am Monday, and will remain closed until at least 12:30 pm or until the final unit — this year, Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company, participating in this parade for the first time — finishes the route.

Line Of March

Following is the 2023 Newtown Labor Day Parade line of march as provided by the Labor Day Parade Committee. Last-minute changes may occur before Monday morning.

NOTE: The Parade Committee is asking fire companies to stage with their apparatus on Mt Pleasant Road. Volunteers will guide companies to their locations.

Escort Division 1

(Staging at 77 Main Street)

Newtown Police Department

Newtown Police Department Honor Guard

Judicial Honor Guard and Services

Newtown High School Marching Band & Guard

St Rose of Lima Assembly 3230, Newtown

Newtown Knights of Columbus Virgilius 185

Grand Marshal Monsignor Robert Weiss

Parade Judges

Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Title Sponsor Newtown Savings Bank

Ingersoll Auto

Maplewood Senior Living

Teamsters Local 1150

St Rose of Lima School

Savings Bank of Danbury

Omaha Beef

Dental Associates

Newtown Lions Club

Escort Division 2

(Academy Lane)

The Great American Fife & Drum

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal

Selectman Maureen Crick Owen

Second Company Governors Horse Guard

Newtown Democratic Party and those affiliated

Newtown Forward Party and those affiliated

Newtown Republican Party and those affiliated

State and local politicians

Division 1

(Johnny Cake Lane)

Sons of Portugal

Newtown Hook & Ladder Volunteer Fire Co.

“Neil Diamond”

Friends of Newtown Seniors

Miss Connecticut 2023 Gina Carloto, escorted by Jerry Cullen

Miss Connecticut USA Karla Aponte Roque, escorted by REACH Car Club

Miss Connecticut Teen USA Jade Ferdinand, escorted by REACH Car Club

Dance Etc.

The Exceptional Sidekick Therapy Dogs

Newtown United Methodist Church

Families United In Newtown

Luke5Adventures Bethel Chapter

Newtown Strong Therapy Dogs

Newtown VFW Post 308

The 2nd Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery

Reenactment Group

American Legion Post 202 and affiliates

Ashurst School of Irish Dance

Porco Karate Academy

Newtown Babe Ruth 9U Hawks

Division 2

(Currituck Road)

Mattatuck Drum Band

Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company

New Heights Baptist Church

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission

Lathrop School of Dance

FAITH Food Pantry

Dave Rosato rolling billboard

REACH Car Club

Glen Swanson & 1982 Dodge

Jim Paproski & 1931 Ford Model Coupe

Bob Miranti & 1930 Ford

“Elvis Presley”

Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue

Pyramid Shriner Motor Patrol

Fiesta Del Norte

SDSS Martial Arts

Baum Braces

Around Town Team

Division 3

(Martin Street)

Newtown Stage Company

Botsford Fire Rescue

Pyramid Legion of Honor

CT Tiare Polynesian Dance Troupe

EverWonder Children’s Museum

Newtown Centre of Classical Ballet & Voice

Newtown High School Wrestling

Newtown Youth Wrestling

Pyramid Shriner Clowns

Immaculate Heart of Mary Folklore Dance Group

Girl Scouts of Newtown

Newtown Congregational Church

Cub Scout Pack 270

Cub Scout Pack 470

Division 4

(Currituck Road)

Gaelic Highland Pipe Band

Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company #1

“Diana Ross”

Old Glory Days

Newtown Hope on Main Street

Newtown Savings Bank rolling billboard

Newtown Tractors

Connecticut Alumni Senior Drum & Bugle Corps

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company

Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company


Managing Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at shannon@thebee.com.

The 2023 Parade Judges joined Grand Marshal Monsignor Robert E. Weiss for the final pre-parade meeting on Wednesday, August 30. From left are judges Eli Hawli, Michael Coppola, Anne Ragusa, and Eugene Reelick, Monsignor Weiss, and judges Jeff McKenzie, and Angelo Marini. —Bee Photo, Glass
The Labor Day Parade Judges surround their Grand Marshal prior to Wednesday’s pre-parade meeting. From left are committee members Donna Ball, Carissa Costello, Serena Manibanseng, and Bill Brimmer, Grand Marshal Monsignor Robert Weiss, Labor Day Parade President Nick Kopcik, Parade Vice President Melissa Kopcik, and committee member Krystina Pelston. —Bee Photo, Glass
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