NEWTON, NJ – More than 65 groups marched in Newton’s Annual Holiday Parade, Saturday, Nov. 24.
The parade theme was “Winter Wonderland.”
Included were four bands; Newton and Kittatinny High Schools, the Franklin Band (the only town band left in the county and a decades-old tradition in the county), and the band from Christ Community Church.
The queens from each municipality in the county marched, as did politicians, scouts, and other groups. D'Marge Dance Studio did a “Rockette” routine.
In the float contest, the Stillwater Daisy trouop took first prize. Second prize went to Bunnies and Buddies 4-H Club, and third prize to the Sussex County K-9 Frenzy Club.
Nancy Woods, Executive Director of the Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce, which coordinated the parade, said the parade was well-attended by both participants and bystanders.
“People come from all over,” she said.
Woods met visitors from New Hampshire, as well as from other towns in New Jersey.
Just like with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the highlight is the arrival of Santa Claus. In Newton, he arrives on a hook and ladder truck, then holds court in front of the fire museum on Spring Street.
“Santa is Santa, he IS Santa,” Woods said, admitting he is Leo Machata, a retired police officer from Newton. “He’s been doing it for years and he’s great with the kids.”
That was attested to by the queue of children lined up on the sidewalk with their parents.
Woods' co-chair of the parade is Sandy Diglio, president of the chamber, and Town of Newton Mayor. Woods has been with the chamber for six years, and said she tries to make the parade better every year.
This year, the parade coincided with Small Business Saturday, and the chamber was hoping for spillover from the parade. The shops on Spring Street were teeming with shoppers after the parade, including at the Newton Winter Farmers' Market at The Springboard Shoppes.
Hannelie Rheeder, representing Churutabis Farm of Branchville, said business was slower than usual, which she attributed to the parade and the long line for sitting on Santa’s lap. Donald Cooper of Coffee Coop’s in Bridgeville, said his business was about the same as most weeks, possibly because parents were chilly after waiting with their children, and anxious to grab a hot cup of coffee before other shopping. Cooper also sells packages of his gourmet coffee.
People did start to come into the market, and then shoppers went from the farmers' market into the other stores.
Pat and Peggy Kelly of Glenmalure Farm on Beemer Church Road in Branchville were selling grass-fed beef and lamb, as well as free-range pork and chicken. Pat showed off his beef, which reveled no marbling, a characteristic of grass-fed beef. He also explained he has a guard dog to keep predators away from the chickens, so they can be kept free-range.
Lanore Woodruff, an employee of Stone Oven at Apple Ridge Farm, was selling bread and other baked goods.
“We have a full line of chemical-free products,” she said.
Other vendors at the farmers’ market included Danielle Szepi, co-owner of Kittatinny Mountain Farm, which leases land at Fair Acres Farm in Wantage, and Lou Pittinger, also selling grass-fed beef.
Continue to follow The Alternative Press for Sussex County news, as well as news and community information on The Alternative Press of Sussex County’s Facebook Page.