130th Soldiers Reunion still open for entries

Special To The ONE
Staff Writer

NEWTON — It is not too late to submit an entry into the 130th Soldiers Reunion parade or have a booth on The Square on Thursday, Aug. 15.  The theme “We Remember” will be the theme of Soldiers Reunion 2019, Catawba County’s historic patriotic festival.

“We still have room for small businesses, civic groups, horse riders, and churches to be a part of the fun and pay tribute to Catawba County veterans from all wars,” Wayne Dellinger said.

Event organizers have said there are still a few spaces available around the historic 1924 Courthouse and square for vendors and displays for the big day, Thursday, known as Reunion Day. Events begin at around 9 a.m. as artists, craftsmen, local businesses and food vendors set up around The Square. A 10 a.m. memorial service honoring veterans and members of patriotic organizations in the county who have died during the past year, held on the west side of The Square, is followed by a jazz concert running from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The American Legion post hosts a midday fish fry for veterans at its headquarters on Southwest Boulevard.

At 4 p.m. the official Reunion ceremony begins on the west side of The Square, when a guest speaker delivers a keynote address and the beauty pageant winners are introduced.

The anticipated Soldiers Reunion Parade immediately follows the ceremony, with a grand marshal leading the parade on a one-mile route through downtown Newton. The parade attracts 8,000 to 10,000 viewers due to the numerous entries and floats, all of which must have a patriotic theme.

About 10,000 people visit downtown Newton throughout the week to take part in the festivities which Newton American Legion Post 16 and the Newton Merchants Association sponsor and organize.

The Soldiers Reunion observance in Newton is credited as being one of the longest running patriotic celebration in the United States not based on an official holiday. The tradition began in the county seat town on July 4, 1889, when Civil War veterans answered a statewide call for recognition of their wartime service and to register for pensions. The gathering, then on Court Square, led to annual veterans’ reunions, starting the popular patriotic event then called Old Soldiers Reunion.

Now the celebration offers a variety of events for veterans and the county citizens to enjoy, many of which are still centered around the iconic 1924 Courthouse Square.
If your business, civic group, church or club is interested in setting up a display or enter the parade, just contact Eric or Wayne Dellinger at 828 466 2695.