Town Crier Bill McKee greets crowd at the start of Newton's 2018 Holiday Parade. (Photo by Shannon Kuratli).
By Shannon Kuratli Newton - Holiday spirit filled the morning air on Spring Street on Saturday as hundreds gathered for the annual Holiday Parade. Low, heavy clouds threatened rain, but held off as families and friends secured places along the parade route in the early in the day, anxious for a good vantage point from which to watch the floats, hear the marching bands, and to see Sussex Counth 4H farm animals, Sussex County Miners fresh off their recent championship win, and to meet Santa Claus. Unfazed by the low temperature, which only reached 32 degrees during parade time, Joey Allison, 12, of Newton, said the cold only adds to the excitement. “It’s supposed to be cold at a Christmas Parade,” he said. “It feels like Christmas is here.” A mainstay of more than 50 years, the parade drew many Newton residents as well as attracting people from all over. The Bodner family, of Mt. Olive, said they would have been there, rain or shine. Wholeheartedly agreeing was Rachael Campbell, originally of Newton, but now a resident of Bayonne. Campbell cradled her small grey dog in her jacket as she explained that she happily drove in from Bayonne because there's nothing like a hometown parade. "I come home for things like this," she said. Her favorite float was The Polar Express, which won Best Float. “It’s the Polar Express,” she said, laughing. "Right here in Newton. This was just a fantastic parade.” Lifelong Newton resident and Vietnam War Veteran Dale Mabee said he wouldn’t miss the parade, no matter what the weather. When asked what draws him each year, Mabee, who served in the United States Army, gazed across the street at the crowd of smiling faces and little children clapping to the music. “Look,” he said. “Look how happy everyone is. It’s a parade. How could anyone not be happy at a parade?”