Newcastle Days celebrates 20 years
August 29, 2014
By Christina Corrales-Toy
The city of Newcastle officially turned 20 this year.
While the area is home to a century’s worth of coal-mining history, it was only in 1994 that the city became the Newcastle it is today. There were 7,000 residents in the city at the time of incorporation, a number that has grown to more than 10,400.
And as with any birthday milestone, it’s time for a celebration, and it comes in the form of the city’s annual Newcastle Days festival Sept. 6.
“Really, when you think about it, 20 years isn’t old for even a tree, but there’s been a huge amount of change here in Newcastle in the last 20 years,” said Community Activities Commission Chairwoman Diane Lewis, one of the festival’s organizers.
The event will honor Newcastle’s two decades with a parade at Lake Boren Park. It begins at 10:30 a.m., just before the official festival opening at 11 a.m. It will feature mostly youth groups, such as Boy Scouts, dance troops, school bands, cheerleading squads and drill teams.
The city doesn’t have the resources to do a larger parade, said Newcastle’s Community Activities Liaison Wendy Kirchner, so the route is a simple loop through the park.
Following the parade, event emcee Lance Lambert, of “The Vintage Vehicle Show,” will officially begin the day. Lambert, along with the car show, makes a return to Newcastle Days after sitting out a year.
A small group of Newcastle-based vehicle enthusiasts have worked on planning the car show for months, including resident Ananda Siverts.
“There’s definitely a group of people within the community who are very involved and use the Newcastle show as a way of displaying their passion,” Siverts said.
There is a $15 registration fee on the day of the show, and prizes will be awarded in categories such as Best Pre-50s and 90s and Newer.
While attendees peruse the car lineup, just a stone’s throw a way will be a day full of live entertainment on the park stage.
A jazz quartet, dance groups, and a resident that performed at the city’s inaugural ceremony in 1994 are among the performers.
Headlining the festival for the second straight year is White, the band featuring Yes drummer, and Newcastle resident, Alan White. White takes the stage at 5:30 p.m. just after a teen band opens with a 15-minute David Bowie tribute.
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“He just brings in people from all over,” Lewis said of White. “He’s very good about wanting to come, as long as the dates work.”
The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s Beer and Wine Garden returns, as do several food vendors that appeared last year. The Newcastle Fruit & Produce stand will have a booth selling roasted corn and seasonal berry shortcake, while B & E Meats and Seafood will sell jerky and seasonings, and offer samples.
There are plenty of kid-friendly activities, including a petting zoo, face painting and a free Clowns Unlimited zone, featuring an obstacle course, climbing wall and more.
Weed Warriors will have a booth encouraging residents to learn how to make their yards wildlife-friendly, in a citywide effort to earn National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat Certification.
To obtain the certification, residents must commit to providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise offspring. A healthy habitat can be in a variety of places, including a backyard, a local city space or even an apartment balcony.
Most everything is free, including admission. Food vendors, booths selling things, and the beer and wine garden require payment.
The event is organized by the Community Activities Commission, with support from Kirchner, community members and Mayor Steve Buri.