New London Bicentennial/Park Days 2019

by Abbey Gerveler

The New London Park Days Bicentennial planning committee is gearing up for this year’s historic event. In conjunction with the annual New London Park Days event, the community will also be holding a New London birthday celebration, as the city turns 200 years old this year. The committee, composed of Aldermen Allen Ballard and Marilyn Powell, Ron Leake, Beth Simmons, and New London Mayor Mary Jane White, has planned a tentative schedule of events and folded them into the Park Days schedule creating a four-day event -- May 30th through June 2nd.

Starting on Thursday, May 30 at 5:00 pm, the celebration will officially kick off with a New London Lions Club Fish Fry. The Lion’s Club will charge $5 for a fish meal. Follow your fish meal with dessert as Saints Avenue Bank will help serve ice cream at 6 pm at an Ice Cream Social sponsored by the City of New London. Saints Avenue Bank will be opening their 25-year time capsule and the First Baptist Church will play patriotic music, setting the stage for a period costume contest at 7:00 pm with prizes to be awarded. Judge Mobley will be holding a re-enactment of court cases in the courtroom, upstairs in the courthouse, at 2 p.m. on Saturday. A variety of quilts will also be on display Saturday afternoon. A video compiled by the Bicentennial Committee will be streaming on a TV in the courthouse.

On Friday, May 31, local rock band NOWAKE will take the stage at 5:00 pm preceding country music band Borderline, which will be headlining the event at 9:00 pm.

On Saturday, a 5k Run/Walk will begin at 8:00 am. Runners and walkers can pre-register for the event and pay the $25 fee online at http://www.newlondonparkdays.org. Registration includes a T-shirt. The route has been revamped this year and will start and end at the First Baptist Church.

Kids are invited to come out and play games, do arts and crafts, and win prizes at this year’s kids zone event, themed “Down on the Farm.” The event will run Saturday, June 1st at 9 am– 10:30 am. A corn trailer from POET will also be set up for children to play in throughout New London Park Days.

One of the returning events is a car cruise-in that will be held following the completion of the parade. Door prizes will be given away at 4:00 pm. Also returning are numerous craft booths and a nice selection of food booths.

An old-fashioned pie contest and auction are scheduled for Saturday. The auction will take place on the stage at 2:00, with contestants delivering their pies to Forget Me Not Senior Citizens, located at 412 S Main St., from 9:00 am - 12:00 noon. Judging will begin at noon with results announced prior to the auction.

Live music and entertainment will begin at 5:00 pm on Saturday with The Flood Brothers a Columbia, Missouri band. Seth Wade will return for another year to perform under the beer tent. That 80’s Band will perform at 9:00 pm, going along with the events 80’s theme night.

The Beer Garden will be open Thursday, May 30th from 5:00 pm-11:00 pm; Friday, May 31st from 12pm-12am, and Saturday, June 1st from 12:00 pm-12:00 am.

A class reunion meet-up is scheduled hourly in the Beer Garden on Saturday for area alumni. Members of the classes of the 1960’s and earlier can socialize at 3:00 pm, the 1970’s at 4:00 pm, the 1980’s at 5:00 pm, the 1990’s at 6:00 pm and the classes of 2000 to 2015 at 7:00 pm.

Several traditional events will take place at the event, including a large-scale carnival, which will be in operation Friday, May 31st from 11:00 am-10 pm and Saturday, June 1st from 11:00- 10:00 pm. Wristbands will be available for $20 during the hours of 6p to 10p on Friday and 1p to 5p or 6p to 10p on Saturday.

The annual parade on Main Street will be held on Saturday at 11:00 am with John and Karen Huff acting as the parade’s Grand Marshals. An Honorary Grand Marshal this year is two-year old Asah See. Line-up for the parade is at 10:00 am at the south end of Main Street.

The Mr. Legs contest, in its third year, will take place Saturday, June 1st at 3:00 pm. Men can register to compete from 12:00 pm-2:00 pm for categories like the skinniest legs, the whitest legs, most muscular legs, tannest legs, and the overall Mr. Legs Crown.

The ever-popular baby contest will also be held Saturday at 8:00 am at the Ralls County Courthouse for babies ages 0-6,7-12,13-18,19-24, 25-36 months. Pre-register for $5 at newlondonparkdays.org or the New London City Hall, or for $10 the day of the event. For more information, contact Kara Klise via kklise00@yahoo.com

Wrapping up Park Days on Sunday at 1:00 pm, the Cornhole Tournament will be held and is “back by popular demand” according to the organization’s website. The tournament will be held at Ruth Roy Wright Park one block west of the courthouse on Fourth Street. The cost will be $40 per team, which is payable the day of the contest. Sign in will be at the event’s location at noon. Prizes of $200, $150, $100 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams respectively. Be sure and try your hand at the Long Toss, also held at the Ruth Roy Wright Park during the Cornhole Tournament. New London Fire Department will again have their food stand set up with pork burgers and hotdogs. Entry forms for Cornhole are available online at www.newlondonparkdays.org or by calling Laurie Means at 573-248-9362.
Both the Bicentennial Committee and the New London Park Days Organization have worked many long hours to put together an event that has something for everyone. Join them as they celebrate New London’s birthday!