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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

92nd Annual Rutherford Baby Parade

By Ava Vaccarella

Photo credits: Jess Stiles

The last weekend of June saw many festive events around Rutherford, one of them being the 92nd annual Baby Parade just in time to usher in the Fourth of July.

For the parade, participants were advised to check in at 9:30 am with Janice Guzman and Sandi Maslag from the Rutherford Recreation Department this past Saturday for the celebration’s 10 am start. The procession, consisting of several families, started on Elliot Place in front of Rutherford High School and made its way down Home Avenue, West Passaic, and finally into Lincoln Park for judging.

Waiting for the babies and their families in the park was a small crowd, judges, and several members of the Rutherford Council, including Council President Stephanie McGowan, Councilwomen Maria Begg-Roberson and Christie Del-Rey Cone, and Councilman Ray Guzman. The panel of judges consisted of a variety of committed Rutherford residents, including an alumn of Rutherford High School who graduated in 2012, the First Lady of Rutherford, Perri Nuziato, Board of Education member Diane Jones, Chief John Russo, and This is Rutherford writer and co-founder Jennifer Ersalesi to name a few.

Mayor Nunziato welcomed everyone into the park, where he thanked Lightbridge Academy, who are longtime sponsors of the Baby Parade. Councilman Guzman and Councilwoman Roberson provided commentary as the children circled the park two times before a winner was declared. Just before each contestant looped around Lincoln park, however, residents were asked to rise for the National anthem.

In a similar Patriotic fashion, many of the children in the Parade were decked out in red, white, and blue, or showed their pride for their country in other celebratory ways. Rutherford’s parents displayed their creativity at the parade as well, highlighting their involvement, as well as the excitement that they helped bring to the park this past weekend. Some of the general awards winners were a perfect example of this, as one family created a makeshift sailboat out of cardboard to enhance their theme of a “Sea to Shining Sea” boat with their toddler rowing inside of it. Other general award winners included a Little Miss America, whose carriage was fully decorated with mini flags, red, white, and blue streamers, and sparkles, along with a young child dressed as George Washington crossing the Delaware. A favorite of the day was also two sisters being pushed around in their wagon dressed as the statue of Liberty–an utterly adorable view!

Other winners of the awards were a Spider man baby, a hot air Balloon rider whose carriage was filled with balloons on top, and astronauts. In the meantime, before Rutherford Recreation Director, Pat Bonner, announced the grand prize winner of the day, Councilwoman Roberson and Councilman Guzman distracted participants with corny Fourth of July-themed jokes and fun facts while judges made their decisions.

Although every single member who registered in the 2024 Baby Parade provided much joy and creativity, one winner took home the trophy—a young girl dressed up as Betsy Ross! She wore period clothing and patent shoes as she rode around the path in Lincoln Park on her scooter; her baby sister was also walking with her, dressed as the flag that Betsy had sewed. Not only was this winner adorable, but the originality also made for a patriotic kickoff for the week to come. With another successful year of participants and celebrations, next year’s parade will bring no shortage of happiness and innovation. It will surely put a smile on your face.

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