A Middletown tradition that started in 1971 to cheer up a friend who wasn't feeling well has evolved into a community gathering to usher in the New Year by poking fun at current events, celebrities and politicians. See a video and more photos of the 2019 parade with this story.

Border walls and detention cages, the Judge Kavanaugh hearings, legalizing marijuana and "Smokey and the Bandit" tributes to the late Burt Reynolds were among the floats in the 2019 Hummers Parade today, Jan. 1.

The Middletown tradition that started in 1971 as a spoof of the Mummers Parade to cheer up a friend who wasn't feeling well has evolved into a community gathering to usher in the New Year by poking fun at current events, celebrities and politicians.

On a mild, breezy day with a temperature in the mid-50s, a large crowd lined Broad and Main streets to watch the fun.

Jack Schreppler, the parade's "grand marshal for life," said spontaneity is the hallmark of the event.

"If we had registrations and meetings, I think the parade would have died out years ago. I know I would have quit," he said.

Instead, the lighthearted fun has continued for more than 40 years with whoever shows up to be in the parade.

Parents may have to hide their children’s eyes as some floats pass by, though. Sometimes the jokes can be a little politically incorrect, but it's all to put a smile on people's faces as they gather to celebrate the New Year together.