For the Cape Women's Resource Fund, the recognition of women's equality is an ongoing necessity that acts as a reminder of a time when women's voices were quiet.
On Aug. 26, the resource fund honored Charlotte Daily, a lifelong resident of Cape May County, at the Women's Equality Day Tea, an event held on the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment for women's suffrage in 1920. It was the 22nd annual Women's Equality Day Tea.
Daily, 82, is better known as "The Parade Lady." Daily organized her first Christmas parade in 1965 in West Cape May after the scheduled parade was cancelled due to rain. She took it into her own hands to organize the parade that year and every year since.
Today, the parade in West Cape May is a holiday tradition, and now stretches for miles through West Cape May into Cape May.
"I think it's so nice that they honored (my mother)," said Daily's daughter, Jeanette Urquhart, of Cape May Court House. "I was in awe. Even nominating her was a wonderful thing. I was thinking, 'How wonderful.' People like my mom are very humble about what they do; they're not going to toot their own horn. She just did what she loved."
Daily organized that 1965 parade in less than a week, with 10 entries and about $45 in donations. Today the parade boasts fire trucks, Mummers, dozens of floats, and bands from local high schools and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Pastor Michael Austin opened the ceremony with a prayer and some words for Daily.
"Some call her friend, some call her Mom, but we all call her the parade lady," he said. "It takes a determined woman to, year after year, take on an event that for many of us would be overwhelming."
Later, Cape May County Freeholder Kristine Gabor spoke about the impact that Daily has had on the lives of women in Cape May County.
"This is a really important day for all of us, especially young women who can follow the example of women before them," she said.
When Daily spoke at the end of the program, she wanted to thank all the people who participated in making the parade what it is today. She said there could not be a parade without participants, and it wouldn't be what it is today without the people.
"You have to be a special person to do and to orchestrate what she did, not using taxpayers' money. She started little and built and built and built. It's amazing that (the parade is funded through) all contributions," Urquhart said. "They can be as far as Washington State. Its unbelievable, the base the parade has."
Urquhart said that while Daily is still involved in the parade, she is not as involved as she used to be. However, she still writes personalized letters to all of the parade entries that tell a story about the holidays. Urquhart said that West Cape May Mayor Pamela M. Kaithern is trying to figure out the logistics of the parade now that Daily is less involved.
"I told Pam, you're going to lose the heart. I don't know if it's going to be the same. It's a nonpaying job that takes a lot of hours. It's ongoing," Urquhart said.
Contact Devin Loring: