Extra security, he said, was brought out and police in riot gear engaged a few demonstrators.
"Back then, they just hit them over the head," Anderson said. "You can't do that now."
Other guests have included Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Maj. Gen. Chuck Yeager and Pvt. Jessica Lynch.
Anderson said Newton was excited to be part of the parade and waived his customary $85,000 personal appearance fee. Marvin Masters and the Masters Law Firm are flying him in at a cost of about $20,000.
"This is a really big thing for us," he said. "We've got Big Bird and SpongeBob Squarepants for the younger people and Wayne Newton for older people."
Anderson said he expects Newton and the cartoon character appearances will draw larger crowds than have been seen in many recent years. To commemorate the event, the convention and visitors bureau is having special coins minted, featuring Newton, to be given away during the parade.
"We did this before when Jessica Lynch was in our parade," he said.
The Armed Forces Day Parade will begin at noon May 18th on 7th Street in South Charleston and conclude at the Mound. A military flyover is planned during the parade, and Anderson said more than a hundred military units are expected to participate.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.