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Did you know that September 5, 1882, marked the first-ever Labor Day parade in America?
News of the Labor Day march circulated throughout New York and the surrounding areas. People gathered to watch, and police were heavy in attendance as they were worried that the event might turn violent, but only a few men formed up to march. What was missing was, of course, the music. No one had thought to bring a band. Fortunately, at the last minute, the Jewelers Union of Newark Two showed up with 200 members and a band.
The Jewelers group marched along Broadway in lower Manhattan, past the city hall where a handful of men had been waiting. Then the members of other unions joined in the march; soon spectators followed, too. The parade grew from 200 to over 700 men in three marching divisions and ended with over 10,000 people. The column of people finished at Reservoir Park where close to 25,000 union members and their families celebrated that first Labor Day. Years later in 1894, and following protests and strife, a federal holiday was established to recognize the contributions made to the economy and society by the American labor force.
Participation in the celebration of Labor Day affirms the importance of our workforce. It is a way to thank those individuals and groups for the hard work, the sacrifice and their relentless commitment to the well being of all people’s lives. We have many luxuries today that we tend to take for granted; weekends, vacation time, shorter work days, and protection for our children from forced labor, the ability to negotiate wages and benefits, and a say in our government’s labor laws.
How do you plan to celebrate Labor Day weekend? If you don’t already have plans, there are lots of events taking place around the state of Wisconsin, including several Lions events:
- Central Wisconsin State Fair– Enjoy rides, music, agriculture and more in Marshfield at the state fair. The fun starts on Wednesday, August 31 and goes through Monday, September 5.
- Black Point Estate Nooks and Crannies Tour – Tour one of the finest examples of Queen Anne architecture at the Black Point Estate in Lake Geneva. The summer cottage was built in 1888 and overlooks beautiful Geneva Lake. Participate in the last walking tour of the season!
- Taste of Madison – Take an adventure with your taste buds and enjoy food from over 80 restaurants and 26 beverage stands at Capitol Square in Madison. Entertainment will be taking place on three stages on both Saturday and Sunday.
- Amish Quilt and Consignment Show in Shawano – Peruse the work of talented individuals at the Amish Quilt and Consignment Show on Saturday, September 3. Purchase baked goods, quilts, antiques, furniture and more.
- Merrill Labor Day Celebration & Lion’s Car Show – Participate in a huge parade downtown on Monday, September 5, at 10 am with events happening all afternoon at the Merrill Fairgrounds, including a classic car show, flea market, farmers market and more.
However you plan to spend Labor Day, please don’t forget about the reason behind the holiday! The Lions Pride Office will be closed on Monday, September 5. We wish you and your family a Happy Labor Day!