By TIM ROWDEN
Labor Day is too big a holiday to limit to one day or one event.
Union family and Labor Day activities kicked off last week in Southern Illinois and will continue through Labor day with events in East Alton, Alton, St. Louis, Belleville, Granite City and Marion.
Here’s a look at what’s scheduled:
MADISON COUNTY FEDERATION OF LABOR’S PRE-LABOR DAY EVENTS
• The Wood River/East Alton Union Family Parade was moved on from Alton to a new route nearby in East Alton and Wood River, said B. Dean Webb, president of the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor.
The pre-Labor Day event was held Saturday, Aug. 24.
Webb said the parade was moved to the new location to try to get more people to attend the long-standing parade of Labor unions, community groups and bands. The new route is primarily in residential areas, unlike the longtime route, a third of which ran along College Avenue in Alton.
“We’re just trying to get more into a residential area and get some more participation,” Webb said. “We’re trying to get a bigger crowd out to watch the parade.”
The parade route was 1.3 miles, starting at the Wood River Round House recreation facility at 633 N. Wood River Ave. and proceeding northward to the Wilshire Village shopping center, where Schnucks is located at 634 Brookshire Ave., East Alton.
It is held a week early to avoid a conflict with the parades in Granite City, Belleville and St. Louis on Labor Day.
• The Federation’s James Stanley Memorial Charity Labor Day Softball Tournament and post-parade picnic will remain at Gordon F. Moore Community Park, on Illinois Rte. 111 in Alton.
The softball tournament kicked off Aug. 21 and runs through Aug. 24, with union teams from throughout the St. Louis region competing.
As in years past, the winning team will select the recipient of the charity prize, typically given to a community organization or causes. The winner also gets the traveling trophy to display for the coming year.
LABOR DAY PARADES
Three area parades are planned for Labor Day, Sept. 2, in St. Louis, Granite City and Belleville
- The St. Louis Labor Council’s Labor Day Parade will be held in downtown St. Louis on Sept. 2 with the theme “Union Strong” and will include more than 30 unions, bands and marching entries.
The parade will step off at 9 a.m. and proceed east on Olive at 15th to Tucker Blvd., south on Tucker to Market Street, then west on Market to 15th.
- Madison County Federation of Labor’s Tri-Cities Labor Day Parade and Picnic will step off at 10 a.m. between Niedringhaus and 18th streets in Granite City and proceed Wilson Park for a picnic with speeches and trophies for the largest union group, best float, best community group, best marching band and best marching union.
Music will be provided by Frank Comoromi and the Mannpower Band. Soda, beer, hot dogs and kids’ games will be provided, and other foods will be sold. Madison County Transit will provide a free shuttle service between downtown and the park.
- The Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council’s Labor Day Parade will step off at 10 a.m. on the south side of downtown Belleville and proceed south 1st Street from West Washington (south side) to West Monroe (north side) and South 2nd Street from West Washington (south side) to West Monroe (north side), concluding at Hough Park at 3rd and C streets for the annual picnic.
EGYPTIAN BUILDING TRADES LABOR DAY PICNIC
The Egyptian Building and Construction Trades Council Labor Day Picnic will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 2, at the Rent One Park baseball stadium in Marion.
One of Illinois’ largest Labor Day celebrations, the picnic provides free lunch, drink and entertainment to all union members and their families. From Interstate 57, head west on The Hill Avenue and then north on Champions Drive.
The Council is seeking donations to help with the cost of the picnic. All donations will be recognized on the sponsor board, with special recognition for Gold Sponsors who donate $5,000 or more.
“In the past, we would not have been able to accomplish this without the help of our friends and we thank all of you who have helped make this Labor Day celebration one of the largest in the state,” said Tate Wright, secretary-treasurer of the Council. He can be reached at (618) 932-2102. The council’s address is 106 N. Monroe St., West Frankfort, Ill. 62896.