MARQUETTE - "Labor: Still Going Strong" is the theme of the 24th Annual Labor Day Festival set for Monday in Ishpeming.
Marquette County Labor Council President Mike Thibault said the theme is meant as a response to actions taken on the state level - such as the right-to-work law passed in December - that he and others have perceived to be damaging to labor organizations.
"A lot of us feel that the last few years a lot of action has been taken in the state Legislature that has been somewhat damaging to labor," Thibault said. "And the theme reflects that wherever and whatever happens to us, we're still going to be standing here and we're still a part of the community. ... It may take a few years, it may take decades, but if there isn't a strong labor community, active labor community, that is respected for what they do, sooner or later ... the pendulum will just swing too far the other way. There has to be a balance."
The event will kick off at 11 a.m. with a milelong parade along Euclid, Main and Division streets and Lakeshore Drive. Local unions are encouraged to march and to enter floats in the parade that reflect the festival's theme. Prizes for first, second and third place will be awarded, and the parade line up will be decided by drawing from a hat.
Following the parade there will a picnic and a rally from noon to 4 p.m. at the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum and the Lake Bancroft Park on Lakeshore Drive and Euclid.
Fast Eddie's Blues Band will be playing music and Cliffs Shaft volunteers will be providing free tours from noon to 2 p.m.
Lunch tickets for a picnic lunch will be available for $5 and the menu will include your choice of a pasty or two hot dogs, dessert and pop. Tickets for adult beverages will be $2 and pop and water will be $1 each.
Marq-Tran will be providing transportation to and from Ishpeming from the JC Penney parking lot in Marquette and from the Lakeview School parking lot in Negaunee. For scheduled bus times, go to the labor council's website at mqtlabor.org.
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org