Elkhart hosts first Labor Day parade in years

For the first time in years, Elkhart residents didn’t have to travel elsewhere to see a Labor Day Parade.

The city held one downtown as part of a day full of events honoring working people.

“Normally we would go to Blueberry Festival, but because they reenacted the Labor Day parade here this year, we wanted to be part of that,” said resident Joyce Metzler-Smith.

Hundreds of residents lined the streets to watch bands, dancers and big trucks take over intersections.

“I loved the parade,” said Illinois resident Paul Mayer. “I thought it was very enjoyable. I loved the bands, loved to hear the big trucks go by.”

But, Meyer didn’t enjoy some of the campaigning that went on during the parade; several unions and local organizations held up signs and messages about their political beliefs as they walked by the crowds.

“Today’s a national holiday, not a time for partisanship,” Meyer said. “What I saw was a lot of political messages and I don’t think this is the place for that. I think we should all be celebrating together as Americans.”

While many residents say they’d like to see some changes next year, they hope the tradition of Elkhart’s Labor Day parade is continued.

“As a retired union worker in the plant, I feel like it’s very important the working men and women are honored,” Metzler-Smith said.

Elkhart’s day full of events ended with a fireworks display at dusk. The fireworks had been previously scheduled for July 4, but were postponed because of dry conditions.

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